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BZC Position Holders

Many helping hands keep a Sangha vibrant and running, and this is how BZC continues to manage the many tasks and functions at our temple.
In deep appreciation we express our gratitude to those who have filled the positions below over the past one or two years. And we welcome those who will now fill these positions.

Note: A complete list of all positions is posted on the patio bulletin board.

Who Does What 2024
Abbot’s Assistant Jonathan Koltz January 2022
Abbot’s office cleaner Debra Callahan November 2022
Art Coordinator Debra Callahan September 2023
Audio and Video Archivists Blake Tolbert and Kabir Nabi November 2020
Bag Lunch Project Susan Marvin, Laurie Senauke June 2020
Bathroom Attendant Marley Alexander February 2024
Book Store (Assistant) Judy Bertelsen March 2014
Book Store (Head) William Gordon May 2010
Bulletin Boards Preston Evers September 2023
Chandler (Candle Maker) Mark Copithorne June 2017
Class Coordinator Ryushin Andrea Thach February 2022
Co-Sangha Support Coordinators Liz Weitsman & Laurie Senauke January 2014 & January 2013
Co-Zendo Managers Preston Evers & Gerry Oliva Preston (9/1/2023) & Gerry (1/1/24)
Community Room Cleaned during Saturday work period
Coordinator Carol Paul January 2022
Dishwasher (Head) n/a at this time September 2018
Doanryo Trainers Ross, Susan
Dokusan Hut Hax Baker February 2024
Family Practice Laurie Senauke
Friday Tea Host Judy Fleischman March 2024
Google Admin Dan Harden 9/1/2020
Half-Day Sitting Leader Gary Artim January 2024
Head Chiden Nancy Suib August 2022
Head Gardener Mira McQueen September 2018
Head Server Ellen Webb June 2021
Health & Safety Coordinator Pauline Kerschen January 2024
Ino Ross Blum February 2023
Head Jikido Rich Freitas March 2024
Kitchen Cleanliness Keeper Zachary Sherman March 2024
Laundry Ross Blum January 2018
Lecture, Student Talk Scheduler Ross Blum January 2022
Librarian Nick Robinson February 2022
Memorial Garden Altars Marian Yu August 2022
Newsletter Distribution Gen Fujioka May 2023
Newsletter Editor Ken Knabb July 2016
Noon Zazen Monitors Erna, James K, Preston May 2022
Office Manager Helen Cheng November 2020
Oryoki Instructor Sue Oehser September 2017
Oryoki Manager (provides supplies) Ellen Webb October 2019
Project Manager Greg Denny/ Mary Duryee January 2022
R&M Point Person Ross Blum Spring 1991
Recording Secretary (Board) Simone Brumis January 2024
Resident Head Brianna McGuire February 2024
Saturday Directors Joe Buckner & Margaux Winter Joe (Jan 2023) & Margaux (Jan 2024)
Sesshin in-person Mark Copithorne & Colleen Busch January 2024
Sewing Teacher Jean Selkirk Sometime in 2002
Shika (overnight guests) Helen Cheng March 2024
Social Media Administrator Jonathan Koltz October 2020
Sunday Sesshin Manager Helen Cheng January 2024
Supplies Shopper Tom Painter March 2024
Tantos Laurie Senauke, Susan Marvin February 2023
Tech Manager Gensan Kristopher Thomson September 2023
Tenzos Susan Marvin, Marie Hopper Susan (Jan 2019) & Marie (Jan 2024)
Web Administrator Dan Harden August 2020
Web Content Editor Jim Erb September 2022
Website Manager Laurie Senauke March 2020
Wednesday Night Group Gerry Oliva March 2009
Women’s Sesshin M Hopper, N Suib, M Duryee October 2018
Work Leader – Saturday Yoni Ackerman September 2023
Work Leader – Sesshin Genpo Senauke September 2023
Young EB Zen Joe Buckner, Yoni Ackerman February 2021
Zazen Instructors Coordinator Sue Oehser February 2024
Zendo & Online Tech Support Coordinator Yoni Ackerman October 2020

Founders’ Scroll 

The scroll hanging in the BZC zendo during Rohatsu was created by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. It is carefully stored in the Founders’ Altar and is used in the Founders’ Ceremony each month.

