Affirmation of Welcome
Walking the path of liberation, we express our intimate connection with all beings.
Welcoming diversity, here at Berkeley Zen Center the practice of zazen
is available to people of every race, nationality, class, gender, sexual orientation,
age, and physical ability. May all beings realize their true nature.

Saturday Schedule Change

This Saturday, December 13, we will not have the usual early program (zazen, service, breakfast) that begins at 6:00. Instead we will begin the day at 8:00. This will be a time to begin the prep for the memorial in the afternoon. Please come join us at this time to help with the preparations.
Informal zazen will be offered at 6:00, and we will have zazen instruction at 8:45, followed by zazen at 9:40 and lecture at 10:15.


Rohatsu Sesshin: Sunday, 11/30 – Saturday. 12/6
Nancy McClellan Memorial: Saturday, 12/13, 3:00pm
Winter Break: Sunday, 12/14 – Wednesday, 12/31
New Year's Eve Sitting and Celebration: Wednesday, 12/31, 8:00pm – 1:00 am
Sojun Roshi's Koan Study Group: Fridays, 1/9, 23, 30 and 2/6, 20, 7:15pm – 8:30pm

New to BZC? Take a look at our first-time visitor FAQ

Zazen (meditation)
Instruction and Orientation

is held in the Zendo on Saturdays
from 8:45 - 9:30 a.m.

Weekly Wednesday
Night Drop-In Group;
All are welcome.

7:20 p.m. Zazen
8:00 p.m. Service
8:10 - 9:00 p.m. Tea & Discussion

20s and 30s Dharma Group

BZC invites young adults in their 20’s and 30’s to join us in a monthly open discussion group about Zen, Buddhism, meditation and developing a personal practice. Our aim is to cultivate kalyana mitta, spiritual friendship, to provide members with an opportunity to meet others in their age group and to support each other in bringing practice more fully into our daily lives. We hope that leadership will emerge from group members and other formats and activities will develop. We meet in the zendo at 11:30 AM after Saturday lecture. Revised 2014 meeting dates: 10/25, 11/29, 12/13. For further information contact Gerry Oliva: olivag@fcm.ucsf.edu.

No photography in the Zendo, please
We ask that all visitors and members turn off their cell phones in the zendo. If you are interested in capturing the beauty of our zendo on camera, please make arrangements with the Zendo Manager, Ross Blum, at rossblum@icloud.com. Thank you.

BZC is a Scent Free Environment

Berkeley Zen Center Documentary
Old Plum Mountain: The Berkeley Zen Center, Life Inside the Gate tells the story of the Berkeley Zen Center, one of the oldest lay practice centers in the nation.
Click here to view the trailer and for information about purchasing the DVD


Rohatsu Sesshin

Sunday, November 30 – Saturday, December 6

This year’s Rohatsu sesshin, led by Sojun Mel Weitsman, begins November 30 and ends December 6. (The start of Rohatsu this year is at the end of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.) This sesshin commemorates the enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha, and all sangha members and friends are invited to attend Buddha’s enlightenment ceremony on Saturday, December 6, at 11:10 am, after lecture.

Rohatsu is also a time to be inspired by the memory of our founder, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. The Suzuki Roshi Annual Memorial Ceremony will be held on Monday, December 1 at 8:20 pm; everyone is invited to attend.

Each day of Rohatsu starts at 5:00 am and ends at 9:00 pm, with the exception of the final day, which ends around 5:00 pm.

Remembrance and Celebration of Nancy McClellan’s Life

Saturday, 12/13, 3:00pm

Please join us on Saturday, December 13 at 3:00 pm to honor Nancy’s life in story, pictures, food, and friendship. We will perform our formal funeral ceremony to support her in her transition, hear a few speakers, and have a chance to remember her.

We will need to get a sense of how many people will be attending in order to plan seating and food. Please RSVP by December 7 by responding to the evite if you received one, or to Leslie at lbartholic@comcast.net. There will be limited seating in the zendo.

There will be a sign-up sheet for providing sweets and for helping with the preparations and cleanup. Karen Sundheim and Nancy Suib will be organizing the reception. If you have questions about the event itself, contact Andrea at andrea.thach@gmail.com.

