All posts by BZC News

Practice Period Events

  • Opening sitting: May 2, 5:00am-9:00pm
  • Opening/Shuso Entering Ceremony: May 2, 4:00pm
  • Shuso talks/lectures: May 4, 16, 22, and 30
  • Classes: Thursdays, May 7-June 4, 7:15-8:45 pm
  • Bansan (tea and dharma discussion with the abbot): Friday, May 15, 5:40pm (please note date change)
  • Dinner and Skit Night: Saturday, May 23, 5:30pm
  • Shosan (dharma dialogue with the abbot): June 5, 5:40 pm, and June 8, 5:40am
  • Lay Ordination: Saturday, June 6, 3:00pm
  • Five-Day Sesshin: June 10-14
  • Shuso Hossen (dharma dialogue with the shuso): Sunday, June 14, 3:30pm

Practice Period at BZC

Practice period at BZC this spring begins with the Opening Ceremony on the afternoon of Saturday, May 2 and ends with the Shuso Ceremony on Sunday, June 14. Sojun Roshi has invited Susan Marvin — Sentei Kunka — Spring  Garden/Virtuous Influence to be shuso and serve as exemplar of devoted practice for us. We invite BZC members to participate in this time of intensified practice. The full schedule of events is on the BZC website and the bulletin board.

To participate, please complete a registration form on the bulletin board shelf. You must also sign up separately for sesshin and a number of events, even though you may have noted them in your registration form. Those sign-up sheets will be posted.

There are some requirements for participation in the practice period. These are detailed on the registration form. The spirit of this practice is expressed by Sojun Roshi in his words here.

New BZC Website Launches May 1st

The start of this year’s spring practice period will coincide with a major milestone in BZC’s presence on the World Wide Web. Our completely new WordPress-built website will go live on May 1.

The new site will introduce several new features, including:

  • Podcasting for our dharma talks and classes (subscribe through iTunes or RSS)
  • Live calendars of upcoming events, family practice events, and 20s and 30s group events
  • Faster downloads of files, including the newsletter PDFs
  • Better image gallery views

…and more.

The best part is that you won’t need to do anything to enjoy the new site. Simply continue to visit www.berkeleyzencenter.org as you always have. If you miss any features from the old site, catch any errors, or have any other feedback, please drop our webmaster, Troy DuFrene, a line at troydufrene@gmail.com.

Two Vases

Barbara Stevens Strauss created a beautiful white vase and donated it to BZC in memory of Nancy McClellan, and Andrea Thach donated a special black Japanese vase. These vessels will be used and loved.

Working from the Underside

Weaving our lives
We’re working from the underside
as tapestry makers do.
We’re looking at the wispy bits of yarn
and the knots. It looks so messy.
Only toward the end of life
can we turn it over, see the whole.
Then we say—
“Oh yes, there is a pattern here.”

— Meghan Collins

Does a Dog?

So tell me, Daisy, destroyer of tennis balls and pine cones,
Those big brown black-lab eyes,
Does a dog have Buddha-nature?
What about your new friend, Lola?
She reeks of strong puppy-nature, that’s for sure!

Sunday, I moved the zafu to the garden shed.
Bare wood, a pile of boards for an altar.
Tonight the rain drums on the roof,
Dribbles from shingles to puddles on the path,
Transports me across time and space to the attic
Of the big old house on Dwight.

No roosters here, nor fire trucks,
Only Daisy snuffling through the bushes.
She steps into the light from the candle,
Her big, blunt snout hovers over the altar
Next to the incense. Without a sound
She sets in place an old wet pine cone.

— Bud Bliss. Bud writes from Oregon: “Some readers may remember sounds from sitting in the attic zendo on Dwight. We buried Daisy with this poem from 1999 a couple of years ago. “

On Notice This Rock

Dawn. I stepped onto the deck. I lay back and exposed myself to the sun rising in warm, soft air. I had just climbed from the cold stream, preceded by the hot, mineral spring. A prize, dawn, still and priceless, scent of manzanita wafting over me. I would meditate, burrow into the sublimity, my heart showing.

All at once, a terrific rumble. From overhead, racing down the hillside, a boulder, careening, down, down. Before I knew it, it crashed five inches from my head, splintering into segments, one of which landed on the bench behind me, the other vaulting across the redwood span. I lay pinioned by the sudden silence, and then peered at the rock-sized stone hooked into the plank as if by a claw. Dark-brown, coppery with bronze flecks, this slab, five inches from my ear, my temple, my skin.

Slowly, I pulled myself up. Around the deck, the trees still stood. The railing still held, and, as I inched back, I saw the moist oblong where I had lain. Beside it, the yellow striped towel, still folded. There, I thought, just there. I bent and pulled out the stone from the wood and lay it on my palm. Warm it felt and smelled burnt, as if it had flown through fire on its run to the ground. Of course it told me none of that. Nor its name, purpose, or plan.

I turned it over. over. Who sent you I wanted to say, but kept the silence the speeding missile whistled to, turning me witness rather than victim.

“So, this is how it is then,” I said, “this.”
Every day, I study this messenger, its blank presence impelling me to wake.

—Lois Silverstein, Tassajara, 2000