Category Archives: Old News

Rohatsu Sesshin Times Open to Non-Participants

The following periods, lectures, and ceremonies during Rohatsu are open to all:

Sunday, November 29

  • 5:50am zazen
  • 10:15am lecture

Monday  – Friday, November 30  – December 4

  • 5:50am zazen
  • 10:15am lecture
  • 5:40pm zazen
  • 7:40pm Annual Suzuki Roshi Memorial Ceremony (Monday, November 30 only)

Saturday, December 5

  • 5:50am zazen
  • 8:45am zazen instruction
  • 9:30am zazen
  • 10:15am lecture, followed by Buddha’s Enlightenment Ceremony

New Year’s Eve Sitting and Celebration

Join us on Thursday 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 2015 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 pm Zazen
  • 8:35 Kinhin
  • 8:45 Zazen
  • 9:20 Kinhin
  • 9:30 Zazen
  • 10:05 Tea
  • 10:13 108 bells begin
  • 10:35 Kinhin
  • 10:45 Zazen
  • 11:20 Kinhin
  • 11:40 Zazen
  • 12:10 Slow Heart Sutra and sitting.

A celebration and potluck will follow in the community room. Watch the bulletin board for details and the sign-up sheets for providing food and help with clean up. If you have any questions, contact Sue Oehser at soehser@earthlink.net or (510) 339-0243.

Close Aspects of Practice Sitting Saturday, November 14, 5:00 am – 9:00pm

Aspects of Practice 2015 will close with sesshin on Saturday, November 14, led by Ryushin Andrea Thach. Everyone is encouraged to attend, whether signed up for Aspects or not. This will be a Saturday sesshin schedule—5:00 am to 9:00 pm. There will be the option of a lighter schedule—8:30 am to 5:40 pm—for students with significant physical limitations only. The signup will have a check box for those asking for this shorter schedule. The Aspects of Practice closing ceremony will be at 8:40pm. Questions about sesshin or the schedule should be sent to the Director, Gary Artim  (Sho Toku) gartim@gmail.com.

Rohatsu Sesshin Sunday, November 29 – Saturday, December 5

This year’s Rohatsu sesshin, led by Sojun Mel Weitsman, begins on November 29 and ends on December 5. Each day begins at 5:00 am and ends at 9:00 pm, with the exception of the final day, which ends at 5:00 pm. All are encouraged to participate for as many days as possible, but participants are asked to sit for a minimum of three consecutive full days.

The sesshin fee is $35 daily, paid in advance. (Anyone unable to pay the full amount may request a reduced fee from the sesshin director). Payment must be received by the sign-up deadline or no seat will be reserved for you. Please leave checks marked “Rohatsu” in the courtyard laundry room door slot or mail it to the BZC Office Manager at 1929 Russell St., Berkeley 94703. The sign-up sheet will be posted on the patio bulletin board by November 1 and sesshin information forms (with other important sesshin information) are on the shelf below. Please put completed forms in the sesshin director’s mail slot. The sign-up deadline is Wednesday, November 25 at 7:00 am.

We will be eating all of our meals oryoki style in the zendo. If you are unfamiliar with oryoki please request training which is offered every Saturday at 6:40 am. You may also contact oryoki instructor, Ellen Webb at elweb@sbcglobal.net to schedule an oryoki training session at a different time. If you wish to stay overnight at BZC during sesshin, please contact the shika, Tamar at bzcshika@gmail.com.

If you have questions about sesshin, please contact the sesshin director, Gerry Oliva, at (415) 290-6015 or sesshindirectorbzc@gmail.com.

Finally, as Rohatsu commemorates the enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha, everyone is invited to attend Buddha’s Enlightenment Ceremony on Saturday, December 5, at 11:10 am, after lecture. In addition, everyone is invited to the Suzuki Roshi Annual Memorial Ceremony on Monday, November 30 at 8:20 pm.

Join Us for Our Annual Party and Fundraiser Saturday, September 26, 11:15 am to 1:15 pm

The Berkeley Zen Center Development Committee invites you, your friends and your family to our annual fundraiser taking place Saturday September 26th from 11:15-1:15.  The fundraiser will have a photo booth (complete with costumes), sangha offerings ranging from a walk with Sojun to an improv and mime acting class, food, music and raffle prizes.   Raffle prizes include a $150 gift certificate to REI and a $150 gift certificate to Chez Panisse, as well as several other items.   All proceeds raised at the fundraiser will benefit our $25,000 building fund goal.