Winter Break

Sunday, 12/14 – Wednesday, 12/31

Our winter break will commence on Sunday December 14. During winter break all formal practice activities are suspended until our New Year’s Eve celebration, which begins on December 31 at 8:00 pm. Otherwise, we will offer informal zazen in the morning and evening for those who wish to attend through New Year’s Day. A sign-up sheet will be posted for volunteers willing to open and close the zendo. For further information, please contact Ross, our zendo manager.

New Year's Eve Sitting and Celebration

Wednesday, 12/31, 8:00pm – 1:00 am

Join us on Wednesday evening, December 31 for the chance to ring in the new year with the quiet and reflection of zazen, punctuated by 108 soundings of the bell to mark the last 108 minutes of 2014 and a bonfire after midnight.

Everyone is welcome to attend any portion of the program, entering the zendo during kinhin or the beginning of a period of zazen.

The schedule is:

  • 8:00 pm Zazen
  • 8:35 Kinhin
  • 8:45 Zazen
  • 9:20 Kinhin
  • 9:30 Zazen
  • 10:05 Tea
  • 10:13 108 bells begin
  • 10:35 Kinhin
  • 10:45 Zazen
  • 11:20 Kinhin
  • 11:40 Zazen
  • 12:10 Slow Heart Sutra and sitting

A celebration and potluck will follow in the community room. Watch the bulletin board for details and the sign-up sheets for providing food and help with clean up. If you have any questions, contact Ross at rossblum@icloud.com.

Sojun Roshi's Koan Study Group

Fridays, 1/9, 23, 30 and 2/6, 20, 7:15pm – 8:30pm

Sojun Roshi will continue his koan study group during the first part of the year for five Friday evenings in January and February: January 9, 23, and 30 and February 6 and 20. We meet from 7:15 to 8:45 pm in the community room.

We’ll continue with The Book of Serenity, a collection of 100 koans and accompanying verses, compiled by the Chinese Zen master, Hongzhi or Tiantong, in the 12th century. Further commentary on the koans and verses is then provided by the brilliant Zen teacher Wansong. The Book of Serenity is the collection of koans most associated with our Soto Zen school.

For most of us, these koans are not easy to understand. Fortunately we have the able guidance of Sojun to help us find our way through the various twists and turns. Losing our way may not be so bad either.

Newcomers to the class are most welcome. Class materials for each koan will be provided or the book may be purchased at your favorite bookseller. A sign-up sheet will be posted early this month. The cost is $50 for the series, with discounts available as always. For questions or to sign up by e-mail, contact class coordinator Ron Nestor at rnestor1@yahoo.com.

Everything is Broken

Everything Is Broken: Songs About Things As They Are is Hozan Alan Senauke’s brand new cd of "buddhistic music." Featuring songs by Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Bernice Reagon, and Alan, along with traditional songs rewritten to bring out their dharma direction, the album also includes Greg Fain’s Lotus Sutra hit "Our Hero," about the Bodhisattva Never Disparaging. The album is available for purchase at Alan’s website http://www.clearviewproject.org, and, as a whole album or individual songs, from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Of course it is also available at the BZC Saturday book table. Don’t miss it if you can.

Sittings & Events

November and December

Rohatsu Sesshin
Sunday. 11/30 – Saturday, 12/6

Suzuki Roshi Annual Memorial and Stone Dedication
Sunday, 11/30, 4:00 pm

Bodhisattva Ceremony
Saturday, 12/6, 9:40 am

Buddha's Enlightenment Ceremony
Saturday, 12/6, 11:15 am

Winter Break
Sunday, 12/14 – Wednesday, 12/31

New Year's Even Sitting and Party
Wednesday, 12/31


Bodhisattva Ceremony
Saturday, 1/3, 9:40 am

Founders' Ceremonies
Monday, 1/5, 6:20 pm
Tuesday, 1/6, 6:40 am

One-Day Sesshin
Saturday, 1/17

Beginners' Sesshin
Sunday, 1/25