All posts by Hozan Alan Senauke

Buddhist Global Relief Online Walk Against Hunger

BZC is again co-sponsoring Buddhist Global Relief’s Online “Walk” Against Hunger on Saturday afternoon, October 3 from 1 to 3 pm. Please sign up, donate, and join Bhikkhu Bodhi and other dedicated Buddhist activists for this life-saving event.

Buddhist Global Relief Logo

The Bay Area is coming together online this year to raise money to support Buddhist Global Relief’s work to relieve the suffering of hunger and poverty around the world.

This year, in addition to supporting BGR with a financial donation, there are two ways to participate in a Buddhist Action to Feed the Hungry:

1) Make a Mindful Movement Pledge. Make a pledge to do an activity in support of the Walk. The activity might be walking or running or cycling. It might be a formal practice like walking meditation or bowing. Whatever activity you do, you pledge to do it mindfully, and with the intention to benefit those who are suffering from hunger. You can use the social share links below to share your Mindful Movement pledge and encourage friends and family to donate. For details about how to create a Facebook fundraiser, click here.

2) Join our Buddhist Action to Feed the Hungry Online Gathering. On Saturday, October 3rd, from 1 to 3 p.m. Pacific Time, we will get together online. We’ll hear some encouraging Dharma reflections from our host temples, Berkeley Buddhist Monastery, Berkeley Buddhist Temple, and Berkeley Zen Center. We’ll share video of Mindful Movement activities taking place in Berkeley. BGR Executive Director Kim Behan will speak about the benefit of giving so that others do not have to endure hunger. And we’ll hear from Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, the founder and chair of BGR.

Your generous donation will support Buddhist Global Relief’s work to feed the hungry, to educate children in need, to support sustainable agriculture, and to empower vulnerable women.

Everyone is welcome to this joyful gathering to benefit those who are hungry. Please join us!


Berkeley Zen Video—Consent & Privacy

Since the start of the pandemic this winter, Berkeley Zen Center has moved onto a digital platform for zazen, lectures, classes, and meetings. This platform utilizes Zoom technology, which allows us to record high-quality audio and video of our public teachings.

The audio recordings are easily found on the BZC website by clicking on “Dharma” at the top of the page, then clicking on the submenu “Talks.” Recordings stored there go back to 2008. The direct link to those audio talks is:

Video recordings, as they are created and posted, can be found on our new YouTube channel: “Berkeley Zen Video”

We recognize that some members have understandable concerns about online privacy. BZC has enabled a “recording consent disclaimer” which appears on participants’ screens any time the host is recording a session. If one does not wish to be recorded, this allows an option to leave the session. The language of the disclaimer is:

By continuing to be in the meeting, you are consenting to be recorded. Please understand that question-and-answer sessions following dharma talks are also recorded, and the questioner is highlighted. If you wish to ask an anonymous question, please “chat” to the Saturday director.

In addition to the onscreen message that appears on each participant’s screen, the Saturday Director will make a brief announcement that we are recording. Please note that only the speaker or the questioner appears on screen. Questioners on the video are not identified by name.

If you have further comments and concerns about privacy or about this new project, please contact Hozan Alan Senauke at

In This Time of Crises

And I must say tonight, that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear?

—Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

In a time of pandemic, of racist violence, and social divisiveness, we call to mind Zen Master Dogen, who wrote: “We should without fail arouse bodhicitta, ferrying others before ourselves.” Bodhicitta, enlightening mind, is the expression of our commitment to the awakening of all: Freedom from sickness, from suffering, from exploitation, from fear and discrimination, from poverty and want, and, ultimately, from delusion. This is true, but first things first: Black Lives Matter. Freedom from the policeman’s knee, from the bullet, freedom from the callous brutality of a president and a government furthering White Supremacy.

One of the early teachers in the West, Dainin Katagiri Roshi, expressed Zen practice succinctly in the titles of two books. The first book was Returning to Silence—this is zazen, the dynamic stillness that is refuge for all who seek it. The second book was titled You Have to Say Something. Truly, the peace of meditation expresses itself in enlightening words and actions.

Our Zen community walks hand in hand with numberless religious communities and people of conscience. We will not accept hatred and division between the races and among ourselves. Yes, all of American history is scarred by racism and violence. For generations, some of us have actually profited from the exploitation of less-privileged communities and peoples. Our nation itself has failed to hear the anguish of African-Americans and of many others. Now, painfully, all ears must be open to suffering sisters and brothers.

The Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts, our ethical foundation, can be reduced to one essential vow: I vow not to live at the expense of other people and beings. Each of us must examine our lives, our words and actions. We must ground ourselves in equality—equal rights, equal justice, equal opportunity, equal access to resources. Materially and spiritually, we must help raise up those among us who have been downtrodden. Actually, we must support them to raise themselves. Though each person has distinct skills, capacities, and appearance, finally our lives are equally precious to ourselves and to those who love us.

Dr. King wrote, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” This is beautiful…and incomplete. We need our complete effort to bend the moral universe towards justice. We must use our minds, our hearts, our voices, and our hands to accomplish the work of peace.