We are looking for about 8 volunteers to support us with set-up, food monitoring and clean-up. Please email me at kelseybrynne@gmail.com if you’re able to help in any of those areas

Here are a few ways you can help!

  1. Attend the party on September 26th from 11:15-1:15
  • Enjoy free food, raffle prizes, a photobooth and sangha!
  1. Support raffle ticket sales
  • Purchase raffle tickets for yourself
  • Purchase raffle tickets as a gift for your friends
  1. Volunteer to support the event
  • Look for sign-ups on the bulletin board to help set-up, take-down and run the event
  1. Make a donation and designate it to The Building Fund
  • Every bit of support helps us reach our goal!

We hope to see many of you there!

“Song of Zazen” with Hozan Alan Senauke Sunday, September 6, 5:00am - 5:30pm

Hozan Alan Senauke will lead this year’s one-day study sesshin on Sunday, September 6 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 Hakuin Zenji’s “Song of Zazen” / “Zazen Wasan.” This teaching poem by Hakuin Ekaku (1686 to 1769) in certain ways parallels Dogen Zenji’s “Fukanzazengi,” and is regularly chanted in Rinzai dojos.

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 Thursday September 3 in the donation slot in the laundry room door. For more information contact the sesshin director Gerry Oliva (sesshindirectorBZC@gmail.com). A sign-up sheet will be posted on the bulletin board in mid-August.

Women’s Sitting Sunday, September 20, 9:00am – 4:30pm

The annual BZC Women’s Sitting will be held this month on Sunday, September 20, beginning at 9:00am and ending at 4:30pm. It will include both a lecture and a discussion period led by Meghan Collins, a long time Lay Entrusted BZC practitioner. We will go at a relaxing pace with a mixture of 30 and 40 minute sitting periods, short AM and PM breaks, a silent bag lunch, and an afternoon tea break. Women of all levels of practice are encouraged to attend this special sesshin to explore our experience as female practitioners. Cost for the day is $25. (If you are unable to pay the full amount, contact the sesshin director to arrange a reduced fee.) The sign up sheet will be posted on the courtyard bulletin board in early September. For more information, please contact sesshin director, Gerry Oliva at sesshindirector bzc@gmail.com or (510) 652-7217.

Sejiki Saturday, October 31, 8:30am - 11:15am

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 31. 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 soehser@earthlink.net . 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 lauries@kushiki.org or Ryk at ryk@groetchen.com.

Family Sesshin Sunday, October 4, 9:00am – 4:00pm

All are welcome to attend BZC’s annual Family Sesshin. Join this cutting-edge event where our wonderful 2500-year-old practice meets 21st Century Bay Area family life! We need non-parents and ex-children for ballast, so please consider sharing and supporting this special day. The day will include zazen, service, a mindful walk, work period, art projects, stories, and fun activities for all ages. Sign up on the zendo bulletin board. Questions? E-mail Marie Hopper (marie_hopper@sbcglobal.net) or Laurie Senauke (lauries@kushiki.org).

Jizo Ceremony for Children Who Have Died Saturday, October 3, 1:00pm - 2:30pm

The loss of a loved one often opens a well of profound grief. No matter how the loved one dies suddenly or slowly, whether through illness, accident, miscarriage, abortion or suicide, our sorrow is deep and may be long-lasting. To help families and friends in their process of grief, we will honor our lost loved ones by participating in a ceremony in our Jizo garden. Jizo, the Earth Store Bodhisattva, is viewed as a guide and protector for those who are enduring the loss of loved one, particularly a child lost in miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion or in early life. Jizo’s vow is to remain in the world until all beings are free from suffering, and he accompanies children when they pass out of this world.

Before the ceremony we will spend time making a personal memorial for a lost one, by writing a message, making a simple necklace or other offering. Attendees are also invited to bring a picture of their loved one or other personal token of remembrance for our altar.

The ceremony will be led by two BZC priests, Gerry Oliva and Judy Fleischman. All BZC members and neighborhood residents are invited to attend. A sign-up sheet will be posted on the courtyard bulletin board. There is no fee but offerings of dana are welcome. For more information or to sign up by phone contact Gerry Oliva at gryoliva@gmail.com or call (510) 652-7217.