Category Archives: Old News

Beginners’ Sesshin Sunday, January 27th, 2019, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Though Zen practice has no beginning or end, new people sometimes find the forms daunting, and more experienced students can value refreshment and learn about forms in greater detail. This sitting, led by Sojun Roshi, is an opportunity for new and old practitioners to invigorate our beginner’s mind. The focus will be on the basics of Suzuki Roshi’s practice: zazen, kinhin, and bowing.

The sesshin will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 27. Though shorter than usual, the rhythm of sitting will be similar to our regular schedules, with lecture, a short work period, tea and discussion. Plan to attend the entire day. Please bring a bag lunch—we will not be cooking a meal or doing oryoki. The sesshin fee is $25. Place checks marked “Beginner’s Sesshin” in the slot in the laundry room door or mail to BZC Office Manager at 1931 Russell St., Berkeley 94703.

First Sesshin of 2019 January 12, 2019, 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 2019, led by Hozan Alan Senauke, will take place on Saturday, January 12, 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. Please check the patio bulletin board for the sesshin sign-up sheet, the sesshin infor­ma­tion forms, and further information. The sesshin fee is $35. Place checks marked “January 12 Sesshin” in the slot in the laundry room door or mail to BZC Office Manager, 1931 Russell St., Berkeley 94703. The deadline for signing up and payment is Wednesday morning, January 9, after zazen.

One-Day Sesshin Saturday, August 4, 5:00 am - 9:00 pm

Sojun Roshi will be leading a one-day sesshin on Saturday, August 4, from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. We encourage old and new sangha members to participate. Please sign up on the patio bulletin board by Wednes­day morning, August 1, after 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 and should be paid in advance (a discounted fee is possible for those in need; please speak to the director). Leave checks marked “August sesshin” in the mail slot in the courtyard laundry room door or mail to the BZC Office Manager at 1931 Russell St., Berkeley, CA 94703. Those attending for the first time will need to fill out a Sesshin Information Sheet to let us know of food allergies or other health or physical concerns requiring accommodation. Please request this by contacting the sesshin director, Peter Overton, at (510) 325-2342 or

Lotus Sutra Class Thursdays, August 30 - September 20, 7:15 pm - 8:45 pm

The Lotus Sūtra is one of the most popular and influential Mahayana sutras. It is known for its development of the concept of skillful means, mostly in the form of parables. It is full of cosmic imagery but it’s basic message is that all beings have the potential to become Buddhas and teach the Dharma here and now.
Susan Marvin and Laurie Senauke have been studying and enjoying the Lotus Sutra together for several months and are looking forward to sharing it with you. Readings will be from Gene Reeves translation of the Lotus Sutra and from Thich Nhat Hanh’s Opening the Heart of the Cosmos. 

Lay Ordination Saturday, June 9, 2018, 3:00 pm

This year’s Zaike Tokudo (Lay Ordination Ceremony) will take place on Saturday, June 9, at 3:00 p.m. in the zendo. Cheryl Gordon will receive lay ordination from Sojun Roshi. Rhiana Wiggins and Greg Smith will receive lay ordination from Hozan Sensei. Congratulations in advance to the ordinees, who have been studying and sewing diligently with our sewing teacher, Jean Selkirk. Everyone is encouraged to attend the ceremony and the reception afterwards. Check the zendo bulletin board for details and please sign up for assistance with preparation and cleanup.

Tenzo Kyokun Class Thursdays, May 10 - June 11, 2018, 7:15 - 8:45 pm

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.

Five-Day Sesshin: Close of Practice Period June 13 - 17, 2018

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 ( or (510)676-9756).

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.

New Year’s Eve Sitting and Celebration December 31, 2017, 8:00 pm - 1:30 am

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:

8:00 Zazen
8:35 Kinhin
8:45 Zazen
9:20 Kinhin
9:30 Zazen
10:05 Tea
10:14 108 Bells Begin
10:30 Kinhin
10:40 Zazen
11:20 Kinhin
11:35 Zazen
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.