Category Archives: News

Caregivers Support Gathering

Sangha Support is offering a gathering for caregivers (whether helping someone nearby or at a distance) on Sunday, August 11 4:00‒5:30 p.m. in the Senauke home at 1933 Russell St. at BZC.

For our gathering, there will be the usual (unusual!) guided meditation by Laurie Senauke, time for checking in, and space to share ideas for how your caregiving practice can be met with kindness for all, including yourself.

Thank you for helping another person do things that they used to do for them­selves; we recognize your courage in navigating this challenging practice.

For more information, please contact Debbie: DebbieResearcher@gmail.com or 503-505-4282.

Lay Ordination

On Saturday, June 15, two members of the Berkeley Zen Center sangha received Lay Ordination (Zaike Tokudo) from Sojun Roshi and Hozan 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.

Hozan Sensei’s student:
Ellen Levin
Myô Getsu Shô Dô
Wondrous Moon Illuminates the Way

Sojun Roshi’s student:
Alex Roehrkasse
Kai Ki Jun I
Open Vessel Pure-hearted Intention

Nominations for the BZC Board

Every year the sangha elects three of six members-at-large to two-year terms to the BZC Board. Board members may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms. Elections take place in October and the new term starts in January 2020. The Board will present its three nominees at the all-sangha potluck on Tuesday evening, September 24.

This year the BZC Board is pleased to announce that three current at-large Board members will be running for second terms.  They are: Rondi Saslow, Gary Artim, and Tom Painter.

Other nominations can be made by sangha members at the all-sangha potluck from the floor. Some of the various skills the board seeks in nominees (not all in one person) are: oral and written communication, organization, information technology, money management, fundraising, engineering, building mainte­nance, and nonprofit law. Nominees should be members of BZC. Board members attend ten Sunday morning meetings a year and an all-day retreat in the first part of the year, and serve on at least one of the working Board committees: Finance, Buildings & Grounds, Development, Electronic Communication & Social Media, Archive, and Elections & Nominations.

If you are interested in serving on the Board, or know someone who you would like to nominate, please contact a member of the Elections and Nominations Committee: Ed Herzog (edherzog@comcast.net), Carol Paul (carolpaul@yahoo.com), or Rondi Saslow (rsaslow@pacbell.net). Please include any relevant information about why you think the person would be a good BZC Board member.

Lay Entrustment Monday, July 22, 2019 - 5:40 am

On Monday, July 22, beginning at 5:40 a.m., Sojun Roshi will confer Lay Entrustment on Seishi Tetsudo Ross Blum and Sentei Kokyo Susan Marvin. The ceremony will include informal dharma inquiry with Ross and Susan, and a celebratory reception in the community room will follow.

[This ceremony, originally announced for May 6, has been rescheduled to the above date.]

Thousand Hands History Project

The Board has set a $20,000 fundraising goal this year to cover the initial costs of preserving an archival record of BZC teaching legacy and history. Many of you recently received a letter detailing this exciting project.

We are taking on the task of making this legacy widely available: digitized, indexed, searchable, and archived so that it may encourage and enlighten future Zen students. The first step is digitizing more than 2000 of Sojun Roshi’s talks (and the BZC talks of other teachers) at an estimated cost of $26,000. We invite your contributions and participation.

Sojun’s Birthday Party Saturday, July 20, 2019 - 11:30 am

On Saturday, July 20, we’re having a party to celebrate Sojun’s 90th birthday!
The party will begin at 11:30 a.m. (right after the lecture), with food, live music, and a few offerings of appreciation and humorous reminiscing about our beloved abbot.
BZC will provide main dishes, birthday cake, and beverages. If you would like to bring a signature side dish to round out the offering, please contact Maria Winston (mariawinston@ yahoo.com) or Laurie Senauke (lauriesenauke@ sonic.net).
Note that we will not be having the usual early program that Saturday—rather, we’ll start with work period at 8:30. (There will, however, be informal zazen at 6:00 a.m.)

The party will also feature exhibits at various locations around BZC representing aspects of the Thousand Hands History Project.

We will also be offering an all-new, long-sleeved BZC logo T-shirt and everyone’s favorite BZC aprons (see illustrations in our previous newsletter) for $25 each. If you would like to preorder a T-shirt and/or an apron, please contact Laurie Senauke for details.

Tea Time Turnover

Every Friday just before the afternoon zazen period, BZC welcomes members and friends for tea, tasty treats, and informal discussion. Weather permitting, we meet in the garden; otherwise, in the community room. Amaselu Meyer, who has graciously hosted these teas during the last four years, has handed off the baton. The Friday gatherings are now hosted by a rotating team of BZC senior students, and the new tea time is 5:00‒5:30 p.m. If you have any questions, please contact Ellen Webb at elweb@sbcglobal.net. Better yet, simply show up and join us!

Oryoki Training

The next lesson in our formal meal procedures (“oryoki”) will be Saturday, May 4, 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. (location to be announced). The one after that will be Saturday, June 1, 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, please contact Sue Oehser at soehser@earthlink.net or 510-339-0243 (voice only).

Briefer oryoki instruction is also offered before breakfast at all full Saturday morning programs, except during sesshins

No More Disposable Utensils

Over the years BZC has used different kinds of utensils at receptions and special events (Buddha’s Birthday, Jukai, Ordinations, etc.). The Practice Committee has discussed this issue many times and has now decided that the better course for the future is to get away from using any kind of disposable utensils (forks and spoons mostly). Even disposables that are called “compostable” are reportedly not currently viewed by the City of Berkeley as compostable waste. To avoid any confusion, and to support a sustainable future, we will in the future use washable metal utensils at special events. This is part of our commitment to reduce the amount of waste generally, and nonrecylable plastic in particular, as our planet begins to move away from plastic. Thanks for your cooperation in this matter.