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
Hidden Lamp Gives Light: Saturday, September 6, 10:15 am
Half-Day Sitting: Sunday, September 7, 8:00 am – 12:00 noon
New Member Entering Ceremony: Monday, September 8, 6:20 am
All-Sangha Potluck—Board Nominations: Tuesday, September 9, 6:30 pm
Women’s Sesshin: Sunday, September 14, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
Work Weekend: Saturday, September 20 – Sunday, September 21
BZC Annual FUNdraising Bazaar: Saturday, September 27, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Doanryo Training: Saturday, October 4, 11:30 am
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

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


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 – 5:30 pm

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.

Hidden Lamp Gives Light

Saturday, September 6, 1:00 — 4:00 pm

On Saturday, September 6, longtime BZC member Susan Moon will give the Saturday lecture (10:15 am) about her book The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-five Centuries of Awakened Women (co-edited with Florence Caplow). Then we will continue in the afternoon, 1- 4 pm, with an afternoon workshop, open to men and women. BZC practice leaders Karen Sundheim and Laurie Senauke (who contributed essays in the book) will join Susan to further bring forth these wonderful teachings. The afternoon will include an experiential component—perhaps a writing exercise—and general sharing among all the attendees. We will also hear from Susan about how the book is being received and used around the country. Cost for the afternoon is $15. Folks are encouraged to bring a bag lunch and plan for a day at BZC. Please sign up on the bulletin board.

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.

New Member Entering Ceremony

Monday, September 8, 6:20 am

Any BZC member who has not formally entered the BZC temple over the past years is warmly invited to attend this formal entering ceremony.

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., September 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'rsquo;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, or 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, 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.

Women’s Sesshin

Sunday, September 14, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm

The annual BZC Women’s Sesshin will be held on Sunday September 14, beginning at 9:00 am and ending at 4:30 pm. It will include both a lecture and a discussion period led by Susan Marvin, longtime BZC practitioner. An informal buffet style lunch will be provided; no experience with oryoki is needed. Women of all levels of practice are encouraged to attend this special sesshin to share our union as female practitioners. Cost for the day is $25. (If you are unable to pay the full amount, contact the sesshin director to arrange a reduced fee.) The sign-up sheet will be posted on the zendo bulletin board in early September. For more information, please contact sesshin director, Carol Paul at caroljpaul@yahoo.com or (510)206-5051.

Work Weekend

Saturday and Sunday, September 20–21

Please join us for a special work weekend September 20 and 21. Many of BZC’s unpainted wood surfaces, the zendo in particular, badly need cleaning, resurfacing, and refinishing. We’ve hired Gustavo, our excellent contractor, to pressure-wash surfaces two weeks prior to our work. Our job will consist of light sanding and then applying a low-VOC sealer with brushes and rollers. No experience is necessary. We’ve cancelled the usual Sept. 20 Saturday program schedule so everyone will find it easier to show up and pitch in. A reliably great lunch will be served each day.

Our 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 cracked, dried out wood. 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 work leaders Paul Ridgway and Bruce Coughran helping to supervise. A sign-up sheet is posted on the bulletin board; it includes the option of just dropping in at any time during the day. The schedule will be:

  • Sat., 9/20:
    • 8:00 am coffee & pastries
    • 8:15 am work meeting
    • 12:00 pm lunch
    • 1:00 pm work
    • 4:00 pm end (zazen TBA)
  • Sun., 9/21:
    • 9:00 am arrive
    • 9:15 am work meeting
    • 12:30 pm lunch
    • 4:00 pm end (zazen TBA)

We’ve set aside Sunday Sept. 28 as a back-up day in case we don’t finish the work in one weekend.

Doanryo Training

Saturday, October 4, 11:30 am

On Saturday, October 4, at 11:30 am, Sojun Roshi will offer a refresher training for doans, kokyos and fukudos. This event will be for people already trained in these service positions. Sojun Roshi warmly encourages those of you in this group to come to this training.

Family Sesshin: Not Just for Families

Sunday, October 5, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Dharma brothers and sisters: we’re all just one big happy family, right? On Sunday, October 5, BZC will be offering its third annual ground-breaking Family Sesshin for all ages and stages of being. The day will begin at 9:00 am and go until 4:00 pm and include zazen, service, a mindful walk, work period, theater games, art projects, stories, and other fun activities for all ages. As usual, we need non-parents and non-children for ballast! You can attend all or part. Please 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


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, 9/6, 9:40 am

Half-Day Sitting
Sunday, 9/8, 8:00 am – 12:00 noon

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
No Saturday Program

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


Founders’ Ceremony
Wednesday, 10/2, 6:20 pm
Thursday, 10/3 6:40 am

Family Sitting
Sunday, 10/5, 9:40 am – 4:00 pm

Bodhisattva Ceremony
Saturday, 10/11, 9:40 am

One-Day Sesshin: Open Aspects of Practice
Saturday, 10/18

Aspects of Practice
October 18 – November 15

Sejiki Ceremony and Celebration
Saturday, 10/25