Category Archives: News

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.

             For Hakuryu Sojun’s Funeral  

            In the fall of 1964, 
            You entered the dawn zendo  
            With your artist’s fire 
            And the Kabbalistic eye of a seeker 
            Behind you Suzuki Roshi 
            Gently adjusted your posture 
            Leaning down to demonstrate the cosmic mudra

            And you were home  
            Fifty-six years later, now 
            You have left one home for another 
            Sojun who had been and still is Mel 
            Became a handful of fire 
            A dharma wind 
            And today I stand here 
            In the Green Dragon’s nest 
            A barefoot host to your teaching

            You taught me 
            To read the other side of the page 
            And to see Buddha in each being 
            To rely on no particular thing 
            Not even you 
            As you did, I rely on everything 
            You asked Suzuki Roshi, “What is Nirvana?”               
            He said, “Seeing one thing through to the end” 
                                   —Hozan Alan Senauke          
                                    Green Dragon Zen Temple 
                                    19 June 2022

Many Communities, One Sangha: Community-of-Practice Program

“Many Communities, One Sangha: Exploring the Realities of Equity and Inclusion” is a curriculum which guides an inquiry for us, in small groups, to articulate our values and explore our desires and ways to implement the goals we determine together. It is not a top-down training, but rather a grassroots program designed to help us decide together how we proceed. The principal teachers of the curriculum are Mushim Ikeda, Rhonda Magee, and Crystal Johnson, who many of you may know.
Rhonda Magee, one of the program’s developers, will be providing experiential opportunities to acquire and practice the skills we have learned. Prof. Magee is also the author of The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communi­ties Through Mindfulness. She is a Dharma Holder in the Soto tradition.
Participants must sign up by September 15, 2022 and commit to two hours a month over 11 months. This will consist of five sessions of videos, readings, and small, ongoing group discussions, alternating with five sessions with Rhonda Magee. We hope to have in-person meetings, without excluding those who are participating from a distance, through a hybrid option. The cost is $150 per person, with scholarships and a sliding scale. Participation limit is 30 people (the number we can fit in- person in the zendo). If demand exceeds capacity, we will offer it again.
Here is the link to sign-up:
If you have questions about the program,  contact Karen Sundheim (; Sonia Tamez (510-502-1425); or Gerry Oliva ( If you have any questions about signing up, contact Mary Duryee ( More info will be on the website.

—Mary Duryee, on behalf of the culture change committee (Judy Fleischman, Hanna Meara, Gerry Oliva, Hozan Alan Senauke, Mauro Sifuentes, Karen Sundheim, Sonia Tamez, and Penelope Thompson).

Calling All Chidens: Past, Present, and Future

Please join Nancy Friedberg and Nancy Suib (co-head chidens) and Hozan Roshi for a chiden review and training in the zendo on Wednesday, October 19, 3:30‒5:00 p.m.

This is a wonderful and fulfilling opportunity to deepen your practice of mindfulness and the aesthetic in attending to the altar.

A deep bow to all the past and present chidens for their service. We hope that you will join the new chidens and members interested in becoming a chiden for an orientation and review.

Masking and vaccination status is required for participation. Please RSVP to Nancy Suib ( or Nancy Friedberg (

Use BZC’s Storefront on 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. 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:

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!