Category Archives: News

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:

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.

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.

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

Nominations for the BZC Board

Every year the sangha elects three of six members-at-large to two-year terms to the BZC Board. Board members may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms. Elections take place in October and the new term starts in January 2020. The Board will present its three nominees at the all-sangha potluck on Tuesday evening, September 24.

This year the BZC Board is pleased to announce that three current at-large Board members will be running for second terms.  They are: Rondi Saslow, Gary Artim, and Tom Painter.

Other nominations can be made by sangha members at the all-sangha potluck from the floor. Some of the various skills the board seeks in nominees (not all in one person) are: oral and written communication, organization, information technology, money management, fundraising, engineering, building mainte­nance, and nonprofit law. Nominees should be members of BZC. Board members attend ten Sunday morning meetings a year and an all-day retreat in the first part of the year, and serve on at least one of the working Board committees: Finance, Buildings & Grounds, Development, Electronic Communication & Social Media, Archive, and Elections & Nominations.

If you are interested in serving on the Board, or know someone who you would like to nominate, please contact a member of the Elections and Nominations Committee: Ed Herzog (, Carol Paul (, or Rondi Saslow ( Please include any relevant information about why you think the person would be a good BZC Board member.

Lay Entrustment Monday, July 22, 2019 - 5:40 am

On Monday, July 22, beginning at 5:40 a.m., Sojun Roshi will confer Lay Entrustment on Seishi Tetsudo Ross Blum and Sentei Kokyo Susan Marvin. The ceremony will include informal dharma inquiry with Ross and Susan, and a celebratory reception in the community room will follow.

[This ceremony, originally announced for May 6, has been rescheduled to the above date.]

Thousand Hands History Project

The Board has set a $20,000 fundraising goal this year to cover the initial costs of preserving an archival record of BZC teaching legacy and history. Many of you recently received a letter detailing this exciting project.

We are taking on the task of making this legacy widely available: digitized, indexed, searchable, and archived so that it may encourage and enlighten future Zen students. The first step is digitizing more than 2000 of Sojun Roshi’s talks (and the BZC talks of other teachers) at an estimated cost of $26,000. We invite your contributions and participation.