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Envisioning Beloved Community MLK Day of Dialogue and Service

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 then will have small group dialogue 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 streetside with 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 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.

Gerry Oliva, MD, MPH, is a Zen priest and teacher, and retired pediatrician and associate professor at UCSF.




Judy Fleischman, BCC, MS, is a Zen priest, Board-Certified Chaplain, and founder of the Center for Open Chaplaincy.



For more information and to sign up by phone or email, please contact Gerry at or (510) 652-7217.

Click here to download a flyer.

One-Day Sesshin Saturday, January 13, 2018 5:00 am - 9:00 pm

Sojun Roshi will be leading a one-day sesshin on Saturday, January 13, from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm. We encourage old and new sangha members to participate. Please sign up on the patio bulletin board by Wednesday morning zazen, January 10. 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, Peter Overton. 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 “January sesshin” in the mail slot in the courtyard laundry room door or mail to BZC Office Manager, 1931 Russell St., Berkeley, CA 94703. Those attending for the first time will need to fill out a Sesshin Information Sheet to let us know of food allergies or other health or physical concerns requiring accom-modation. Please request this sheet by contacting the sesshin director: (510) 325-2342 or

Great Turnout for CPR/AED Training

On October 21 from noon to 2:00, Mike Huggins from LifeSaver CPR led a lively and highly informative class in the most current instruction for CPR and the operation of the AED machine (Automated External Defibrillator, which is located in the back of our zendo). The following 20 sangha members are now certified to administer CPR and AED: Gaila Marie Allen, Jed Appelman, Raghav Bandla, Ross Blum, Sierra Boyd, Dean Bradley, Meghan Collins, Sue Dunlap, Judy Fleischman, Nancy Friedberg, Rob Lyons, Hannah Meara, Rondi Saslow, Laurie Senauke, Nancy Suib, Karen Sundheim, Penelope Thompson, Jake Van Akkeren, Ellen Webb, and Margret Wotkyns.
Deep bows to all for taking the time and effort to ensure the safety and well-being of our sangha. Be Well and Safe.
—Nancy Suib, Health and Safety Coordinator

Caregiving During the Holidays A Support Meeting

Sangha Support is offering a gathering for helpers and caregivers on Sunday, November 12, 4:00‒ 5:30 p.m. in the Senauke home (1933 Russell at BZC).
At this gathering there will be the usual (unusual!) guided meditation by Laurie Senauke, time for checking in, and space to share ideas for meeting the extra demands of the holiday season’s expectations and wishes with kindness, tolerance, and maybe even joy.
Also, a supportive but frank article for caregivers that addresses the end-of-the-year stress and strain, with suggestions for how to work with this challenge, is online at
Thank you for your courage in navigating caring for yourself as you care for another. For more information, please contact Debbie at or by phone at 503-505-4282.

New Walkway!

The dangerously irregular old walkway has been replaced by a much nicer and safer one. Thanks to Rob Lyons and his crew, which included Dean Bradley, Heiko John Lake, Livius Muff, Ron Nestor, Paul O’Leary, Ken Powelson, and Alan Senauke, with bricks donated by Greg Denny and Marie Hopper.

Rob and Heiko putting on the finishing touches.
New path to the Gateless Gate.


Priest Ordinations

On Saturday, September 23, a priest ordination (Shukke Tokudo) was held for three members of our sangha.
On that lovely autumn afternoon Carol Paul (Shiken Seigetsu, Intention Clear Serene Moon), Joel Feigin (Kyoshin Jôku, Melodious Heart Continuous Offering ), and Bruce Coughran (Genzan Seitoku, Dark Mountain Quiet Virtue) received the Bodhisattva Precepts from Sojun Mel Weitzman and Hozan Alan Senauke.
We are grateful for the ordinees’ sincere and diligent efforts, as well as for the support of so many others, whose contributions, large and small, equally made this wonderful event possible. We look forward to years of practice with Carol, Joel, and Bruce as they make their way with us on this unknowable path.

