he subject of our Practice Period class will be the Tenzo Kyokun, Master Dogen’s teaching for the head of the kitchen, as an example of complete engagement in the Way. The whole of Dogen Zenji’s Shobogenzo is expressed in this practical manual of day-to-day, moment-to-moment enlightened activity of continuous awakening—the special quality of nothing special. This is a great opportunity to find your way into Dogen’s teaching, which is at the heart of our practice.
Classes will be on four Thursday evenings AND one Friday evening in the zendo, 7:15‒8:45 pm. The dates are May 10, 17, and 24 and June 1 and 7. The fee for the five classes is $50, payable at our first meeting. Discounts are available if needed and can be arranged at the first class. This series is open to everyone, not just Practice Period participants.
In June, Sojun Roshi will lead the five-day sesshin to close the spring practice period, which will culminate with the Shuso Hossen ceremony. Please arrange your life commitments to participate fully a minimum of three days. The fee is $35 per day and should be paid in advance. The signup list will be posted two weeks ahead of time. If you have never participated in a sesshin or if you have any questions, please contact sesshin director Gary Artim (firstname.lastname@example.org or (510)676-9756).
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.
Half-day sittings include five periods of zazen, kinhin (walking meditation) and an informal tea. We ask participants to commit to the entire four-hour schedule. A $10 donation is requested. If you have questions or if you cannot sign up on the bulletin board, contact the director Alexandra Frappier at email@example.com.
Read more about half-day sittings in general here.
Join us on Sunday evening, December 31, for the chance to ring in the New Year with the quiet and reflection of zazen, punctuated by 108 soundings of the bell to mark the last 108 minutes of 2017 and a bonfire after midnight. Everyone is welcome to attend any portion of the program, entering the zendo during kinhin or the beginning of a period of zazen. The schedule is:
10:14 108 Bells Begin
12:05 Slow Heart Sutra
A celebration will follow that included refreshments in the community room and a bonfire in the courtyard.
Please enter the zendo only during kinhin (periods of walking meditation). If you arrive during a period of zazen, you may sit in the community room or join in the preparations.
Sangha Support is offering a gathering for helpers and caregivers on Sunday, January 28, at 4:00‒5:30 pm. in the Senauke home (1933 Russell St. at BZC). There will be the usual (unusual!) guided meditation by Laurie Senauke, time for checking in, and space to share ideas for how this caregiving practice can be met with kindness for all, including oneself.
Thank you for helping another person to do things that they used to do for themselves; we recognize your courage in navigating this challenging practice.
For more information, please contact Debbie at DebbieResearcher@gmail.com or (503) 505-4282.
Sojun will continue with his series from The Book of Serenity on all four Monday evenings in February. The Book of Serenity is a collection of 100 koans, first published in the early 1200s, that is most identified with the Soto sect. Commentaries by contemporary Zen teacher Koun Yamada will accompany copies of the text. Along with each relatively short case is a verse by Hongzhi (1091‒1157), commentary by Wansong (1166‒1246), and voices of other prominent Zen teachers of that era as they weigh in from their own perspectives. The result is a lively and earthy collective approach to each case. We’ll meet from 7:15‒8:45 pm. in the community room. Fee for the series is $40, with discounts available if needed. A sign-up sheet will be posted on the patio bulletin board in the first week of January. Those not at BZC on a weekly basis may register with class coordinator Ron Nestor: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sesshins are an essential part of our practice at BZC. This Beginner’s Sesshin, led by Vice Abbot Hozan Alan Senauke, is organized as an introduction to sesshin and Zen forms and will take place Sunday, January 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. We will offer instruction in the basics—zazen, kinhin, service—while maintaining our ground in meditation throughout the day. Newer members are particularly encouraged to take part, but we also welcome older students to enjoy the sitting and model our practice. Bring a bag lunch, which we will eat informally in silence at midday.
- Fee for the day is $20. Please pay in advance. Leave checks marked “sesshin fee” in the donation slot in the laundry room door.
- Deadline for signup is Thursday, January 25. Sign up on the bulletin board or email Hozan.
- Please do not wear perfumes, scents, or scented body-care products in the zendo.
- If you’ve never been to a sesshin at BZC, or have further questions, contact Hozan at email@example.com or 510-845-2215.
- There will be no refund for last-minute cancellations or no-shows.
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 SesshinDirectorBZC@gmail.com.
To support one another through a process of grieving and honoring, we will gather for a ceremony in our Jizo garden. Jizo represents the compassionate presence of “Earth Store” Bodhisattva and is viewed as a guide and protector, particularly for children, who have died. For this ceremony we welcome anyone grieving loss of a loved one, including loss through miscarriage or abortion, sickness, suicide, accidents or violence. We also welcome those who have lost pets dear to them. Our time together will include making a personal token of remembrance, as well as sharing tea and refreshments after the ceremony. Feel free to bring a picture or photo or personal belonging of your loved one to include on the altar.
The ceremony will be led by two Berkeley Zen Center priests:
Gerry Oliva, MD, MPH, is a pediatrician and an associate professior at UCSF
Judy Fleischman, BCC, MS, is a board-certified chaplain with HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN)
- All BZC members, members of other Buddhist sanghas and neighborhood residents are invited to attend.
- There is no fee. Donations (dana) are welcome.
For more information and to sign up by phone or email, please contact Gerry at firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 652-7217 or www.berkeleyzencenter.org