Our annual spring practice period will take place online this year, beginning with a one-day sitting on Saturday, May 8, and continuing through a three-day sesshin on June 18 to 20. The schedule will include a Thursday evening class, Small Group Teas with the Abbot, a mid-practice period Skits and Music Night, and more.
Even though we are not yet able to sit together again in the Russell Street zendo, Hozan Sensei encourages everyone to increase their commitment to practice during this period, while tending to their work, family, and other obligations. We hope to do another practice period in person this coming fall, with a shuso (head student) as an example of practice.
There are some requirements for participation in the practice period; these are detailed on the registration form.
Bookshop.org is a prosocial company that sells books online and gives a cut of all earnings to independent bookstores and affiliate organizations. They launched recently and are offering themselves as an alternative to Amazon. They work with independent bookstores and publishers as a more equitable and less exploitative partner.
Bookshop.org enables affiliate organizations like ours to create an online storefront on their website, and receive a percentage of all sales. BZC’s Bookshop has been set up by us to include books Zen students will be interested in, including books by BZC’s own authors. We’re open to suggestions and will continue to add books over time. Here’s the link to our Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/shop/berkeleyzencenter
You can also find the Bookshop link on the Recommended Reading page, under the main menu item Practice.
Thanks to Ben Clausen and Hozan Alan for the legwork on this!
Berkeley Zen Center is now offering zazen instruction online every Saturday morning 8:40 to 9:20 am. Note that the instruction will NOT be held in the online zendo, but in its own separate online zoom room:
We had two drop-offs of twenty bag lunches each during February to the Women’s Drop-In Center on Acton Street in Berkeley. The center has stopped inviting homeless folks inside as a result of the pandemic; food, supplies, and information are given through a window. As a result, they are very grateful for our contributions to what they are able to offer right now.
We stopped offering bag lunches in the downtown corridor in Berkeley when the lockdown was announced. We plan to revisit starting up again in March if all goes well.
Our drive to collect and offer scarves, hats, mittens, and gift cards is on hold too. Right now we are researching two other ideas—first, the possibility of supporting Dorothy Day House in some way. They serve 200 homeless people daily with meals and services.
If you are interested in joining us and/or have ideas and/or contacts to help with the above projects, please email Susan at email@example.com.
If you would like to make a donation, please send your check to the BZC business manager, Helen, and note “Bag Lunch Project,” OR go to the BZC site and make a donation there. In that case, be sure to then send Helen an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let her know it’s for the Bag Lunch Project.
With great sadness the sangha of Berkeley Zen Center announces that Hakuryu Sojun Roshi—White Dragon/Essence of Purity—Mel Weitsman peacefully passed from this world to the Pure Land of Buddhas and Ancestors, at 5:30 pm on January 7, 2021. He is survived by his wife Liz Horowitz Weitsman and their son Daniel, along with uncountable disciples, students, friends and acquaintances across the United States and around this wide world.
Some recent words:
“I am able to not hang on to anything. That’s my secret. I believed my teacher when he said “Don’t get caught by anything.” I really believed it. And then, not only did I believe it, I started acting it out. So that’s where I’m at. Don’t get caught by anything. I’m able to not dwell on something. The news is what the news is. My anger is what my anger is. That’s all. And I try to do what I can to assuage my…everybody’s anxieties. I don’t have much anxiety. I’m gonna die. I’m on my way. What should I do, worry about it? Everybody does this. Nobody escapes. This happens to every single person that’s ever lived. What should I worry about? What’s there to worry about? I am just not that kind of person. This is what I decided when I was young. I said, “I’m just gonna live my life all the way up to the end. And when it’s time to go, I go.” That’s part of..that’s life. Life is death. So we experience it every moment. Here we are. Next moment, here we’re not. This happens every moment.”
We have created a Memorial Wall through the app KudoBoard, where you can post your stories, remembrances, feelings and thoughts. Access that here:
In the midst of a pandemic that keeps many of us in our homes, interrupting our face-to-face practice for eight months now, experiencing the disturbing realities of climate change and racial injustice, and facing a presidential election that may well bring unprecedented challenges to our nation, BZC moves towards its first formal leadership transition at the end of December.
I would like to create a safe and informal setting where we can meet over the next few months—where you can express your interests, questions, and concerns to me, and where we can talk among ourselves about things that concern us all: the continuity and shape of Suzuki Roshi and Sojun’s practice, our sense of and needs from the BZC community, and the state of our ever-changing world.
Rather than dokusan form, this would be more like sitting around in the living room or around the kitchen table, except for now, it will be on Zoom (see link below). It will not be open to the wider public and won’t be recorded.
For the sake of intimacy, we will have up to eight available slots each evening, for roughly an hour of discussion among those present. All your words and views are welcome.