Category Archives: News

Aspects of Practice October 6 through November 3

We invite you to join the 2018 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 and support our senior practice leaders.
      This year we will draw from
The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women. 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 enclosed calendar and the zendo events bulletin board.
      Aspects of Practice will begin with a one-day sesshin on Saturday, October 6, led by Gerry Oliva, and end with a one-day sesshin on Saturday, November 3, led by Hozan. For more information on either sesshin, please contact the sesshin directors, Peter Overton (for October 6) or Gary Artim (for November 3): Peter can also be reached at 510-325-2342 and Gary at 510-676-9756.

Potluck and Sangha Meeting Tuesday, September 25, 2018 6:30 pm

All BZC members and friends are invited to attend our semi-annual potluck and sangha meeting on Tuesday, September 25, 6:30 p.m. In addition to celebrating fellowship, the Board will present the nominees for the three members-at-large Board positions which begin January 2019.
We will also entertain additional nomina­tions during the meeting. If you would like to nominate someone, please do two things: obtain their permission prior to the meeting, and let Stan Dewey (chair of the Nominations and Elections Committee) know in advance.
A great deal of care, time, and commitment have been put into the nominating process to make it as fair and unbiased as possible. The Board extends much gratitude to Stan Dewey, Ed Herzog, and Stephanie Solar for all their work.

Zen in the Age of Anxiety: A Talk by Tim Burkett Friday, September 14, 2018 5:45 pm - 6:30 pm

Tim Zentetsu Burkett, guiding teacher of Minnesota Zen Meditation Center, will offer a dharma talk and reading from his latest book, Zen in the Age of Anxiety: Wisdom for Navigating Our Modern World (Shambhala Publications), on Friday afternoon, September 14, from 5:45 to 6:30 p.m. at Berkeley Zen Center.

Tim began practicing with Suzuki Roshi in 1964, and in the early 1970s was a student of Katagiri Roshi in Minneapolis. Written in the style of an owner’s manual for human beings, this new book focuses on areas of pain and anxiety as they tend to manifest in our lives: feelings of unworthiness and issues around sex, money, failure, and death. Tim’s extensive background in Zen and his experience as a psychotherapist bring wisdom to our fears and anxieties, turning them into building blocks of a fulfilling life.
Please join us for this unique opportunity. Books will be available for purchase following the talk.

One-Day Study Sesshin Saturday, September 1, 2018 5:00 am - 5:30pm

Hozan Alan Senauke will lead a daylong study sesshin on Saturday, September 1. We will be studying Dogen’s “Eight Awakenings of Great Beings,” translated by Kaz Tana­hashi. This text was Dogen’s last fascicle, written shortly before his death in 1253.
      The sesshin will go from 5:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and will include zazen, oryoki meals, soji, and two study sessions. A sign-up sheet is posted on the bulletin board, and materials will be available on the bulletin board shelf several days ahead of time. The fee is $35, and should be paid in advance. Please leave payment in the donation slot (marked “Study Sesshin”) by Wednesday, August 29. For more informa­tion, contact sesshin director Gary Artim: (510) 676-9756 or

Vallejo Zen Center Garden & Jazz Party

It’s time again for VZC’s annual fundraising party at 607 Branciforte St. in Vallejo. Great jazz, food, drink, door prizes, silent auction, and a grand raffle of dinner for two at Greens. (You need not be present to win the raffle.) Raffle and doorprize chances are $5 each or $20 for five chances. Admission is $20 per person (kids under 12 free). You can purchase tickets at BZC from Ko Blix or Jake Van Akkeren.

Consider Making a Bequest to BZC

“After years of putting off getting my estate in order with a will and trust, I find that doing so gives me great peace of mind: peace that family members will not be burdened with trying to discern my wishes; and peace that the people and organizations that really matter to me are sup­ported. Including a legacy gift for BZC has the heft of affirming no-birth-no-death, and the great satis­faction that this practice place will continue to be supported for years to come.” (BZC legacy donor)

As you know, Berkeley Zen Center is solely supported by our dues and donations. One of the significant ways sangha members and friends have donated is by leaving a monetary gift in their will or their trust. A gift in your will or revocable living trust, called a bequest, is a wonderful way to donate for people who love the sangha but may not wish to part with their resources today.
Remembering BZC in your estate plan helps ensure the ongoing health and well-being of our teachers, the structures at BZC, our sangha, and our practice. The BZC Board would like you to know that a number of its members, past and present, have named BZC in their wills or trusts. The Board invites all members and friends to follow this example and consider making such a bequest.
For more information about including BZC in your planned giving, contact BZC Treasurer Laurie Senauke at
You can also contact Laurie if you would like to let us know that you have already provided for BZC in your estate plan.

Position Changes

Jake Van Akkeren has taken over the Health and Safety Coordinator role from Nancy Suib.
Mahin Mahdavi is now tending the dokusan hut, taking over from Kiká Hellein (who has returned to Tassajara).
Thanks to you all for your dedication! 🙏

Board News

The June Board meeting was postponed. Its agenda will be included in the July 15 meeting, which will be 9:00 a.m. to noon instead of the usual 9:00‒11:00  a.m. (We opted to postpone so as to be able to focus on the Practice Period and five-day sesshin.)
All sangha members are welcome to attend any Board meetings. The agenda is always posted several days ahead of time, so you can see if there is any topic you are particularly concerned about.

Lay Ordination

On Saturday, June 9, three members of the Berkeley Zen Center sangha received Lay Ordination (Zaike Tokudo) from Sojun Weitsman Roshi and Hozan Senauke Sensei. This year Dôan Robert Thomas and his student joined in the ceremony.

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 student:
Cheryl Gordon
Tai Dô Myô Shin
Peaceful Way Radiant Heart

Hozan Sensei’s students:
Rhiana Wiggins
Shin Sen Tai Do
Deep River Peaceful Ground

Greg Smith
Un Zan Kô Rei
Cloud Mountain Great Effort

Dôan Robert Thomas’s student:
Cricket Halsey
Gen Shin Yû Dô
Truth Source Gentle Way