All posts by Daniel Ohara

Sangha Work Day June 5

Please save the date and join us for our all-sangha work day on Sunday, June 5! The day will open with coffee and pastries at 8:00 a.m., then zazen from 8:15 to 8:40, work circle at 8:45, with work starting at 9:00. Lunch will be provided by our tenzos from noon until work circle at 12:45 p.m., and we’ll wind up with informal zazen 3:45‒4:00.  Greg Denny will be the Work Leader for the day.

Come and join the festivities of caring for our temple property. Whether you are here for part or the entire work day, all who enter through our gates reap the benefits of our efforts!

Five-Day Sesshin June 8-12

Abbot Hozan will lead our five-day sesshin on Wednesday through Sunday, June 8‒12. It will be in a hybrid (Zoom and/or in-person) format; details are still being worked out, sign up link will be posted soon.

When paying for sesshin, please indicate on your check or in the PayPal note field that your donation is for the “June five-day sesshin.” The suggested donation is $15 per day, or whatever you can afford. Mail a check to BZC Office Manager, 1931 Russell St., Berkeley, CA 94703, or pay through the website using the “Sits/Classes” tab on the “Donate” page. Please consider a donation to Berkeley Zen Center above the suggested fee to help us maintain our practice.

If you have any questions, please contact the sesshin director, Blake Tolbert, at blake.tolbert@berkeleyzencenter.org

Buddha’s Birthday Celebration – Saturday, April 9

Buddhists throughout the world celebrate Buddha’s Birthday. We follow the Japanese tradition of symbolically bathing the baby Buddha, represented by a small statue ensconced in a flower-covered bower. This year’s ceremony will be in the courtyard on Saturday, April 9, following a short talk by Abbot Hozan. Due to the uncertain path of Covid we cannot at this point predict the kind of participation this year’s ceremony will offer, whether on Zoom or in person. Watch for announcements in early April.
If you would like to help decorate the bower at 7:45 a.m. on April 9, please email Hannah Meara (hmeara@gmail.com). School-age children are welcome to participate. The seven people who sign up first will be asked to take part in person. All children and adults must be fully vaccinated and wear masks.

Sangha Meeting and Budget Approval

All BZC members and friends are warmly invited to bring a cup of tea to the online zendo and join this meeting on Sunday, March 20, 7:00 p.m. We will hear committee reports, review the 2021 financial report, discuss the Board-recommended 2022 budget, and consider our 2022 fundraising goals. The budget is our treasurer’s best effort to project the financial goals and realities for BZC’s current year. After discussion, the budget will be submitted for approval by those in attendance. We look forward to seeing you!

Spring Practice Period May 7 – June 12

Our annual spring practice period will begin with a one-day sitting on Saturday, May 7, and continue through a five-day sesshin and Shuso Ceremony on Sunday, June 12. Whether you are sitting in the zendo or at home, Abbot Hozan invites each of us to increase our commitment to practice for these six weeks, while tending to our work, family, and other obligations.

Before the pandemic, Sojun Roshi invited Enzan Chotoku Gary Artim (Round Mountain/ Clear Genuine) to be shuso or head student. After a two-year postponement, Hozan has renewed this invitation for Gary to serve as shuso.

In the Soto tradition, a new abbot’s first practice period with a shuso is a kind of confirmation of his or her position. With our spring practice period Hozan takes this step.

There will be a Thursday night class with Hozan (subject to be announced).

Due to our Covid protocols, in-person attendance will be limited, and the usual schedule of events may be revised. For a detailed practice period calendar and appli­ca­tion form, please check the BZC website after April 15.

