Category Archives: News

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

I invite you to take advantage of the next oryoki training, especially before Aspects of Practice. I will be offering it Saturday, September 21, and Saturday, October 19, either in the zendo or in the community room, from 11:30 to 12:15 after morning program, or by appoint­ment. Please contact me, Sue Oehser, at (510) 339-0243 (voice, not text), or text (510) 541-3264, or for questions or to arrange another time to meet.

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

Walkway Upgrading

BZC volunteers joined together in August to rebuild the brick walkway alongside the zendo wheelchair ramp. The walk was widened to 36” and flattened out, to make it easier for people using wheelchairs and walkers to move smoothly into the zendo. Thanks to Ross Blum, Cheryl Gordon, Matt Haug, Rob Lyons, Susan Marvin, Ron Nestor, Alex Senauke, Laurie Senauke, and Lance Shows for their contributions!

Sangha Support Network: List Renewal and Updating

The Sangha Support Network email list needs to be rebuilt, due to a computer glitch that deleted many people off the list. Whether you’ve been on the email list all along, or are interested in joining for the first time, please email me at with your name and email address and I’ll put you (back) on the list. And please be sure to add me to your email Contacts list so my emails don’t land in your spam folder!

For those of you unfamiliar with the Sangha Support Network, here’s what it is:

When a sangha member needs temporary assistance or support, usually due to a medical issue, we recruit members to help out. Assist­ance may include driving to an appointment, doing errands, preparing a meal, helping in the home, or assisting with child or pet care. Support may include visiting someone at home or in the hospital, providing caregiver relief, or providing emotional support.

Requests for assistance are generally infrequent, and you will never be expected to respond unless the spirit moves you. Even if you doubt you’ll ever have time to volunteer, you can be on the email list just in case someday a request feels like the right thing for you to take on. Nobody is ever asked to help out more than they’re comfortable doing.

Here is what one sangha member who received help from the Sangha Support Network (and who subsequently has volunteered to help others) wrote about that experience:

“Thanks for organizing this. This is a deeply important job for all of us—both by making help available to those who need it and also by making the jobs okay/manageable for people to do them. I received monumental amounts of help. . . . It’s such a special skill to be able to offer the opportunity to help to the degree one is comfortable and to stop or draw lines when that feels appropriate. That kind of thing is so hard to manage when the person needing help has to ask people directly. . . . Sangha Support provides all of us a great service: Those who need assistance can get it; those who want to help others but are not comfortable signing on for open-ended situations, can offer specific and limited help.”

Liz Horowitz, coordinator
Laurie Senauke, assistant coordinator

Lay Entrustment

In the quiet dawn hours of July 22, 2019, a Lay Entrustment ceremony was held for Seishi Tetsudo Ross Blum and Sentei Kokyo Susan Marvin, performed by Sojun Roshi and Hozan Sensei. The ceremony was a recognition of two seasoned practitioners’ commitment and deep understanding of the Dharma. Ross and Susan received green rakusus and each gave a short talk and responded to formal questions. Here are some words from our new Lay Entrustees:

Ross: “Having finally gone through this bamboo tube I feel I can both rest in the stillness of this acknowledgment and trust Sojun Roshi has bestowed, and continue the activity of supporting our temple in the myriad forms available to us.”

Susan: “I very much appreciate practicing with Sojun and our Sangha through thick and thin. May we continue to practice together with heart and humor and continuous effort.”

Walk to Feed the Hungry Saturday, October 5, 2019

BZC is pleased to be one of the hosts for this year’s Walk to Feed the Hungry, organized by Buddhist Global Relief, a worldwide social welfare project begun in 2007 by Bhikkhu Bodhi. The Berkeley date is Saturday after­noon, October 5. Please register, donate, and join us for the whole march, or come and greet the marchers at BZC around 3:00 p.m.

Registration is from 12:00 noon to 12:45 p.m. at Dharma College, 2222 Harold Way, Berkeley, near the downtown Berkeley Post Office. The walk (2.5 miles) will begin at 1:00 p.m. We will stop for rest, refreshment, and brief presentations at the Berkeley Buddhist Temple and Berkeley Zen Center, then return to Dharma College, concluding about 4:30.

For information and registration, or to make a donation, see: or contact Dhammadipa Konin Cardenas:

Sejiki Saturday, October 26, 2019, 10:15 am

Sejiki is a popular Buddhist festival that highlights the connection between our world and the worlds of spirits. At BZC, we offer it as a sort of Buddhist Halloween. The ceremony is a mixture of spooky and solemn—there will be costumes and noisemakers, but we will also recite the names of departed friends and family and make offerings to appease our own hungry ghosts. This year’s Sejiki ceremony will be held on Saturday, October 26. To allow preparation time for the ceremony, we will not be having early morning zazen or breakfast. Instead, we will begin with a work period at 8:30 a.m. to prepare our temple for the cere­mony. The formal program will start with zazen at 9:40, followed by a short lecture and the ceremony at 10:15.

Both children and adults are encouraged to participate, to wear costumes and bring noise-makers. If you bring your children, please come directly to the zendo at 10:15 as there is no childrens’ program prior to that time. Please direct any questions about the childrens’ participation to Hannah Meara at For more information about the program, please contact Carol Paul at or (510) 206-5051. You can also give Carol names of departed ones to be recited during the ceremony of whom we might not be aware, or if you will not be able to attend.

Women’s Retreat Sunday, October 20, 2019, 8:30 am - 1:30 pm

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 (

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.