All posts by BZC News

Sojun’s Summer Class Series Six Thursdays, August 6 - October 1, 7:15 pm - 8:45 pm

Sojun Roshi will teach a new class series beginning in August. The subject will be a continuation of his practice period class on Vasubhandu’s Thirty Verses, which describes a system of eight consciousnesses developed by the Yogacara school of Buddhism. The interplay between all eight aspects is the subject of the Thirty  Verses and Sojun’s class.

 Vasubhandu: Japan (c. 1200)
Vasubhandu: Japan (c. 1200)

If you did not attend the practice period class you are still most welcome and encouraged to join us. Sojun will bring us up to speed.We’ll meet on Thursday evenings from 7:15-8:45 pm.The six dates are: 8/6, 8/20, 9/3, 9/10, 9/24, 10/1. Because of summer vacations, the class fee will be $50 for the series or pro-rated at $10/class. Our basic text will be Thich Nhat Hanh’s Understanding Our Mind (previously published at Transformation at the Base.)


A Day with Shohaku Okumura Saturday, August 29

We are very fortunate to be hosting a day of teaching with Shohaku Okumura Roshi on Saturday, August 29. He will give the public lecture in the morning and a longer teaching in theafternoon. The subject will be Dogen’s waka poems from Zen of Four Seasons. Both talks are open to all.

Okumura Roshi is a Dogen scholar and the author of many translations and commentaries, including Zen of Four Seasons, Realizing Genjokoan and Living by Vow. He is abbot at Sanshin Zen Community in Bloomington, Indiana.

One-Day Sesshin Saturday, August 15, 5:00 am - 9:00 pm

Sojun Mel Weitsman will lead a one-day sesshin on Saturday August 15, from 5:00 am –9:00 pm. We encourage old and new sangha members to participate. Please sign up on the patio bulletin board by Wednesday morning August 12, after 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 and should be paid in advance (a discounted fee is possible for those in need; please speak to the director). Leave checks marked “August sesshin” in the mail slot in the courtyard laundry room door or mail to the BZC office manager at 1931 Russell St., Berkeley, 94703.

If you are attending for the first time, you will need to fill out a sesshin information sheet to let us know of health problems, food allergies, or physical problems requiring accommodation. Info sheets are available under the patio bulletin board or from the sesshin director, Gerry Oliva ( or (510) 652-7217.

Sangha Support Is for Helpers Too Sunday, August 9, 4:00pm – 5:30pm

Are you helping a loved one do things they used to do for themselves? Many in our sangha are doing so. Sangha Support is sponsoring a gathering to share experiences, tips, and resources to support your efforts, facilitated by Laurie Senauke and Debbie Schley. All are welcome to come on August 9, 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm, at the Senauke house, 1933 Russell.

Please RSVP at the contact info below (there won’t be a sign-up sheet for this). Also contact us if you’d like more information, or if this topic is of interest but you can’t attend:,, (503) 505-4282 (Debbie).

Caring for Buddha’s Robe

If you need assistance (or simply time and space) with rakusu/okesa/robe repairs, replacement, or finishing already started rakusu, the following dates are on the calendar. Each session is from 1-5pm except as noted. Please contact the sewing teacher, Jean Selkirk at (510) 655-0820, before you attend the first time. Any changes to the schedule will be made on the bulletin board.

Material fees only apply for envelopes or new (second or replacement) rakusu, and the usual class fee applies for new rakusu, which must be started by the end of August. Starting first rakusu for Lay Ordination will begin in January as usual. If you are considering this, please speak with your teacher and then also speak with the sewing teacher before the winter break begins.

Sunday August 2 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Saturday August 22 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Sunday August 30 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Saturday September 19 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Sunday September 27 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Saturday October 10 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Sunday October 18 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Sunday November 8 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Changing Hands

We are deeply grateful to Mark Copithorne for being our audio archivist for the past two years. He has done a great job of getting our Saturday talks and classes onto the website in a timely manner. We welcome Dean Bradley to this position.

Jen Taylor has been our newsletter editor these past three years. Each month she has solicited items, then formatted and edited them to produce a well-designed and informative document that conveys vital information to our sangha about our temple. Jen has done a wonderful job as newsletter editor. Thank you, Jen! Greg Denny has graciously agreed to step into this position.

Zazenkai: A Day of Just Sitting Sunday, July 12, 2015, 8:00 am - 5:10 pm

Sunday, July 12 , from 8:00 am to 5:10 pm, BZC priest Ryushin Andrea Thach will lead a silent one-day sitting. This will be a rare opportunity to spend a day doing nothing but zazen, kinhin, bowing and eating. We will maintain silence throughout, with the exception of bells to mark meditation periods, and chanting the Refuges aloud at 5:10 pm.

Participants should plan to come for the whole day. A break from 12:20 pm – 1:00 pm will allow time for sack lunches to be eaten in the community room or, if we’re enjoying fair weather, outdoors.

There will be a ten-minute period of bowing at your own pace prior to the lunch break, and we will have two periods of fast kinhin. Both of these activities can be adapted to harmonize with individual needs and abilities.

A sign-up sheet and further information will be posted on the courtyard bulletin board. The fee is $20.

Please feel free to contact Andrea Thach, if you have any questions

BZC Campout July 11 - 12, 2015

All are warmly invited to the annual Berkeley Zen Center campout, scheduled for July 11-12. We’ve reserved a group campsite in nearby Tilden Park and will meet for a potluck dinner and possibly a short hike as well as s’mores and songs around the campfire, sleeping under the stars, and waking up to oatmeal and coffee/tea/cocoa in the morning. Join us to pass on the campfire rounds we grew up with, tell stories, and learn the latest songs from our own kids.

All ages are welcome! If you prefer not to stay for the night, come for the dinner and company. If you would like to stay but are missing a tent or sleeping bag, let us know, and we can almost definitely find one for you. Contact if you have questions, and look for a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board in mid-June.