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.


Sojun Roshi’s Koan Study Group: Fridays, 8/15, 9/5, 9/26, and 10/10, 7:15 pm to 8:45 pm
One-Day Study Retreat: Sunday, August 31, 5:00 am – 5:30 pm
Half-Day Sitting: Sunday, September 7, 8:00 am – 12:00 noon
All-Sangha Potluck—Board Nominations: Tuesday, September 9, 6:30 pm
Work Weekend: Saturday, September 20 – Sunday, September 21
BZC Annual FUNdraising Bazaar: Saturday, September 27, 2014, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
SAVE THE DATE Family Sesshin: Sunday, October 5, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

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

The 20‘s and 30‘s dharma group that met regularly for a number of years has been re-activated. Sojun Mel Weitsman and Gerry Oliva co-lead the group, cultivating a supportive environment that promotes kalyana mitta, spiritual friendship, for young adults. It provides an opportunity for members to get to know others in their age group and to support each other in bringing practice more fully into their daily lives. The format is a short period of sitting, an opportunity to check in about personal dharma practice and open discussion about Saturday‘s lecture, an agreed-upon reading or other topics selected by the group. We hope that leadership will emerge from group members and other formats and activities will develop. Remaining meeting dates for 2014 are: 7/19, 8/30, 9/27, 10/25, 11/22, 12/13. For information contact Gerry Oliva at 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


Sojun Roshi’s Koan Study Group

Five Fridays from August 1 through October 10

Sojun Roshi’s study group will begin a new series in August. First timers as well as those who’ve been coming to each series are welcome. We’ll continue to work with The Book of Serenity (Equanimity) collection.

The dates are all on Friday evenings from 7:15-8:45. The cost for the series is $50 with discounts available if necessary. A sign up will be posted in mid July or you may email class coordinator Ron Nestor to register at rnestor1@yahoo.com.The five part sequence is:

  • Friday August 15, 7:15 pm
  • Friday September 5, 7:15 pm
  • Friday September 26, 7:15 pm
  • Friday October 10, 7:15 pm

Study Sesshin with Hozan Alan Senauke

Sunday, August 31, 5:00 am – 5:30pm

Hozan Alan Senauke will lead this year’s one- day study sesshin on Sunday, August 31 from 5:00 am to 5:30 pm. As the summer winds down, this day will provide a quiet and reflective respite. It will include zazen, oryoki meals, soji, and two study and discussion sessions. Our study will be Sekito Kisen’s “Song of the Grass Roof Hut.” This enchanting poem from Sekito (700-790), author of “Sandokai,” is rich in imagery and steeped in the Soto approach to Zen.

Materials and a sign-up sheet will be available on the bulletin board shelf before the sesshin. The fee is $35, and should be paid in advance. Please leave payment marked “Study Sesshin – August 31” in the laundry room door slot. For more information contact the sesshin director, Carol Paul at (510) 206-5051, or caroljpaul@yahoo.com.

Half-Day Sitting

Sunday, September 7, 8:00 am – 12:00 noon

Half-day sittings include five periods of zazen, kinhin (walking meditation) and an informal tea. Sojun Roshi asks participants to commit to the entire four-hour schedule. A $10 donation is requested. If you have questions or if you cannot sign up on the bulletin board, contact the August half-day director Greg Denny at greg@techperience.org or (510) 559-8831.

All-Sangha Potluck—Board Nominations

Tuesday, September 9, 6:30 pm

The BZC board is currently finalizing its search for prospective candidates for our member-at-large election in October. Formal nominations will be made at the all-sangha meeting on Tues., Sept. 9, immediately following the potluck that begins at 6:30 pm. There will be opportunity for committee chairs to provide brief updates regarding finance, building projects, fundraising and electronic communication.

In recruiting candidates, we have identified a variety of skills that support the sangha’s interests, including but not limited to: oral and written communication, organization, information technology, money management, fundraising, engineering, building maintenance and nonprofit law. Board members are expected to attend monthly Sunday morning meetings (9:00-12:00), an all-day retreat on a Sunday in February, and to serve on at least one working board committee: finance, buildings, development, electronic communication.

At our September meeting, all BZC members are welcome to nominate fellow members for this position, but please contact them first concerning their willingness to be nominated. If you yourself are interested in being nominated, please contact board president Jake Van Akkeren by e-mail (jvanakkeren@comcast.net).

We hope to see you at the dinner and meeting and wholeheartedly welcome your participation in the nomination process.

Work Weekend

Saturday and Sunday, September 20–21

Please join us for a special work weekend September 20 & 21. BZC’s unpainted wood surfaces, the zendo in particular, badly need cleaning, resurfacing, and refinishing. To make it easier for BZC community members to attend, we’ve cancelled the usual Saturday program on Sept. 20 so we can pitch in and hear porches and zendo walls expound the dharma. A reliably great lunch will be served each day. The schedule (to be announced) will include the option to drop in anytime during the weekend. In case we’re not able to finish, we’ve also set aside Sunday Sept. 28.

The zendo is thirty-two years old this year and over that time we’ve done our best to keep it in good condition both inside and out. It’s been a good while since we last applied oil to the exterior walls and there are serious areas of black mold and dried out wood. We plan to use an excellent-quality low-VOC oil which several sangha members have recommended. No special skills are required. For those who prefer not to work with oil or sanding or even outdoors, we have several alternative projects, and of course kitchen support is always welcome.

Walter Kieser, Mary Duryee, and Ron Nestor are organizing the weekend with our work leaders, Paul Ridgeway and Bruce Coughran, helping to supervise the work. A sign-up sheet will be posted on the bulletin board in late August and questions can be directed to the organizers at that time.

Family Sesshin

Sunday, October 5, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

All are welcome to attend BZC’s third annual Family Sesshin on October 5. Join this cutting-edge event where our wonderful 2,500-year-old practice meets 21st Century Bay Area family life! The day will begin at 9:00 am and go until 4:00 pm. We need non-parents and ex-children for ballast, so please consider sharing and supporting this special day. The day will include zazen, service, a mindful walk, work period, art projects, stories, and fun activities for all ages. Sign up on the zendo bulletin board. Questions? E-mail Laurie Senauke (lauries@kushiki.org).

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


Founders’ Ceremony
Monday, 8/4, 6:20 pm
Tuesday, 8/5 6:40 am

Bodhisattva Ceremony
Saturday, 8/9, 9:40 am

One-Day Study Retreat
Sunday, 8/31, 5:00 am – 5:30 pm


Founders’ Ceremony
Wednesday, 9/3, 6:20 pm
Thursday, 9/4 6:40 am

Bodhisattva Ceremony
Saturday, 9/7, 9:40 am

New Member Entering Ceremony
Monday, 9/8, 6:20 am

All-Sangha Potluck—Board Nominations
Tuesday, 9/9, 6:30 pm

Women’s Sitting
Sunday, 9/14, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Work Weekend
Saturday and Sunday, 9/20-21/p>

Fundraising Party
Saturday, 9/27, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm