Category Archives: Old News

Lay Entrustment Ceremony July 10, 2017. 5:40 am

Leslie Bartholic and Jake Van Akkeren will receive Lay Entrustment from Sojun Roshi on Monday morning, July 10. Sojun will present them with a green rakusu to acknowledge their position as lay teachers in our sangha. The ceremony will take place in the zendo at 5:40 a.m. All are invited to attend, with a reception to follow in the community room. There will be no Practice Committee meeting on this date.

Samu (Sangha Work Day) Sunday, May 7, 2017, 8:45 am - 5:45 pm

Please join us for samu (sangha work day) on Sunday, May 7. Arrive at 8:30 a.m. for a warm cup and a casual bite in company; work circle at 8:45. Or join us at noon for a decidedly delicious outdoor lunch, with work circle at 12:45. Or join us whenever you can, to share this opportunity to support our cherished practice place.

If you have a pet project to promote, we are still taking suggestions! Please leave a note on the bulletin board or email John Lake at

A Class on The Buddha’s Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony Mondays from March 20 - April 17, 2015: 7:15 pm - 8:45 pm

Suzuki Roshi said: “When the whole cloth is woven completely in various colorful threads, what you see are not pieces of thread; what you see is one whole cloth.” The respected translator and editor Bhikkhu Bodhi recently published The Buddha’s Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony (Wisdom, 2016), a collection drawn entirely from the Pali suttas. Hozan Alan Senauke worked on this with Bhikkhu Bodhi, contributing a prologue and epilogue to the book.
In these difficult days, social and communal harmony have never been needed more. Hozan Sensei will lead a five-session class on selections from this book on Mondays from March 20 to April 17. The class will be held in the BZC community room, from 7:15 to 8:45 p.m. The class fee is $50. Materials will be available in advance and books will be available from the BZC book table.

Sojun Roshi’s Koan Class Series January 23, 30, February 6, 13, 2017: 7:15 pm - 8:45 pm

Sojun Roshi will continue his koan class series from The Book of Serenity in January and February. The dates for his four classes are Monday evenings 7:15-8:45 on January 23, January 30, February 6, and February 13. Fee for the series is $40, payable at the first class, with discounts available as needed. A sign-up sheet will be posted on the patio bulletin board the first week of January and class material will be made available prior to the series as well as before each class.

Celebrating Martin Luther King Day at BZC January 16, 2017, 8:30 am

We will be commemorating the MLK holiday this year by having a special program at BZC on Monday, January 16, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Instead of our usual early morning sitting we will have a sitting at 8:30 for 40 minutes, followed by a short dharma talk. Prior to this day we will do some outreach to our neighborhood and invite residents to participate in the morning discussion. We will then have a period of Dharma dialog which will involve small group discussion about the ways in which BZC can reach out to our neighborhood in constructive ways and more effectively promote diversity in the sangha. After this we will have tea and social time. Some of us will then set up a table in the front yard and invite people to create messages to hang on the tree to commemorate loved ones harmed by violence and hatred.

For further information and to get involved with this effort, contact Gerry Oliva at

February Study Sesshin February 11 - 12, 2017

There will be a two-day sesshin on February 11 – 12. The doshi and reading will be announced; please check the bulletin board for details. On Saturday, February 11, we will sit from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., with a lecture in the morning and a study period in the afternoon. On Sunday, February 12, we will sit from 5:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and have two study periods. We encourage old and new sangha members to participate. Please sign up on the patio bulletin board by Wednesday, February 8, after morning zazen. 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. The fee is $35 per day and should be paid in advance (a discounted fee is possible for those in need; please speak to the director). Leave checks marked “Study Sesshin” in the mail slot in the courtyard laundry room door or mail them to the BZC Office Manager, 1931 Russell St., Berkeley, CA 94703. If you have any questions, contact the sesshin director, Ken Powelson, at

First Sesshin of 2017 Saturday, January 14, 5:00 am - 9:00 pm

Taking the time to sit still after all the holiday and year-end activity is a great way to begin the New Year. The first sesshin of 2017 will take place on Saturday, January 14, from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. We encourage old and new sangha members to participate. 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, Ken Powelson. Please check the patio bulletin board for the sesshin sign-up sheet, the sesshin information forms, and further information. The sesshin fee is $35 (a discounted fee is possible for those in need; please speak to the director). Place checks marked “January 14th Sesshin” in the slot in the courtyard laundry room door or mail them to the BZC Office Manager, 1931 Russell St., Berkeley, CA 94703.

The deadline for sign-up and payment is Wednesday, January 11, after morning zazen. If you have questions, contact the sesshin director at

Write Your Death Poem A Workshop on New Year’s Eve

It’s traditional for Soto Zen monks to write a “death poem” at the turning of the year. The idea is to take time to reflect on the fleeting nature of life, not in a depressing way, but in a way that brings forth the truth and joy of each of our lives as they are right now.
On December 31, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Laurie Senauke will offer writing exercises, examples, and time to reflect, create, and share your own death poem. Come for the workshop, bring a bag dinner, and then stay for the New Year’s Eve sitting. Sign up on the bulletin board as usual. For more information, contact Laurie at

Rohatsu Sesshin, Led by Sojun Roshi December 4-10, 2016

Our annual seven-day session celebrates Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment. This is an opportunity to deepen our practice and bonding with sangha in a joyful silent environment. Be sure to sign up on the posted list on the community board and fill out a sesshin info form, if you haven’t already. Place the filled-out forms in the sesshin director’s mail box on the community room porch. Participants are asked to sit at least three full days. If you have questions about scheduling, diet, or physical limitations, please contact Gary Artim at (510) 676-9756 or

Close Aspects of Practice Sitting Saturday, November 19, 2016, 5:00 am - 9:00 pm

Aspects of Practice 2016 will close with a sesshin on Saturday, November 19, led by Denkei Raul Moncayo. Everyone is encouraged to attend, whether signed up for Aspects of Practice or not. This will be a Saturday sesshin schedule — 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. — but there will be the option of a lighter schedule — 8:30-5:40 — for students with significant physical limitations only. The Aspects of Practice closing ceremony will be at 8:40 p.m. For questions, please contact the sesshin director, Gary Artim, at or (510) 525-2135.