Suzuki Roshi calligraphed the names of the three Zen founders: Shakyamuni Buddha (in the middle), Bodhidharma (on the right), and Dogen Zenji (on the left). It is believed that he created these scrolls for the Zen satellite sitting groups associated with San Francisco Zen Center in the late 1960s—Kannon Do Zen Center in Mountain View, Genjo-ji Zen Center in Sonoma, and Berkeley Zen Center. Ross Blum adds his memory of the scroll: “When I arrived here in 1987, the scroll was in a paper box loosely rolling around inside. On my request, Belinda Sweet, who gifted many other scrolls to BZC, special-ordered a fitted box from Japan for this scroll. When this beautiful box arrived, she demonstrated the traditional way of wrapping the ribbon around the scroll, making a butterfly knot to securely place it inside the box.”

Here are two quotes from Zen Mind.  Beginner’s Mind that express the spirit of Zen calligraphy:

“Not trying to make something skillful or beautiful, but simply writing with full attention, as if you were discovering what you were writing for the first time; then your full nature will be in your writing. This is the way of practice, moment after moment.”

“When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.”

—Debra Callahan

MLK Day Neighborhood Engagement  

On Monday, January 15, BZC will commemorate the Martin Luther King, Jr holiday with an 8:30‒11:30 morning of zazen, reflection, and neighborhood service. The day’s program is still under development, but our tentative schedule is:

•8:30‒ 9:00 am — Zazen

• 9:00‒10:00 — Reading the words of Dr. King and discussion based on his teachings and those of other teachers of equity and liberation.  ]

• 10:00 — National Karma Repentance Ceremony, based on the Bodhisattva Ceremony. There will be an option to include personal repentance.

• 10:30 — Participants gather for neighborhood work: cleaning up the traffic barrier area on Milvia, and making bag lunches for our unhoused neighbors.

• 11:15 — Reconvene at BZC for a closing circle.

Lay Ordination Sewing for 2024

Sewing your rakusu in preparation for LayOrdination and receiving the precepts is an opportunity to deepen your practice and your relationship with the sangha. Each year, sewing-class students engage in the practice of sewing and studying the precepts together in order to prepare themselves to receive a rakusu/robe and a dharma name from their teacher. The sangha celebrates and supports these new bodhisattvas, affirming their aspiration for continuous practice.

Sewing classes start in the new year.Classes are open to those who have asked their teacher for permission to participate. If you are interested in participating this year, as soon as possible please speak with Abbot Hozan (in dokusan, by phone, or via Zoom) or one of BZC’s brown-robe teachers or green-rakusu teachers. After you have spoken with your teacher, contact the sewing teacher, Jean Selkirk (

Lay Ordination

On Saturday, November 18, five members of the BZC sangha received Lay Ordination(Zaike Tokudo) from Abbot Hozan and Ryushin Andrea Thach. This ceremony takes place once a year at BZC. For those participating, itis a joyous culmination of many months of sewing and precept study. For those attending, it is an opportunity to reaffirm our vows. We welcome these friends into the lineage ofS hakyamuni Buddha and Suzuki Roshi’sf amily. Great thanks to Sewing Teacher JeanSelkirk, along with Kabir Nabi; to Laurie Senauke for directing the ceremony; to YoniAckerman for baking cookies; and to many other sangha members who helped to make this ceremony happen.

Hozan’s ordinees:
Jamie Kimmel—Shinkai Monsei (Deep Ocean, Hear the Essence)
Jim Erb—Hoshin Jogen (Dharma Heart, Manifest Source)

Ryushin’s ordinees:
Pauline Kerschen—Fuba Jien (Wind Horse,Self Circle)
Greg Hertz—Waki Ekan (Harmonizing Vessel,Ceremony Mirror)
Evan Vreeland—Chikuin Ryumon (BambooSeal, Dragon Gate)

Buddha’s Parinirvana Ceremony

According to the Mahaparinibbana Sutta of thePali canon, at the age of 80 the Buddha announced that he would soon reachPage 3 January‒February 2024 BZC Newsletter Parinirvana, or the final deathless state, and abandon his earthly body. After this, he ate his last meal, fell ill, and died.

Each year we celebrate Buddha’s transition with a ceremony where we all can make offerings and chant in honor of this occasion.This year the ceremony will take placeSaturday, February 17, at 5:00 p.m., as the closing of our sesshin on that day.

