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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 SesshinDirectorBZC@gmail.com.
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 SesshinDirectorBZC@gmail.com.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com or (510) 525-2135.
Sejiki is a popular Buddhist festival that highlights the connection between our world and the worlds of spirits. At BZC, we offer it as a sort of Buddhist Halloween. The ceremony is a mixture of spooky and solemn—there will be costumes and noisemakers, but we will also recite the names of departed friends and family and make offerings to appease our own hungry ghosts. This year’s Sejiki ceremony will be held on Saturday, October 29. To allow preparation time for the ceremony, we will not be having early morning zazen or breakfast. Instead, we will begin with a work period at 8:30 am to prepare our temple for the ceremony. The formal program will start with zazen at 9:40, followed by a short lecture and the ceremony at 10:15. We will also be offering a special children’s program beginning with a kids’ activity at 9:30 am at 1933 Russell. Everyone is encouraged to come in costume and bring noisemakers for the ceremony. For more information about the program, please contact Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also give Sue names of departed ones to be recited during the ceremony if you will not be able to attend. If you are planning to attend the 9:30 kids’ activity, please RSVP to Laurie at email@example.com or Ryk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We invite you to join the 2016 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 always includes the wider BZC community who wish to refresh themselves and make a sustainable commitment to practice.
This year we will return to the perennial classic, Suzuki Roshi’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. Practice leaders will lecture on Saturdays, lead Monday morning discussions, and offer a four-week class. 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.
We will begin with a daylong sitting on Sunday, October 23 (led by Hozan), and end with a daylong sitting on Saturday, November 19 (led by Denkei Raul Moncayo). The Thursday evening class will be open to everyone as usual. Your interest, support, and encouragement can be of help to the whole sangha. For further details about Aspects of Practice, please look carefully at the zendo events bulletin board.
Sojun will teach a two-session koan class Monday, October 10, and Monday, October 17, 7:15-8:45 pm in the community room. Sojun’s travel plans, and our other classes close to this time, limit the number of evenings available. The titles of the two koans he chooses are yet to be announced. Fee for the class is $20. A sign-up sheet will be posted on the patio bulletin board closer to the date. All are welcome.
It’s once again time for members of Berkeley Zen Center to cast their votes for members-at-large of the BZC Board of Directors, the Board’s executive officers, and the three salaried positions at BZC: abbot, vice abbot, and office manager. Following a successful launch in 2015, the Board has decided to conduct the 2016 voting electronically.
BZC eVoting relies on a tokenized, anonymous web survey link emailed to each eligible member. “Tokenized” means that the link is unique and issued just to one member (by email address). Once the token is used by a member to submit a ballot, the token expires and is no longer usable. The token is encrypted, and the results are completely anonymous. We can verify whether a particular member has voted but not how he or she has voted.
The voting will be exclusively electronic this year. There will be no paper alternative to the electronic ballot. This means that eligible members will need an email address and access to the Internet to cast their ballots. This being the case, the month of September would be a very good time for you to check in with the office manager and update your email address if necessary.
Links to the poll will be emailed at 12:01 am PDT on October 1, 2016. If you haven’t received yours that morning, please contact the office manager to request a new ballot. Once you get your email ballot, click the link it contains, and then just follow the instructions on the screen.
Thanks for your support of this year’s electronic voting process. If you have specific technical questions about eVoting, please direct them to BZC’s webmaster, Troy DuFrene (email@example.com). General questions about voting eligibility or other aspects of the election should be directed to the office manager (firstname.lastname@example.org).