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Oryoki Training

The next lessons in our formal meal procedures (“oryoki”) will be Saturday, January 19, and Saturday, February 23, 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the zendo. If you would like to schedule another time to learn or fine-tune your oryoki practice, contact Sue Oehser at 510-339-0243 (voice only) or

You can also receive  briefer instruction during any full Saturday morning program that is not a sesshin. After the first period of Saturday zazen, the director will ask if anyone would like instruction in eating in the zendo.  Raise your hand and meet the director on the porch, who will assign someone to give you oryoki instruction in the community room before service and breakfast.

Two Class Series

Sojun Roshi will teach another koan study class series on four Monday evenings, beginning February 4. The particular koans will be announced and material will be made available as we get closer to that date.
Hozan Sensei will teach a class series on five Thursday evenings beginning March 28. The class topic will be Mindfulness, based on the Satipatthana Sutta and commentaries by Thich Nhat Hanh. Details will be announced later.

Celebrating Martin Luther King Day

We will be commemorating the MLK holiday again this year by having a special program at BZC on Monday, January 21, from 8:30 a.m. till 1:00 p.m. Our program will begin with sitting, followed by a short talk on the legacy and dharma of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his vision of “Beloved Community.” We will then have small group dialogues to reflect on these themes and explore ways BZC can engage in partnership with our neighbors on issues of diversity and inclusion. Our time together will include tea and treats as we continue our conversation. This will be followed by two community service projects.

One project will be setting up a table on Russell Street to invite passersby to create peace prayers and memorial messages honoring those who have died through violence. We then will invite and assist in placing these messages on our streetside Peace Tree. Our second project will be cleaning streets in the immediate neighborhood.

The MLK Day program will be led by Gerry Oliva and Judy Fleischman.

Sewing Buddha’s Robe

Sewing your rakusu in preparation for receiving the precepts at the end of the annual practice period is an opportunity for deepening your practice and relationship with the sangha. Each year as the sewing class participants engage in the devotional practice of sewing and study the precepts together, they prepare themselves for receiving their robe and dharma name from their teachers.  The ceremony is a both a time to affirm aspirations to continue practicing and to celebrate with the sangha coming together to support this important event.
If you are interested in preparing for Lay Ordination in 2019, sewing class starts on January 14. Classes are open to those who have asked their teacher if they may participate. Please speak with Sojun Mel Weitsman or Hozan Alan Senauke by the first week in January, and then promptly contact the sewing teacher, Jean Selkirk: sewingteacher.bzc@
Check the bulletin board for further announcements.

A New Baby Buddha

On Monday morning, December 10, our dharma brother Jed Appelman was ordained as a Zen priest by Sojun Roshi. The zendo was packed, even when the ceremony began at 5:40 a.m. Sangha members, family, and Quaker friends all gathered to see Jed receive his monk’s robes and bowls. On the occasion of this ordination, Sojun Roshi gave Jed a new dharma name to go with his new clothes: Tokusan Jakusho, which means Mountain of Virtue/Serene Illumination. We rejoice with Jed on this auspicious turning of his life.

Leadership Celebration

We would like to invite sangha members to a celebration of service in leadership January 5, 2019, after the lecture during our tea and cookies. Several people will be rotating out of leadership positions in January, after dedi­cated service. Stan Dewey, Mark Copithorne, and Katy Guimond are leaving the Board, and Ross Blum is retiring as coordinator (being replaced by Gerry Oliva). Come share cake and tea!

Two-Day Study Sesshin February 16, 2019, 5:00 am - 9:00 pm and February 17. 2019, 5:00 am - 5:00 pm

Sojun Roshi will lead this year’s study sesshin from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 16, and 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 17. Each day will include zazen, oryoki meals, soji, and two daily study and discussion sessions. Our study subject will be posted on the bulletin board. Any readings will be available on the bulletin board shelf in advance of the sesshin. The sesshin fee is $35 per day. Place checks marked “2019 Study Sesshin” in the slot in the laundry room door or mail to BZC Office Manager at 1931 Russell St., Berkeley 94703. Sign-up sheet will be posted on the bulletin board. For further information on any of these sesshins, please contact

Sesshin Director Gary Artim (510-676-9756 or

Beginners’ Sesshin Sunday, January 27th, 2019, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Though Zen practice has no beginning or end, new people sometimes find the forms daunting, and more experienced students can value refreshment and learn about forms in greater detail. This sitting, led by Sojun Roshi, is an opportunity for new and old practitioners to invigorate our beginner’s mind. The focus will be on the basics of Suzuki Roshi’s practice: zazen, kinhin, and bowing.

The sesshin will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 27. Though shorter than usual, the rhythm of sitting will be similar to our regular schedules, with lecture, a short work period, tea and discussion. Plan to attend the entire day. Please bring a bag lunch—we will not be cooking a meal or doing oryoki. The sesshin fee is $25. Place checks marked “Beginner’s Sesshin” in the slot in the laundry room door or mail to BZC Office Manager at 1931 Russell St., Berkeley 94703.

First Sesshin of 2019 January 12, 2019, 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 2019, led by Hozan Alan Senauke, will take place on Saturday, January 12, 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. Please check the patio bulletin board for the sesshin sign-up sheet, the sesshin infor­ma­tion forms, and further information. The sesshin fee is $35. Place checks marked “January 12 Sesshin” in the slot in the laundry room door or mail to BZC Office Manager, 1931 Russell St., Berkeley 94703. The deadline for signing up and payment is Wednesday morning, January 9, after zazen.

Oryoki Training

The next lesson in our formal meal procedures (“oryoki”) will be Saturday, September 22, 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m, in the community room. If you would like to schedule another time to learn or fine-tune your oryoki practice, contact Sue Oehser at or 510-339-0243 (voice only).