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).
Please join us for a potluck dinner on Tuesday, September 13, beginning at 6:30 in the community room. A sign-up sheet is posted on the patio bulletin board for bringing food and drinks and helping with cleanup. After dinner the Board will nominate three candidates for this fall’s election. In recruiting candidates, the Board Nomination and Election Committee has identified skills that support the sangha’s interests, including but not limited to: oral and written communication, organization, information technology, money management, fundraising, engineering, building maintenance, and nonprofit law. Board members are expected to attend monthly meetings and an all-day retreat on a Sunday in February and to serve on at least one working Board committee: finance, buildings, development, electronic communication, nominations/elections. As in the past, all BZC members are welcome to nominate fellow members for this position, but please contact them first concerning their willingness to be nominated. We hope to see you at the dinner and meeting.
Hozan Alan Senauke will lead this year’s one-day study sesshin on Sunday, September 4, from 5:00 am to 5:30 pm. As the summer winds down, this day will provide a quiet and reflective respite. It will include zazen, oryoki meals for breakfast and lunch, soji, and two study and discussion sessions. Our study will be a selection from Dogen Zenji’s Eihei Koroku, drawn and collected from Dogen’s extensive later teaching. These are recorded talks and pithy commentary, part poetry, part performance, offered from the teaching seat in the Dharma Hall, similar in style to those of Chinese masters in the Tang and Sung dynasties.
Materials will be available on the bulletin board shelf in advance of the sesshin. The fee is $35, and should be paid in advance. Please leave payment marked “Study Sesshin” by Wednesday, August 31, in the donation slot. For more information, contact sesshin director Carol Paul: email@example.com or (510) 206-5051. A sign-up sheet is posted on the bulletin board.
It is that time of year again. We are offering our fundraiser party at 607 Branciforte St., Vallejo.
Great jazz, food, drink, door prizes, silent auction and a grand raffle of dinner for two at Greens.
(Need not be present to win the raffle.)
Raffle/doorprize chances are $5 per chance or $20 for five chances.
Admission for adults is $15 per person. Kids under 12 free.
You can purchase tickets from Ko Blix or Steve Treagus at BZC.