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Words of Appreciation from the Board President

In the past few months there has been some significant changing of the guard regarding those involved in BZC administration.
First, after ably serving as Office Manager for three years, Tamar Enoch has stepped down from that important position. During her tenure as OM, Tamar worked long hours first with Treasurer Paul Farber and then with Paul’s successor, Walter Kieser, to develop and implement an updated and streamlined accounting system. This was a huge project and took a lot of extra work and dedication to make it happen. Tamar worked hand in hand with both Paul and Walter to develop realistic budgets, and she went far beyond her job description to search for ways to eliminate waste at BZC and to save the sangha money—thousands of dollars in fact. Tamar has also worked closely with her successor, Bruce Coughran, to facilitate a seamless transition. We wish Tamar the best in her new endeavors, and we are pleased to have Bruce on board as our new OM.
After serving as Treasurer for the past two and a quarter years, Walter has left his position to relocate to Sonoma County, where he has recently built a new home in the town of Geyserville. The Board has approved Laurie Senauke to serve as acting Treasurer until her name can be placed on the October ballot for Sangha confirmation.
Walter’s service on the Board goes back many years. He served as Recording Secretary in 2005, as a Member-at-Large from 2006-2012, and as Treasurer from 2015 into 2017, thus being on the Board in one capacity or another for over eight years.
Walter was also Project Manager during a time when multiple problems with BZC’s buildings were manifesting. In this role he completely streamlined and codified policies and procedures and put together a highly functional and enthusiastic team, which became known as the Building Committee. He pushed for doing as much as we could with volunteers, and he himself always made it a point to pitch in on sangha work days, even memorably breaking his arm during one volunteer stint while doing seismic retrofitting on the community room porch. He worked closely with our Finance and Development Committees to oversee a five-year plan to address the needs of aging (and in some cases failing) BZC buildings and infrastructure.
After a two-year break from the Board, Walter was recruited by Sojun to serve as Treasurer during a particularly difficult administrative time. As Treasurer, Walter worked closely with Tamar as Office Manager to overhaul and literally reboot the accounting system. One reason BZC continues to be in excellent financial shape is certainly attributable to Walter’s expertise, diligence, and care while serving as Treasurer.
Finally, he continues to make himself available for consultation to Laurie now that she has become our acting Treasurer. We extend great appreciation to Walter for his many years of service and his extraordinary contributions to the BZC community, and wish him much joy and peace in his new home.

Aspects of Practice October 7 through November 4, 2017

We invite you to join the 2017 Aspects of Practice period—four weeks of practice, renewal, study, and discussion led by Hozan Alan Senauke and BZC practice leaders. Aspects of Practice has traditionally encouraged newer students to root their Zen practice. It also includes the wider BZC community who wish to refresh themselves and make a sustainable commitment to practice.
This year we will draw from Suzuki Roshi’s Not Always So. Practice leaders will lecture on Saturdays, lead Monday morning discussions, and offer a class on four successive Thursdays. All of these events are open to everyone. In addition, there will be informal teas and regular practice discussion. Each sangha participant is strongly encouraged to meet with Hozan Sensei or a practice leader at least once during Aspects. Your interest, support, and encouragement can be of help to the whole sangha. For further details, please look carefully at the zendo events bulletin board.
Aspects of Practice will begin with a one-day sesshin on Saturday, October 7, and end with a one-day sesshin on Saturday, November 4. For information on either sesshin, please contact the sesshin director, Ken Powelson, at

50th Anniversary Party! Saturday, September 30, 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm

It’s BZC’s 50th anniversary of accomplishing nothing! We will be celebrating this (non) accomplishment with a dinner party on Saturday, September 30, 6:00 pm, at the Jack London Aquatic Center, 115 Embarcadero in Oakland. If you have not RSVP’d to your Evite sent out in June, please take a moment to do so. If you no longer have that invitation (or you never received one), contact Carol Paul at or 510-206-5051. We hope to see everyone there, including people from all periods, past and present, of BZC’s half-century of “nothing special” practice.
If you wish help getting there, contact Gary Artim at If you are coming from out of town and would like to arrange a place to stay while you are here, contact Ken Powelson at
BZC is offering this event for free; and dana is greatly appreciated.