BZC and Climate Change

Our relationships to our changing climate are complex. There are many folks at BZC who are thinking about, affected by, or acting on climate change through their work or in their free time. Some of us met a few weeks ago at a climate-themed Zoom meeting in January; others have undoubtedly been in conversation for years.
This short regular column will be a place to uplift these climate conversations, programs, and actions, so that members of BZC can find new ways to engage with climate change. This month, we’d like to focus on the topic of eco-grief.
Eco-grief is a psychological response to environmental degradation or climate change. Another commonly used term is climate anxiety, or “solastalgia”—a sense that your home is changing for the worse, or disappear­ing, as you live in it. These topics have been in the news lately, notably in the New York Times article “Climate Change Enters the Ther­apy Room” and the New Yorker article “Mapping Climate Grief One Pixel at a Time.”
The first step in coping with eco-grief is to speak with others—to share with them the very real sadness you are experiencing. That’s why we’d like to introduce an upcoming program (dates TBD)—possibly a class, group, or workshop—dedicated to processing and coping with eco-grief, led by BZC member Judy Smith and others. Please keep an eye out for more information!
One of the best ways to make creative use of eco-grief is by taking collective action on local climate change issues. Our next column will focus on how to get involved in the Bay Area climate advocacy landscape. We are developing a Getting Started in Climate Advocacy workshop to take place some time in the coming months.
If there is a climate topic, memory, or meditation that you would like to share or see in this column, please reach out to bmcguire442@gmail.com.

BZC and Climate Change

In this issue and the next, our column will briefly summarize the IPCC Working Group III Sixth Assessment Report, which you may have heard about in the news.

That’s a mouthful! First, let’s demystify the terminology:

  • The IPCC is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN body responsible for providing governments with scientific information to make climate policy. The IPCC issues Assessment Reports every 5 to 7 years, and just released their Sixth Assessment Report.
  • Each Assessment Report has three working groups, which release their own sections of the overall report. Working Group III handles mitigation (what we can do to stop climate change), and released their report on April 4, 2022.

That report shows that our current mitigation policies will lead to a world that is over 3 degrees warmer than preindustrial average. This blows past a goal of 1.5 or 2 degrees of warming. We must reduce our emissions by 50% by 2030 to have a chance of staying well under 2 degrees, which is critical to human and ecosystem health. The good news is that we have the technology to do this! The time for action is now.

The report identifies a chief obstacle to action: a lack of political will made worse by corporations and lobbyists who act as impediments to real climate action. The biggest collective solutions we should be organizing toward are state and federal policies that:

  • rapidly deploy wind and solar technologies,
  • electrify transit,
  • electrify buildings, and
  • end fossil fuel subsidies and stop the extraction of fossil fuels.

The report highlights that the global richest 10% generate disproportionately more carbon emission than others, between 36 and 45% of all carbon emissions. (If you make over $35,000/year or have assets worth more than $12,000, you are a member of the richest 10%!) The report highlights actions the global rich should Avoid, Shift, and Improve:

  • Avoid taking long-haul flights or regularly using a car;
  • Shift to more public transit and fewer animal products; and
  • Improve by using electrified heating, appliances, and cars.

Avoiding, shifting, and improving your habits in these ways, and then sharing this with your friends and neighbors is a great way to tie individual and collective action together.

Many thanks for reading, and for your continued commitment to saving all beings.

—Brianna McGuire (BZC resident)

 

Nominations for the BZC Board

Every year the sangha elects three of six members-at-large to two-year terms to the BZC Board. Board members may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms. Elections take place in October and the new term starts in January 2023. The Board will present its three nominees at the All-Sangha Potluck on Sunday evening, September 18. Other nominations can be made by sangha members at that meeting.

Some of the various skills the board seeks in nominees (not all in one person) are: oral and written communication, organization, information technology, money management, fundraising, engineering, building mainte­nance, and nonprofit law. Nominees should be members of BZC. Board members attend about ten Sunday morning meetings a year plus one all-day retreat in the first part of the year, and serve on at least one working Board commit­tee: Finance; Buildings & Grounds; Develo­p­ment; Electronic Communication & Social Media; Archive; and Elections & Nominations.

If you are interested in serving on the Board, or know someone whom you would like to nominate, please contact the Board Recruitment and Elections Committee: Ed Herzog (edherzog@comcast.net), Carol Paul (carolpaul@yahoo.com), and Ellen Webb (elweb@sbcglobal.net). Please include any relevant information about why you think the person would be a good BZC Board member.