All posts by James Erb

Board Members Confirmed

As of this writing, the votes are more than 90% in and we are able to confirm three new Board members for the 2023‒2024 term: Fulani Offutt, Heather Sarantis, and Rob Walker. Welcome!

We express deep gratitude for the service of the three members-at-large who are transitioning off the board after two terms of service: Sue Oehser, Linda Hess, and Dean Bradley. They
have served us with steadfastness, reliability, and skill. Nine bows to all three. We are grateful for the continuing services of Laurie Senauke as Treasurer, Hozan as Abbot, Helen Cheng as Office Manager, and Joe Buckner as Archival Assistant.
Bows and  gratitude for all.

New Year’s Eve at BZC

Y’all come to BZC’s annual contemplative New Year’s Eve celebration!
We will meet via Zoom from 8:00 p.m. until midnight for zazen and kinhin. From 10:05 until 10:30 we will have tea together, seeing each other on our screens. When kinhin resumes at 10:30 the first of 108 bells on the densho, will begin, accompanied by reading the names of those who died this year. Just after midnight we will chant the Heart Sutra, followed by a statement from Abbot Hozan.  All can then unmute, to share New Year’s greetings.

Lay Ordination

On Saturday, October 15, nine members of the BZC sangha received Lay Ordination (Zaike Tokudo) from Abbot Hozan, Peter Overton, Gerry Oliva, and Ryushin Andrea Thach. This ceremony takes place once a year at BZC and is a significant rite of passage for each
participant and for the whole sangha. We have the feeling that we are all together witnessing and participating as the ordinees receive
Buddha’s precepts. We welcome these friends into the lineage of Shakyamuni Buddha and Suzuki Roshi’s family. Great thanks to Sewing Teacher Jean Selkirk, along with Hannah Meara and Kabir Nabi. Laurie Senauke did a wonderful job working out the many details for this ceremony.

Hozan’s ordinees:

Helen Cheng—Jinkai Tatsugen/Renhai Dayuan
(Ocean of Compassion/Reach the Source)
Heather Sarantis—Kokai Seigō (Vast Ocean/Manifest Awakening)
Yoni Ackerman—Wakai Shōnin (Peaceful Ocean/Luminous Person)
Joe Buckner—Genkai Shinyū (Subtle or Dark Ocean/True Courage)

Peter Overton’s ordinee:
Diane Ritchey—Myōgetsu Jinsei (SubtleMoon/Compassionate Essence)

Ryushin Andrea Thach’s ordinees:

Nick Robinson—Ro-un Meishi (Buoyancy Cloud/Illuminate Stillness)
Nathan Britton—Tokushu Egen (Virtuous Shelter/Wisdom Manifest)

Gerry Oliva’s ordinees:

Phillip Sherard—Yakusan Yūshin (Medicine Mountain/Brave Heart)
Ten Bartholomew—Kyokin Shōdō (Great Diligence/Illuminating the Way)

Noontime Zazen Monitor/Doan Needed

BZC’s noontime zazen periods (12:00‒12:30 p.m.) provide a peaceful and restorative break during weekdays. We would like to offer such periods on all five weekdays. (We currently offer it Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.) We are looking for someone who can be the monitor and doan on Mondays (the Friday slot has been filled). This includes opening the zendo, checking vax status and proper mask, and serving as a doan (ringing the bells and acting as timekeeper). Training will be offered if you are unfamiliar with the tasks.

Interested people please contact Carol Paul ( or 510-206-5051).

Thank you for supporting our practice.

Suzuki Roshi Memorial and Buddha’s Enlightenment Ceremony

During Rohatsu sesshin we will commemorate two significant ceremonies—Shunryu Suzuki Roshi’s memorial (his passing was on December 4, 1971) and Buddha’s Enlightenment. Suzuki Roshi’s memorial ceremony is an opportunity for sangha members to remember and appreciate our root teacher. Our ceremony this year will on Monday, December 5, at 3:30 p.m., the first day of our seven day Rohatsu sesshin.

Our Buddha’s Enlightenment ceremony will be on Saturday, December 10, right after the lecture. It is a time to celebrate and express gratitude for our practice passed down through Shakyamuni Buddha. Both ceremonies will take place in the zendo for Rohatsu participants and can also be attended through BZC’s Zoom link. All are welcome to join and participate.