All posts by Troy DuFrene

Women’s Retreat

There will be a half-day women’s retreat on Sunday, October 20, led by Kenshin Catherine Cascade.

Catherine was ordained as a monk in the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives in 2000 and, following a Transfer of Discipleship, was re-ordained as a priest in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi by Hozan Alan Senauke in 2004. She received Dharma Transmission from Hozan Sensei in 2012. Catherine is a former BZC resident who now lives in rural Oregon with her partner, John Mogey. Together they offer a Zen practice program at their Bird Haven Zendo.

The retreat schedule will be 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It will include periods of zazen and kin­hin as well as a talk and followup discussion. Lunch will be served at the end of the morning. The fee is $20. A sign-up sheet will be posted on the bulletin board two weeks prior to the retreat. You can also sign up via email.

If you have any questions, please contact Leslie Bartholic ( or Mary Duryee (

Special Lecture

On Friday afternoon, September 20, at 5:40 Sensho Watanabe Roshi, a special lecturer sent to Zen centers in the U.S. by Soto Zen headquarters in Japan, will give a talk: “How to Live Here and Now—Engagement from the One and a Half Person Perspective.” Rev. Watanabe is head priest at Toryuji Temple in Niigata, Japan. For twelve years he has served as Tokuha Fukyoshi, a teacher dispatched to convey principles of Dogen and Keizan Zenji to Zen communities around the world.

Aspects of Practice

Gerry Oliva, along with other BZC senior students, will lead our annual four-week Aspects of Practice. It will begin with a one-day sesshin on Sunday, October 6 (5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) and continue through the closing sesshin on Saturday, November 2 (5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.).

As always, this is an opportunity for new and old students to make or intensify their commitment to practice through an emphasis on following basic forms of zazen, partici­pating in sangha activities, and studying the Dharma here at BZC. Participants are encouraged to sign up for practice discussion, attend weekly classes, participate in an entire Saturday program, and attend Friday afternoon tea. Information on the study topics will be posted on the bulletin board with copies of any reading materials.

This year there will be two opportunities to ask questions about Aspects and how to complete the Aspects sign-up sheet before the practice period starts: A senior student will be available in the community room after Saturday lecture on September 21 and 28.

Sign-up sheets for Aspects of Practice and the Thursday evening classes will be posted two weeks before the program starts. Please sign up for the October 6 sesshin on a separate sign-up sheet on the patio bulletin board by Wednesday, October 2, 7:00 a.m.

Study Sesshin: The Dharma of Martin Luther King

There are wonderful resonances between our Buddhist understanding and Dr. King’s vision of interdependence, nonviolence, and Beloved Community. During our Study Sesshin on Saturday, September 7 (led by Hozan Alan Senauke) we’ll have a chance to explore and discuss these resonances. We will sit from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and the day will include zazen, oryoki meals for breakfast and lunch, soji, and two sessions of study and discussion. Copies of reading materials will be available on the bulletin board shelf prior to the sesshin.

Please sign up on the patio bulletin board by Wednesday, September 4, 7:00 a.m. For more information, contact sesshin director Gary Artim:

Friday Tea Time

Every Friday at 5:00‒5:30 p.m. (just before the afternoon zazen period) BZC welcomes members and friends for tea, tasty treats, and informal discussion, hosted by a rotating team of BZC senior students. Weather permitting, we meet in the garden; otherwise, in the community room.

Oryoki Training

Oryoki training is available with Sue Oehser by appointment during July and August. Please contact her at 510-339-0243 (voice, not text) or to schedule a time to learn or fine-tune your oryoki practice.

Briefer oryoki instruction is also offered before breakfast at all full Saturday morning programs, except during sesshins.


Caregivers Support Gathering

Sangha Support is offering a gathering for caregivers (whether helping someone nearby or at a distance) on Sunday, August 11 4:00‒5:30 p.m. in the Senauke home at 1933 Russell St. at BZC.

For our gathering, there will be the usual (unusual!) guided meditation by Laurie Senauke, time for checking in, and space to share ideas for how your caregiving practice can be met with kindness for all, including yourself.

Thank you for helping another person do things that they used to do for them­selves; we recognize your courage in navigating this challenging practice.

For more information, please contact Debbie: or 503-505-4282.

Up a Tree

The faithful girl left home at night to search
in the forest
for the tallest tree; from the top she would see
all the world clearly and things as it is.

Thorns bloodied her arms and legs, rocks
pierced her feet,
she struggled until she found the tree.
Her limbs useless, she climbed with her eyes,
her ears, her nose, her lips, her tongue,
her teeth, her heart, her lungs, her breasts,
her loins

all the way to the top. Then she saw things
clearly as it is and heard
a voice down below, a monk in brown robes,
calling up to her,
“Why did Bodhidharma come from the West?”

The faithful girl laughed when wings sprouted
from her shoulders and lifted her into the sky,
she called to him as she flew higher,
“Because they could!”

—Benji poem by Maria Winston
at Shuso Ceremony for Carol Paul

Lay Ordination

On Saturday, June 15, two members of the Berkeley Zen Center sangha received Lay Ordination (Zaike Tokudo) from Sojun Roshi and Hozan Sensei.

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 ordinees into the lineage of Shakyamuni Buddha and Suzuki Roshi’s family.

Hozan Sensei’s student:
Ellen Levin
Myô Getsu Shô Dô
Wondrous Moon Illuminates the Way

Sojun Roshi’s student:
Alex Roehrkasse
Kai Ki Jun I
Open Vessel Pure-hearted Intention