Category Archives: News

Buddha’s Birthday Saturday, April 4, 8:30am

This year Buddha’s Birthday will be celebrated at BZC on April 4. Please bring family and friends! Children are especially encouraged to attend. The celebration will include a song by the children and birthday cake.

An important part of the day is bathing the baby Buddha. Everyone is invited to help decorate his flower bower from 7:30 – 8:30am. Flowers from your garden such as iris, daisy, ranunculus, sweet William, and camellia are appreciated.

The Saturday program will begin at 8:30am with a work period, followed by zazen, a short lecture, and the ceremony. Information is posted on the bulletin board. Questions? Please contact head chiden Stephanie Seaborg at

Spring Practice Period

Our annual spring practice period will begin with a one-day sitting on Saturday, May 2 and continue through the shuso ceremony on Sunday, June 14. Sojun Roshi invites everyone to increase their commitment to practice during this period while still tending to their obligations outside the gate.

Sojun Roshi has invited Sentei Kunka Susan Marvin—Spring Garden/Virtuous Influence—to be the shuso this year, sharing the abbot’s seat and setting an example for us all. Chodo Kaiku Dean Bradley—Wild Bird Path/Open Sky—will serve as benji, assisting the shuso.

There will be a Thursday night class with Sojun Roshi, with the topic to be announced. You can download the detailed  2015 Practice Period Calendar. Practice period applications will be available on the main bulletin board shelf in April. Please fill one out and return it to the shuso’s box on the community room porch by Mon., April 27.

In addition to signing up for practice period and turning in a registration form, sign up separately for a number of the individual practice period events. See the bulletin board for signup sheets.

Practice Period Events

  • Opening Sesshin: May 2, 5:00am to 9:00pm
  • Opening/Shuso Entering Ceremony: May 2, about 4:00pm
  • Shuso Talks/Lectures: May 4, 16, 22, and 30
  • Classes: Thursday evenings, May 7-June 4, 7:15-8:45pm
  • Bansan (tea and dharma discussion with the abbot): Friday, May 15, 5:40pm
  • Dinner and Skit Night: Saturday, May 23
  • Shosan (dharma dialogue with the abbot): June 5, 5:40pm and June 8, 5:40am
  • Lay Ordination: Saturday, June 6, 3:00pm
  • Five-Day Sesshin: June 10 to 14
  • Shuso Hossen (dharma dialogue with the shuso): Sunday, June 14

Changing Hands

We are grateful to Gary Artim for being our oryoki instructor for the past two years. He offered instruction in this form for groups and individuals, conveying both the simplicity and details of this way of receiving and eating our food in the zendo. Thank you, Gary! We welcome Alexandra Frappier to this position. She will be offering instruction to groups several times a year. Keep an eye on the bulletin board for the dates for this. You may also contact Alexandra directly if you wish to schedule instruction for another time.

Self-Defense Primer Workshop Saturday, March 21, 12:30 – 3:00 pm

The March 21 self-defense workshop will now be held in the zendo, so the class size will no longer be limited to 20 people. The sign-up sheets will include room for more names.

This workshop is offered free by BZC. If you are moved to provide a dana gift, that would be gratefully received and would help offset the cost. The workshop will be taught by Hand-to-Hand.

Hand-to Hand…

“…provides traditional martial arts training and self-defense classes. The center was founded in 1980 by Professor Coleen Gragen and remains under the leadership of Chief Instructor Sonya Richardson. (They) teach adults of all genders and are affiliated with the Kajukenbo Association of America… In a highly supportive environment, Hand to Hand classes explore the links between personal safety and community wellness because seeing this connection provides an opportunity for healing and encourages every individual to walk fearlessly in their lives.”

For more information, contact Mary Duryee at

New Priests in Our Family

In the far north of Germany Juen Ryushin Friederike Boissevain and Nanzan Shunki Harald Schoklmann were ordained as Soto Zen priests by Hozan Sensei at Wind und Wolken Sangha on February 8. Juen and Nanzan began this group in 2002, and have long dedicated themselves to the dharma even as they each maintain active lives as physicians and creators of the region’s first hospice organization. As dharma names Juen Ryushin means Circle of Giving/Arising Heart-Mind; Nanzan Shunki translates as South Mountain/Bright Spirit.

