All posts by BZC News

BZC + Berkeley Men’s Shelter x 20 Years

Over the years, many BZC folks have lent their hands to the twice-monthly offering of dinner at the Men’s Shelter on the 2nd and 4th Fridays from 5:00-8:00 p.m. We don’t just bring the guys food, we bring them a message — that people care about them, that they matter, that we want to support them as they navigate their life’s path. This work does not preclude anything else we might do to address the conditions that contribute to homelessness (which is increasing rapidly on the West Coast due to housing shortages, among other causes).
We have a few people who come regularly, and we need a few more. Now don’t everyone read this and immediately sign up for the next offering! Head cooks Lance Shows ( and Laurie Senauke ( keep a short list of willing helpers; email us to add your name to that list. We usually check in with folks starting the Monday before the dinner to find out who is able to come. If we get more than we need, we can let some of the regulars off early. It’s also fine to use the sign-up sheet on the back porch of the community room.
This is love in action, active hope, medicine for despair. Please join us!

A Class on The Buddha’s Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony Mondays from March 20 - April 17, 2015: 7:15 pm - 8:45 pm

Suzuki Roshi said: “When the whole cloth is woven completely in various colorful threads, what you see are not pieces of thread; what you see is one whole cloth.” The respected translator and editor Bhikkhu Bodhi recently published The Buddha’s Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony (Wisdom, 2016), a collection drawn entirely from the Pali suttas. Hozan Alan Senauke worked on this with Bhikkhu Bodhi, contributing a prologue and epilogue to the book.
In these difficult days, social and communal harmony have never been needed more. Hozan Sensei will lead a five-session class on selections from this book on Mondays from March 20 to April 17. The class will be held in the BZC community room, from 7:15 to 8:45 p.m. The class fee is $50. Materials will be available in advance and books will be available from the BZC book table.

Sojun Roshi’s Koan Class Series January 23, 30, February 6, 13, 2017: 7:15 pm - 8:45 pm

Sojun Roshi will continue his koan class series from The Book of Serenity in January and February. The dates for his four classes are Monday evenings 7:15-8:45 on January 23, January 30, February 6, and February 13. Fee for the series is $40, payable at the first class, with discounts available as needed. A sign-up sheet will be posted on the patio bulletin board the first week of January and class material will be made available prior to the series as well as before each class.

Position Changes

With the turning of the year comes the proverbial turning of practice positions. It is no small thing to assume these roles and responsibilities, and to your no-gaining mind we thank all of you for saying YES!

  Peter Overton will assume the co-sesshin director role from Gary Artim, sharing this responsibility with Ken Powelson.

  Mark Copithorne will become our new co-zendo manager for well-being and memorial services. He will share the ZM position with Bruce Coughran, who will be responsible for ceremonies, taking over from Sue Oehser.

  Jed Appelman will tend to the Dokusan Hut, receiving the feather duster from Judy Fleischman, who has helped to maintain that space for our one-on-one talks with Sojun Roshi.

  With Jed’s stepping down as Head Dishwasher, John Lake has stepped up to lead the dishwashing after our oryoki meals.

  John Lake is also taking over the Work Leader position (for sesshins and work days) from Paul Ridgway.

  Troy DuFrene will be assuming Tenzo duties while Kiká Hellein is at Tassajara for the winter practice period.

BZC President Notes Board Transitions

As we begin the New Year, on behalf of the BZC Board I’m pleased to welcome recently elected Jed Appelman to the Board of Directors. Stepping down after serving one term is Troy DuFrene. Troy has been the implementer of BZC’s electronic voting system, which has greatly streamlined the election process, and he is also a member of the party planning committee for our upcoming 50th Anniversary celebration. We thank Troy for his valuable work on the board.

Celebrating Martin Luther King Day at BZC January 16, 2017, 8:30 am

We will be commemorating the MLK holiday this year by having a special program at BZC on Monday, January 16, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Instead of our usual early morning sitting we will have a sitting at 8:30 for 40 minutes, followed by a short dharma talk. Prior to this day we will do some outreach to our neighborhood and invite residents to participate in the morning discussion. We will then have a period of Dharma dialog which will involve small group discussion about the ways in which BZC can reach out to our neighborhood in constructive ways and more effectively promote diversity in the sangha. After this we will have tea and social time. Some of us will then set up a table in the front yard and invite people to create messages to hang on the tree to commemorate loved ones harmed by violence and hatred.

For further information and to get involved with this effort, contact Gerry Oliva at

Celebrating 50 Years of Berkeley Zen Center!

We need your help. As part of the 50th Anniversary celebration we are taking a long look back at BZC’s history to remember and share its remarkable journey from its beginnings on Dwight Way to its subsequent decades on Russell Street, with its unique blend of lay and priest sangha, residents and home-dwellers.

We plan to create a 50-years-of-memories book, and we would appreciate participation of as many people as possible. Do you have a story, photos, or reflections to share about the various aspects of practice at BZC over all these years? If you have digital versions of photos, that would be ideal, but we also can arrange to scan hard copies.

Please send texts or photos to Mary Duryee ( or Andrea Thach ( or by snail mail to them at BZC.

Thank you, and see you at the party on September 30, 2017!

February Study Sesshin February 11 - 12, 2017

There will be a two-day sesshin on February 11 – 12. The doshi and reading will be announced; please check the bulletin board for details. On Saturday, February 11, we will sit from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., with a lecture in the morning and a study period in the afternoon. On Sunday, February 12, we will sit from 5:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and have two study periods. We encourage old and new sangha members to participate. Please sign up on the patio bulletin board by Wednesday, February 8, after morning zazen. If this is your first sesshin at BZC, we recommend that you first participate in a full Saturday program and also speak with the sesshin director. The fee is $35 per day and should be paid in advance (a discounted fee is possible for those in need; please speak to the director). Leave checks marked “Study Sesshin” in the mail slot in the courtyard laundry room door or mail them to the BZC Office Manager, 1931 Russell St., Berkeley, CA 94703. If you have any questions, contact the sesshin director, Ken Powelson, at

First Sesshin of 2017 Saturday, January 14, 5:00 am - 9:00 pm

Taking the time to sit still after all the holiday and year-end activity is a great way to begin the New Year. The first sesshin of 2017 will take place on Saturday, January 14, from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. We encourage old and new sangha members to participate. If this is your first sesshin at BZC, we recommend that you first participate in a full Saturday program and also speak with the sesshin director, Ken Powelson. Please check the patio bulletin board for the sesshin sign-up sheet, the sesshin information forms, and further information. The sesshin fee is $35 (a discounted fee is possible for those in need; please speak to the director). Place checks marked “January 14th Sesshin” in the slot in the courtyard laundry room door or mail them to the BZC Office Manager, 1931 Russell St., Berkeley, CA 94703.

The deadline for sign-up and payment is Wednesday, January 11, after morning zazen. If you have questions, contact the sesshin director at

Vallejo Zen Center’s Jazz and Garden Party Saturday July 26, 2016, 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm

It is that time of year again. We are offering our fundraiser party at 607 Branciforte St., Vallejo.

Great jazz, food, drink, door prizes, silent auction and a grand raffle of dinner for two at Greens.

(Need not be present to win the raffle.)

Raffle/doorprize chances are $5 per chance or $20 for five chances.

Admission for adults is $15 per person. Kids under 12 free.

You can purchase tickets from Ko Blix or Steve Treagus at BZC.