Sojun Mel Weitsman Book: Seeing One Thing Through

Our late teacher Sojun was a deep and warm presence for many of us over the years, until his death in early 2021 at the age of 91. Over
the last year of his life, Sojun Roshi worked with several of his  students to put together a long-promised book for Counterpoint Press. This book—Seeing One Thing Through: The Zen Life and Teachings of Sojun Mel Weitsman, with a foreword by Norman Fischerand an introduction by me—is now available. It has a unique structure. The first third of the book is a series of vivid memories and sketches of Sojun’s life, from his childhood to his life as an artist in the 1950s San Francisco scene; from his early years with Suzuki Roshi at SFZC to finding his way at Berkeley Zen
Center. The remainder of the book, two hundred more pages, contains a well-edited selection from a lifetime of practice and
dharma talks, touching on many aspects of our
everyday Zen practice. Seeing One Thing Through is available
from Counterpoint, from your local bookstore, and from all the usual online vendors. To quote Publishers Weekly: “This treasure trove of
wisdom is a welcome addition to the American Zen canon.”


During Aspects of Practice (October 14 through November 11), the BZC sangha is studying Genjokoan. A scroll called “Zen Fan” by the calligrapher Kasumi Bunsho has been selected to hang next to the altar. The choice of “Zen Fan” was inspired by these words in Genjokoan:

      Zen Master Baoche of Mt. Magu was fanning himself. A monk approached him and asked, “The nature of wind is ever present and permeates everywhere. Why are you waving a fan?”
      The master said, “You know only that the wind’s nature is ever present—you don’t know that it permeates everywhere.”
      The monk said, “How does the wind permeate everywhere?”
      The master just continued waving the fan.
      The monk bowed deeply.

      Kasumi Bunsho, a Zen priest, is recognized for his extensive calligraphy. Many feel that his calligraphy expresses an energetic exuberance, reflective of his practice. He was a direct pupil of Nakahara Nantembo (1839‒1925) and Deiryu Kutsu (1895‒1954), both devoted Zen monks and highly recognized calligraphers.
      Kasumi was born in Gifu Prefecture, in the region of Honshu in central Japan, on December 25, 1905, and died at the age of 92 on October 17, 1998. Like his teachers, Kasumi loved to paint monks begging (takuhatsu), which he believed was an important monastic practice of humility and gratitude. In 1943 he became the Abbot of Kaisei-ji Zen monastery, and in 1990 the 642nd Abbot of Myoshin-ji, one of Kyoto’s oldest major Zen temples.
      Deiryu Kutso influenced Kasumi as they shared a similar approach to painting Zen circles (enso). Deiryu and Kasumi frequently brushed images in the center of their ensos as well as brushing their ensos with a distinctive and unusual gray ink. One can see the presence of gray ink in “Zen Fan.” Kasumi Bunsho signed the handle of “Zen Fan” with his pen name, Kaisei Dainin. The calligraphy on “Zen Fan” is translated here:

When you use
it skillfully
spring comes again;
for a fan to work
you need to rely on others

Bag Lunch Project

The Bag Lunch Project has made and delivered about 500 lunches over the past year to the Women’s Daytime Drop-In Center at 2218 Acton Street in Berkeley. Additionally, thanks to the generosity of many at BZC, we have collected and/or purchased personal care items in our drives for the women and children whom the center serves. Twenty lunches twice monthly does not really put a dent in the call to end hunger and homelessness; still, this small effort does make a difference in the lives of those families being helped. We are told repeatedly how much the women enjoy our lunches and how grateful they are for our efforts.
WDDC’s mission is to help empower homeless women and children for a brighter future. To that end, they offer drop-in services including to-go meals, groceries, and hygiene products Monday through Friday 9am‒2pm through their service window.
WDDC offers housing resource services to unhoused participants over the phone as well; they are also the North County Housing Resource Center (serving Berkeley, Albany, and Emeryville families).
If you would like to support this project at BZC, please send a check to BZC or use the Generosity button on the website. Please be sure to note that your contribution is for The Bag Lunch Project (or, alternatively, contact office manager Helen at to let her know).
If you would like to help shop, make sandwiches, put together bags, or drop off lunches at the center, please contact Susan Marvin. Each task takes about an hour, and we would be most happy to have you join us.

Preston, Mira, Gary, Luminous Heart,
Emily, Tom, Bob, Laurie, and Susan