Mikko Rakushin Kendō Ijäs and few other participants of the first Street Retreat held in Helsinki in 2007 founded a regional affiliate group of the socially engaged buddhist organization Zen Peacemakers International in 2017.
Ijäs got involved with Zen practice in 2012 through Helsinki Zen Center, but he has been actively engaged with the Zen Peacemakers International since 2016. During this involvement Ijäs has participated a Bearing Witness Pilgrimage in Sweden (2016), G.R.A.C.E. training with Roshi Joan Halifax in Holland (2016), participated a Bearing Witness retreat in Bosnia (2017), organized the first Scandinavian Street Retreat in Helsinki (2017), participated the Bearing Witness Retreat at Auschwitz-Birkenau (2017), translated Bernie Glassman’s seminal book “Bearing Witness” into Finnish, and co-organized the first Bearing Witness retreat in Finland in 2018 and again in 2019.
Ijäs has also served as a Staff member of the Bearing Witness Retreat at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 2018 and 2019, where he was in charge of co-fascilitating one of the Council groups, serving as a retreat photographer, and performing as a clown. Ijäs’s clown alter ego iSmile (pronounced Ishmael) is the Grand Poopah of the Finnish Order of Disorder.
ijäs is also a member of the Zen Sangha in Gent, Belgium, which is the home of his Zen training. Ijäs has also practiced at the Zen Center of Los Angeles, which is a home temple of the White Plum lineage.
Roshi Frank De Waele gave him his Peacemaker Precepts in a Jukai ceremony held in September 2017 during the Helsinki Street Retreat. Mikko was given a dharma name Rakushin (Joyous-Faith). Roshi Frank ordained Ijäs as a priest in 2022 giving him his priest name Kendō (Way of Devotion).
The local group know as Peacemakers Finland is dedicated to study and develop practices which honor the inseparability of the transformation of the self and the world, and to study spiritual practices where compassion and a deepening realization of our radical interconnectedness helps us to live in solidarity with all life.
Peacemakers Finland believe that although we live in a time of ecological and social crisis, creative and sustainable future is possible. Such a future depends upon transformation of both our values and consciousness, and the socio-economic forms that currently condition both the individual and our society.
The goal of our actions is to support radical change, to transform insights and understandings into a lived reality – from the spiritual to the social, the political to the personal, and the imaginative to the inspirational.
On behalf of the Peacemakers Finland Ijäs offers regular open online-meditation teachings, and retreats and workshops in the spirit of the Zen Peacemakers in Finland.
Peacemakers Finland’s workshops and retreats have been open for everyone. They encourage artists, activists and all kinds of people to use meditation to ground and transform social action into a spiritual path of service to the community and to the Earth.
Peacemakers Finland is an official regional Affiliate Group of the Zen Peacemakers International. Peacemakers Finland is a Helsinki based collective practicing socially engaged work, silent reflection, and serving their local community in the spirit of the Three Tenets of the Zen Peacemakers which are:
Members the Peacemakers Finland are encouraged to offer themselves into environmental activism, volunteers to local social projects, and to explore their possibilities to work together with NGO’s and social institutions. The members will be also assisted and encouraged to use all ingredients of their life and their professional skills to engage with their own communities, and to listen how to serve their communities by taking action, by raising awareness, by engaging in activism, volunteering, campaigning, and making donations, building projects, arranging events and exhibitions.
The members of the Peacemakers Finland are encouraged to participate local and international trainings that will help them to be more efficient and healthier Peacemakers. Members are encouraged to good care of their own health by engaging trainings and activities that will improve mental and physical health, and improve their nondual communicational skills. Members of the Peacemakers are encouraged to explore their personal role as an integrated element of the interconnectedness of all life, and serve their communities through the Three Tenets and other core practices of the Zen Peacemakers.
Past Events of the Peacemakers Finland
Peacemakers Finland has organized international retreats and workshops in Finland since 2017. We invite invite international teachers and professionals to support our practice as peacemakers.
Bearing Witness to Finnish Civil War Prison Camps (Held in summer 2018 and 2019)
Clowning workshop (in Finnish) (Held in May 2019)
Art Workshop (in Finnish) (Held in June 2019)
Street Retreat (Held in September 2017 and in September 2022)
Website of Zen Peacemakers International https://zenpeacemakers.org
More about Three Tenets of the Zen Peacemakers
Finnish article on Bearing Witness Retreat organized by Peacemakers Finland in 2018 (YLE)
Finnish article on Bearing Witness Retreat organized by Peacemakers Finland in 2018 (Kirkko&Kaupunki)
Link to the international community of EcoSattva’s: One Earth Sangha