Category Archives: Old News

February Study Sesshin February 13, 2016, 5:00 am - 9:00 pm and February 14, 2016, 5:00 am - 3:00 pm

Hozan Alan Senauke will lead us to a deeper understanding of our practice through a two-day sesshin where the Dharma subject will be forthcoming (please check the bulletin board for details). On Saturday, February 13th we will sit from 5am to 9 pm with a lecture in the morning and a study period in the afternoon. On Sunday, February 14th we will sit from 5 am until 3 pm and have two study periods. We encourage old and new sangha members to participate. Please sign up on the patio bulletin board by Wednesday morning, February 10 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 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 to the BZC Office Manager at 1931 Russell St., Berkeley 94703. If you have any questions, contact the sesshin director, Ken Powelson at or (510) 326-3752.

Beginners’ Sesshin Sunday, January 31, 2016, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm


On Sunday, January 31st, BZC will offer our annual Beginners’ sitting from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm. BZC priests Gerry Oliva and Judy Fleischman will offer instruction in the basic forms of our practice—zazen, kinhin, service—while maintaining our ground in meditation throughout the day. There will be a lecture on zazen and plenty of time for discussion. This is a good opportunity to ask questions about our practice.

Participants should bring a bag lunch, which we will eat informally in silence at midday. Newer people are particularly encouraged to take part, but we welcome longtime students who can enjoy a day of sitting and model the richness of our practice. The cost will be $15 for the day. Please see the zendo bulletin board for a sign-up sheet and further information. Contact Gerry Oliva at or (510) 652-7217 with any questions.

First Sesshin of 2016 Saturday, January 16, 2016, 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 2016, led by Sojun Mel Weitsman, will take place on Saturday, January 16, from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm. 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 for the sesshin sign-up sheet, the sesshin information forms and further information.

The sesshin fee is $35 (a discounted fee is possible; please speak to the director). Place checks marked “January 16th sesshin” in the slot in the laundry room door or mail to BZC Office Manager at 1931 Russell St., Berkeley 94703.

The deadline for signing up and payment is Wednesday morning, January 13 after zazen. If you have questions, call the sesshin director, Gary Artim, at (510) 676-9756 or email at

Buddhist Perspectives on the Climate Emergency Thursday Evenings in February with Hozan Alan Senauke

The earliest story of Buddha’s awakening has him calling on the Earth itself to serve as his witness. Today, as temperatures rise, drought rages, and coastal areas flood, we need more than ever to be witness the planet we live upon. The emerging climate crisis touches everyone.

On Thursday evenings in February, Hozan Alan Senauki will lead a class and discussion about Buddhist perspectives on climate change, drawing from traditional Buddhist texts, analysis by Bhikkhu Bodhi, and the ground breaking reflections of Pope Francis’s recent encyclical Laudato Si.

Class session will be on February 4, 11, 18, and 25 from 7:15 pm to 8:45 pm in the community room.  The class charge is $40/series. No one is turned away for lack of funds. Materials will be available in advance of the class.

Sojun’s Winter Koan Class

Sojun will present a koan class series in January and March. Taking off from our recent Aspects practice period, he’ll select cases from our Chinese Ch’an ancestors and the three main koan collections: the Blue Cliff Record, Book of Serenity, and Mumonkan (Gateless Gate). Across these collections he’ll focus on multiple koans all relating to a particular teacher, and cover a limited number of teachers in this fashion as time permits. So not only do we get to take on the meaning of the case, but we’ll also get a feel for the character and style of the teacher its centered on.
The series will cover six Monday evening dates from over the two months. All classes begin at 7:15 pm and end at 8:45 pm.  These will be the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Mondays of the month. 1/11, 1/18, 1/25, 3/14, 3/21, 3/28. This is the first time he has taught a Monday evening class. The sign up will be posted on the patio board after Rohatsu or you send an email to Ron at Cost is $60/series, but if you want to attend for just one month @ $30, that’s okay. This will not be a drop in class and as always discounts are available by talking to Ron.

Special Announcement: Rohatsu Sesshin Information Sunday, 29 November - Saturday, 5 December

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.

Times open to non-sesshin participants are:
  • Sunday
    • 10:15 am  Lecture
  • Monday – Friday
    • 5:50 am zazen
    • 10:15 am lecture
    • 5:40 pm zazen
  • Saturday
    • 5:50am zazen
    • 8:45am zazen instruction
    • 9:30am zazen
    • 10:15 am lecture

Everyone is also invited to attend these ceremonies:

  • Monday, November 30: Suzuki Roshi Annual Memorial at 7:40 pm (not 8:20 pm)
  • Saturday, December 5: Buddha’s Enlightenment Ceremony immediately after lecture
Please note that the following activities will not occur this week:
  •  Wednesday night drop-in group will not meet on December 2.
  • Family practice will not occur on December 5.

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 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)