Dharma Hikes A New BZC Practice Experience

For all sangha members and friends who love being outdoors, these hikes will provide an opportunity to explore some aspects of the Dharma while enjoying leisurely paced hikes in some beautiful Bay Area parks. Two dharma hikes have been scheduled for this fall (see below) and will be led by Jake Van Akkeren, who is an experienced Sierra Club hike leader and also a senior student at BZC. The hikes will include opportunity for silent walking and a lunchtime dharma discussion, as well as allowing time for social interaction. In order to facilitate discussion, group size will be limited to no more than twelve people.
      Our first hike will in Redwood Regional Park, Sunday, September 24, carpooling from BZC at 9:00 am and arriving back around 3:00 pm. Our second hike will be in Briones Regional Park, Sunday, October 22, carpooling from BZC at 9:15 am and arriving back around 4:00 pm For more information, or to make reservations, please contact Jake at
      If enough interest is shown in this type of activity, more dharma hikes will be scheduled for 2018.

New Resident at BZC!

We would like to welcome Hannah Meara to our residency training program. She will be moving into the vacant apartment above Sojun’s office.
Since the apartment became vacant, the Board decided to take the opportunity to undertake a review of the residency program, with the goals of emphasizing and supporting its role as a training program, making it more responsive to the sangha as a whole, and allowing for more turnover. Based on this review, there have been several modifications to the program, including the formation of a standing Residency Committee (composed of our Abbot, Vice Abbot, Head Resident, and two nonresident senior students); updating the Residency Guidelines to emphasize the training-program aspect; introducing an annual review program for residents (to support their edge of practice and to consider their ability to meet their responsibilities in the training program with a fresh mind); and setting variable term limits for incoming residents. The Residency Committee currently consists of Sojun, Hozan, Ken Powelson, Susan Marvin, and Ron Nestor.
The committee is continuing to look for another person who is willing to participate in this residential training program, either on a short-term basis (for a summer, a semester, or a year), or for a longer three-year term. If you are interested, please contact Ken Powelson at

Another Lay Ordination Coming Up

The fourth member of this year’s BZC sewing group will complete her lay ordination later this summer. Long-time member Cheryl Gordon will receive the precepts from Ryushin Andrea Thach on Saturday, August 26, at 3:00 p.m. Please come witness her commitment to the Bodhisattva path and welcome her anew to the community.

Lay Ordination

On Saturday, June 3, three members of the Berkeley Zen Center sangha received Lay Ordination (Zaike Tokudo) from Sojun Weitsman Roshi and Hozan Senauke Sensei. This ceremony takes place once a year at BZC and is a significant rite of passage for each participant and for the whole sangha. We have the feeling that we are all together witnessing and participating as the ordinees receive Buddha’s precepts. We welcome these ordinees into the lineage of Shakyamuni Buddha and Suzuki Roshi’s family.

Sojun Roshi’s students:
John Lake
Hei Ko Shin Kan
Calm Lake Deep Insight

Matt Haug
Ji Dô I Shin
Compassionate Path Healing Heart

Hozan Sensei’s student:
Tim Lane
Kô Ryû Gen Shin
Peaceful Dragon Sees Heart

Heart Sutra Class Thursdays from August 24 to September 14, 7:15 pm - 8:45 pm

The Heart Sutra is chanted daily in Zen temples around the world. In this class we will read and chant the sutra and do a line-by-line, word-by-word exploration of the meaning that lies in the words and beyond the words.
What we chant at BZC is a highly condensed version of a larger Mahayana sutra rarely studied in the Zen school, although its teachings are found in many of the Zen koans characteristic of the lineage. Time permitting, we may read a few passages from the unabbreviated original sutra, widely associated with Nagarjuna and the second turning of the Dharma wheel. (The first turning or Dharma teaching consists of the original teachings of Buddha, such as the Four Noble Truths. The second turning consists of the Mahayana sutras emphasizing emptiness of own being and the practice of compassion.)
The class will be held every Thursday from August 24 to September 14, and will be taught by Denkei Raul Moncayo. Raul has been practicing at BZC since 1978 and received Dharma Transmission from Sojun Roshi in 2010. He has also had a long career as a psychologist.

Position Changes

Peter Pfaelzer has performed the ordinary yet extraordinary task of tending to the BZC laundry these past two and a half years. While not quite a rags-to-riches story, we are very grateful for his keeping us well stocked with clean rags, dish towels, and reception table cloths. This laundry position has been reincorporated into the Kitchen Keeper’s role currently held by Teri Jo Tinus, where it was originally conceived decades ago. Thanks to both of you.