Position Changes

Bruce Coughran has passed his part of zendo management on to Leslie Bartholic, who will finish out the year sharing responsibilities with Mark Copithorne.
Anne Jennings has been creating the Dokusan calendars for us to schedule our meetings with Sojun and Hozan for eight years. She now passes the template on to Raghav Bandla.
Ken Powelson, our Head Resident of the past few years, will pass on the responsibilities of this position to Alexandra Frappier.
Hannah Meara will assume the role of Shika (Guest Coordinator) from Ken Powelson. The Shika arranges for the welcome and comfort of our overnight guests.
Dean Bradley will carry on the Co-Saturday Director duties from Mary Beth Lamb in January. She will alternate these Saturdays with Judy Fleischman, who is entering her second year at the position.
Mary Duryee has fulfilled the role of Project Manager for the past few years. After her Shusodom, she was invited by Sojun Roshi to be our board President. The search to find her P.M. successor didn’t take long, since Rob Lyons, who recently oversaw the replacement of our temple entrance brick pathway, was our pick to carry on with the important duties of this position.
Ed Herzog has been our Saturday Work Leader, coordinating the care and maintenance of our temple each week for the last three years. He now passes his clipboard to Ken Powelson. Please come to our Saturday work circle and help us support our practice place. Many hands make light work!
Thanks to you all for your dedication! 🙏

BZC Celebrates First Half Century

On September 30 around 200 people attended BZC’s gala Fiftieth Anniversary celebration at the Jack London Aquatic Center in Oakland.

In February 1967 Sojun Mel Weitsman, with help and encouragement from his teacher Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, rented a big house on Dwight Way in Berkeley and founded Berkeley Zen Center. Our fiftieth anniversary as a sangha also joyously celebrates fifty years of Sojun Roshi’s warm-hearted and continuing leadership. Partygoers ranged from the earliest years on Dwight Way to folks who have only recently found their way to our current Russell Street location. The energy was palpable. There was no shortage of smiles and lively warm conversations in the main hall, with pleasant live music in the background. Separate smaller rooms were set aside for viewing past images of BZC and for remembering and honoring those BZC stalwarts who are no longer with us. An outside balcony area was also a popular place to hang out during the balmy early autumn evening.

Liz reminisces about early days on Dwight Avenue.

Following a tasty light dinner, a lavish birthday cake was presented, and the speeches soon commenced. Master of Ceremonies Hozan Alan Senauke introduced a series of speakers, beginning with Sojun Roshi, whose reminiscences received a prolonged standing ovation. His wife Liz Horowitz then shared stories about early temple life with Sojun, followed by several other folks from across the decades who spoke from the heart about what BZC and Sojun have meant in their lives.

Sojun asks, “Who was there during the 1960s? Stand up!”

With speeches concluded and toasts made, people lingered to talk some more and then say their goodbyes. As they filed out they were handed a beautiful, lovingly compiled Fiftieth Anniversary booklet, full of captioned photos and insightful pieces written by dozens of our members from across the years.

(The booklet can be viewed or downloaded at

Ken Berman admits he was there.

It was indeed an evening to savor and remember. Innumerable bows to the more than fifty volunteers who contributed many long hours toward making this semicentennial event a wonderful time together!

Here are just a few photos from the event. Many more will soon be available on the BZC photo site.

Rohatsu Sesshin

Our annual Rohatsu sesshin from Sunday, December 3, through Saturday, December 9, led by Sojun Mel Weitsman. The first six days of the schedule will be from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.; the final day will end around 5 p.m. following shosan with Sojun Roshi. Please sign up on the patio bulletin board for a minimum of three days, two of which should be consecutive. If you want to request an alternative schedule, please speak to the sesshin director. Sign-ups will close on Wednesday, November 29, after morning zazen.

If this is your first sesshin at BZC, it is strongly recommended that you first participate in a full Saturday program, have oryoki instruction, and speak with the sesshin director. The fee for sesshin is $35 per day and should be paid in advance. Leave checks marked with the name of the sesshin in the laundry room door donation slot. If you have questions, contact the sesshin director, Ken Powelson, at