Category Archives: News

Position Changes

Gary Artim will take over from Ken Powelson and join Peter Overton as Co-Sesshin Director.

Community room porch bulletin boards will be maintained by Peter Carpentieri and Ko Blix, assuming the push pins from Afsaneh Michaels.

Heather Burns and Todd Gilens, our newsletter distribution team, will pass the position on to Alexander Coward.

Rhiana Wiggins will assume the role of Kitchen Keeper from Shingetsu Teri Jo Tinus.

Thanks to you all for your dedication! 🙏

Oryoki Training

Are you ready to deepen your formal meal practice in the zendo? Would you like to explore and learn how to use oryoki bowls with cloths? Next trainings will be March 3 (after Saturday program from 11:30 to noon) and April 13 (Friday 4:30 to 5:00 p.m.) Check the courtyard bulletin board for the sign-up sheet or just drop in. Contact Sue Oehser ((510) 339-0243 or if you have questions or want to pick another date.

BZC Board News

The BZC Board is very pleased to announce that the new Vice President is Carol Paul. Since this change was not made prior to the election last October, she will serve as interim Vice Pres­i­dent until next October, when her name will be put forward to the sangha for ratification.

The Board is also pleased to welcome Gregory Smith as its new Recording Secretary.

Sangha members are welcome to attend board meetings. The agenda for meetings will be posted on the two Yahoo group lists several days in advance of each meeting, so that members can see if items of interest will be addressed. The meeting dates in 2018 are: March 18, April 29, May 20, June 10, July 15, August 19, September 16, October 14, and November 18. It has been our practice not to meet in December, and one of the meetings during the summer may be canceled.

All-sangha potlucks are scheduled for March 20 and September 25.

In the next few weeks we will be asking you to fill out a short questionnaire. This will help us update our knowledge of the experience and skills within the sangha. Your response will help us plan our work projects during the year ahead.

20s/30s Hills and Streams Sesshin April 20 - 22, 2018

BZC’s 20s and 30s Dharma Group is happy to announce it will be hosting its fourth annual “Hills and Streams” backpacking sesshin, from Friday, April 20, through Sunday, April 22 (plus a mandatory orientation meeting on Thursday, April 19). The sesshin will be held at Sky Camp in Point Reyes. You can sign up either at BZC or online at the BZC website. Cancellation deadline is April 8.

The topic of discussion (led by Gerry Oliva) will be the concept of “Acceptance and Radical Acceptance in Zen Buddhism.” We will be reading from Suzuki Roshi’s talks on the koans “Every Day Is a Good Day” and “Sun-Faced Buddha, Moon-Faced Buddha,” and also Thich Nhat Hahn’s poem “Call Me by My True Name.” This is an intensive meditation retreat which will involve significant hiking and will maintain (to the extent possible) a sesshin atmosphere and practice. This includes long periods of silence, sitting zazen, and shared responsibilities (cooking, cleaning, etc.). If you are new to backpacking or to sesshins, please speak with the directors, Sandeep Lehil or Chris Frost. This sesshin is a wonderful way to connect with other young sangha members and experience practice in wilderness. If you or someone you know is interested in attending, please email Sandeep ( or Chris ( We hope to see many old and new faces there!

Upcoming Sesshins

March 24 and April 28 are two sesshin dates to mark on your calendar. Both sesshins are on Saturday, with a 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. schedule.

The March 24 sesshin will be led by Gerry Oliva. The April 28 one will be led by Sojun Roshi and will begin our practice period.

The fee for each sesshin is $35, and should be paid in advance. Leave checks marked with the name of the sesshin in the laundry room door donation slot. Please contact sesshin director Peter Overton ( with any question or concerns.

An Invitation to Cooking Practice at BZC

One day Wuzhao was working as tenzo at a monastery in the Wutai Mountains. When the Bodhisattva Manjusri suddenly appeared above the pot where he was cooking, Wuzhao beat him. Later he said, “Even if Shakyamuni were to appear above the pot, I would beat him, too!”
—Kosho Uchiyama, How to Cook Your Life
Sounds like fun, right?! Working in the kitchen is an important part of our practice at BZC, and the good news is that this practice opportunity is open to everyone. Anyone coming to BZC, whether you are brand new or have been coming for years, is warmly welcomed to join us for work in the kitchen.
There is a kitchen sign up on the porch bulletin board. Almost every Saturday, there are spaces for assistant cooks. You don’t need experience to sign up to help during any Saturday breakfast. Just add your name to an open assistant-cook slot and join the head cook at 6:00 am on the date you choose. Help and guidance will be cheerfully offered!
But in order to beat metaphysical apparitions with a spoon, you’ll need to be trained to be a head cook. This training, too, is open to all. If you’re interested, please email the tenzo (our head head cook) at Training to be a head breakfast cook takes two Saturdays: on the first, you’ll assist the tenzo (or, maybe, a former tenzo) in preparing a menu of his or her choice. On the second Saturday, he or she will assist you to prepare a menu of your choice. After that, you’re invited to sign up as a head cook when you can. Those who are trained Saturday cooks can also check in with the tenzo about progressing to becoming sesshin cooks. Just think of all the Bodhisattvas you might get to beat during a sixteen-hour day!
We look forward to seeing you in the kitchen soon!

Spring Class by Hozan Sensei The Platform Sutra of Huineng

The Platform Sutra of Huineng, the 6 th Ancestor of Zen is an accessible and foundational text of our Zen tradition. This spring, Hozan Alan Senauke will lead a 4-week Platform Sutra class
—7:15pm on Thursday evenings in the community room, March 29 to April 19.

The Sutra’s biographical section is compelling, painting a clear picture of Huineng’s impoverished and “uneducated” background, along with his deep and intuitive understanding of Buddhism. The text unfolds his teachings on the essence of mind, the relation between wisdom and concentration, the “formless” precepts, and much more.

Along with several other versions, our main text will be Wong Mou Lam’s translation, available in The Diamond Sutra and the Sutra of Hui-neng (Shambhala Classics). Copies of relevant selections will be available before the class by print and email.

Welcoming New Members to BZC

Every Saturday someone from our New Member Committee is available to meet with people considering membership at BZC. Our committee includes Sue O., Ed H., Penelope T., and Leslie B. Please feel free to talk to one of us on Saturday after lecture or contact us to set up a meeting at another time. Our contact information will be posted on the patio bulletin board. We’d be happy to speak with you.

We are also offering a new activity for anyone who is new to BZC and has questions about our practice. Once a month we will host an informal meeting in the zendo after Satur­day lecture. This is an opportunity to ask any­thing you want to know about BZC but were hesitant to ask. Everyone is welcome. Bring your after-lecture tea and cookies and come join us in the zendo at 11:30 am. Our next meeting will be on January 20.