We Are Building American Buddhism

San Francisco Zen Center (Honoring the Path of the Warrior)

300 Page Street
San Francisco, CA  94102
website: www.sfzc.org

Description of Organization

Honoring the Path of the Warrior’s mission is to provide returning veterans a safe environment and enable them to rediscover meaning, purpose, and joy in their lives through mindfulness, meditation, and community. HPW programs combine nature and engaging physical activities; meditation, Sensory Awareness and mindfulness practices. The intent is to provide veterans with connection, community and tools that support them in using their strengths and experiences to find a meaningful and productive path in civilian life.

HPW offers a number of programs, including programs that effectively address women veterans’ needs and incorporate them into a mixed- gender community of veterans. There are several difficult experiences that many women veterans share. These include but are not limited to:

  • Feeling less than equal to male counterparts, having to work harder to prove themselves;
  • Not being recognized by civilians for their military service. Not being seen as a veteran;
  • Almost 41% of women veterans have experienced Military Sexual Trauma;
  • Many MST victims did not have their complaints taken seriously or prosecuted, and some continued to serve alongside their perpetrators. Others were forced out of the military as unstable, often losing military benefits.

As a result of these experiences, women veterans need, first and foremost, to have a women-only environment in order to feel safe enough to share and process their own experiences. HPW is one of very few organizations that provide an event that meets these needs. Our annual women veterans’ retreat is a 5-night retreat that provides sufficient time and safety to enable participants to feel heard, seen and validated. They also learn mindfulness-based tools that help them integrate the pain of their experiences. When this happens, they can start to let go.Once women realize that they have a safe place to experience healing, and that the container created by HPW safely incorporates their experiences, they feel able to participate with male veterans at our mixed-gender events in an open and vulnerable way. This is key to their ability to function fully in civilian society in healthy and productive ways.

Grant(s) Awarded

The Lenz Foundation Women in Buddhism grant of $2,500 was applied towards supporting the May, 2015 Women Veterans Retreat. This retreat was led by women for women in the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.