Saturday Practice Opportunities

Every Saturday BZC offers breakfast to people attending the morning program. If you’ve been looking for ways to help out at our temple, the Saturday program offers several practice opportunities that do not require any prior experience: assisting the head cook, serving the meal, and washing dishes.

Assisting the head cook in the kitchen begins at 6:00 am. This is a wonderful way to see what kitchen practice is all about. The head cook will provide training as you work together to prepare the meal. We also need servers to serve the breakfast in the zendo. If you haven’t done this before, the head server will train you during the second zazen period. During the serving of the meal, each server practices fully meeting each person being served. After breakfast, the dishwashers go to the kitchen to wash the dishes. You work as a team, led by the head dishwasher, to get the dishes washed and the kitchen cleaned. All three of these activities are fundamental elements of our sangha practice.

We encourage you to join us. There is a sign-up calendar on the porch bulletin board that includes all of these activities. If you have any questions about these practice opportunities, or how to sign up, please contact the coordinator, Leslie Bartholic at

Sounding Board March 2015

The Board held its annual day-long retreat on January 18. The retreat is a time for Board members to talk in a more free-ranging and relaxed way about issues facing BZC in the coming year. One outcome of this year’s retreat: the Board made a decision to again focus fundraising efforts on our Building Fund; typically we have been alternating between our Leadership Fund and Building Fund. It is our intention to provide as well as we can for long-term sustainability for BZC in all areas—practice and teaching, physical plant, financial resources, etc.

BZC is lucky in many ways: we have paid off our mortgages, we are able to support an abbot, a vice-abbot, and an office manager, and we have a decent amount in our Leadership Fund, due to Board efforts beginning fifteen years ago. We have also assembled a property management team with an excellent depth and breadth of skills. These folks have been evaluating our building maintenance and improvement needs, and it is becoming clear to the Board that right now, our greatest need is to take care of the buildings and grounds that have been given to us, in order to respond to both expected and unexpected impermanence. Last year’s successful fundraising efforts will enable us to rejuvenate and modernize the kitchen in 1929A. While in that process, it makes sense to investigate the plumbing in that entire building, which will no doubt require additional funds. BZC Board and officers are very grateful for the support of this generous sangha.

As always, Board members are available to receive your questions and suggestions. The list of Board members is available on our website and in our member directory.

Family Sesshin: Not Just for Families Sunday, October 5, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Dharma brothers and sisters: we’re all just one big happy family, right? On Sunday, October 5, BZC will be offering its third annual ground-breaking Family Sesshin for all ages and stages of being. The day will begin at 9:00 am and go until 4:00 pm. It will include zazen, service, a mindful walk, work period, theater games, art projects, stories, and other fun activities for all ages. As usual, we need non-parents and non-children for ballast! You can attend all or part. Please sign up on the zendo bulletin board. Questions? E-mail Laurie Senauke (

One Day Sesshin: Aspects of Practice Period Opens Saturday, October 18, 5:00 am – 9:00 pm

The Aspects of Practice opening sesshin, led by Laurie Senauke, will take place on Saturday, October 18. We encourage both long-term and new sangha members to participate. Please sign up on the patio bulletin board by Wednesday morning, October 15, after zazen. If this is your first sesshin at BZC, we recommend that you first participate in a full Saturday program and also speak with the sesshin director. The fee is $35 and should be paid in advance (a discounted fee is possible; please speak to the director). Put checks marked “October 18 sesshin” in the courtyard laundry room door mail slot or mail to the BZC office manager at 1931 Russell St., Berkeley 94703. You can also use the bill pay option on your banks’ website with the notation “October Sesshin fee.”

Please feel free to contact the sesshin director, Gerry Oliva at (510) 652-7217 or if you have any questions.