After zazen on Wednesday mornings (at 8:10 am) we will hold an ongoing well-being service. Due to the limitations of Zoom, congregants will be muted while we each chant along with the doshi/kokyo. If you would like to have a name added to the ongoing well-being list, send your request by email to Co-Zendo Manager Hannah Meara: email@example.com.
In addition, all are welcome to request a personal service for an individual when there is need for prayers for well-being or when someone has died. Hannah is also the contact person for these requests.
For the time being, we are holding All-Sangha gatherings on Zoom. The meeting will last 60–90 minutes and be facilitated by a pair of practice leaders and long time students. Meetings may take a variety of shapes, including a focus topic announced beforehand and possible break-out sessions. See calendar for dates.
In the deep stillness of Rohatsu, gratitude rises. Permeates the zendo. Shosan ceremony is joyous. Lightness and sorrow both present. During this last year, 2019, much has happened and we have done our best to “tend and befriend” each as they arose. Several of our brick walkways were reworked, smoothed, made safer.
The zendo roof was mended. An archive committee was formalized and is working on bringing together early records—photos, newsletters, videos—of the long history of BZC. A large-scale digitization project is under way of thousands of Sojun’s (and others’) talks, currently existing only on ancient audiotape. Even more ancient electrical panels were replaced on two of our buildings, fixing a fire hazard that had led to several power outages in our buildings.
2019 was a year of change. Sojun began a sabbatical in January, and ended it recently. We celebrated his 90th birthday in July. Hozan reduced his teaching commitments in sister communities. In the fall, at Tassajara, Hozan was assisting Sojun in two dharma transmission ceremonies when Sojun faced a health crisis and was hospitalized. Hozan stepped in to help continue a ceremony, until Sojun was on his feet again.
We are very fortunate in this way—having a “deep bench,” as the saying goes. We met these changes with flexibility, as we have learned to do from practice. We are blessed that Sojun is feeling well now and facing his health situation with optimism. We are lucky to have people whose long practice and dedication to BZC give us the ability as a community to adapt to all these changes. Looking ahead to 2020, the Board asked Hozan to increase his position at BZC from 75% time to 100% time. He accepted and will step into this change beginning in January, centering his focus and teaching at BZC. Sojun and Hozan harmonized their activities to create continuity, as was so beautifully manifested during Rohatsu. This is our practice for 2020: befriending change; tending to harmony in the community; and enjoying one another completely.
BZC Board President
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.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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.”
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: www.firstgiving.com/event/BuddhistGlobalRelief/2019-Berkeley-CA-Walk-to-Feed-the-Hungry or contact Dhammadipa Konin Cardenas: email@example.com
Our annual Entering Ceremony for new members is on Monday, September 23, at 6:20 a.m. (Note the change from the date previously announced.) If you are a new BZC member, or if you are an older member but have never participated in this ceremony and would now like to, please contact Carol Paul: (510) 206-5051 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.