Category Archives: Old News

Buddha’s Birthday April 6, 2019

Join us to celebrate and appreciate the auspi­cious day of Buddha’s birthday on Saturday, April 6. Family, friends, and especially children are encouraged to participate. The cele­bration will include bathing the baby Buddha and a wonderful birthday cake prepared by our tenzos.

We will not have our usual early program. Decorating the bower with flowers will begin at 7:30 a.m. Work period to prepare the grounds begins at 8:30. The first period of zazen will be at 9:30, followed by a short lecture and the ceremony.

On Friday, the day before the celebration, donations of flowers from your garden, such as iris, daisy, ranunculus, sweet William, and camellia, are appreciated. There will be a sign-up on the bulletin board to help trim flowers on Friday afternoon.

If you can help with setup and cleanup, please sign up on the bulletin board and arrive by 8:30 a.m. Please also sign up if you will help trim flowers on Friday afternoon, so they will be ready for bower decorators on Saturday.

If you have questions about the flower bower, please contact head chiden Mark Copithorne at copithorne@hotmail.com. For any other questions about the birthday cele­bration, contact zendo co-managers Hannah Meara  (hmeara@gmail.com) or Carol Paul (caroljpaul@yahoo.com).

One-Day Sesshin Saturday, March 23, 2019, 5:00 am - 9:00 pm

Gerry Oliva will lead a one-day sesshin from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 23. The sesshin fee is $35. Place checks marked “2019 March Sesshin” in the slot in the laundry room door or mail to BZC Office Manager, 1931 Russell St., Berkeley, CA 94703. A sign-up sheet will be posted on the bulletin board. For further information, please contact the Sesshin Director, Gary Artim: 510-676-9756 or sesshindirectorbzc@gmail.com.

Women’s Sesshin Sunday, March 3, 2019, 8:30 am - 1:30 pm

There will be a women’s sesshin on Sunday, March 3, led by Reverend Daijaku Kinst.

Daijaku was ordained as a priest in 1988 and received Dharma Transmission from Sojun Roshi in 2005. She is Co-Teacher of the Ocean Gate Zen Center in Santa Cruz, California, and has also taught in many other locations, including Gampo Abbey with the Venerable Pema Chodron. She has a PhD in Buddhism and Psychology and is a core faculty member and director of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at the Institute of Buddhist Studies, an affiliated graduate school of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.   

The sesshin will go from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and will include periods of zazen, kinhin, lecture, discussion, and a short service. Lunch will be provided. The fee is $20.00. For more information, contact Karen Sundheim: ksundheim@gmail.com or 510-409-1187.

Sojun Roshi’s Koan Class Mondays in February

Sojun Roshi will be teaching a four class series on two koans from The Book of Serenity beginning Monday 2/4. We’ll meet from 7:15-8:45 p.m. each Monday in February. Class material and sign-up is now on the patio shelf for our first two classes .
We’ll be studying # 32 first, Yangshan’s (Kyozan’s) Mind and Environment. The third and fourth weeks will be #62, Mi Hu’s ( Beiko’s) Enlightenment or Not?  Both Yangshan and Mi Hu were students of Guishan (Isan) in the 9th century. All three were part of the Igyo school of Zen which developed from Yangshan’s style and died out after five generations.
The Book of Serenity format is in three sections. The first is the koan or case which is usually a brief recorded verbal exchange between teacher and student. One hundred of these cases were chosen by Hongzhi (Tiantong) in the 12th century, who then composed a verse to accompany each one. In the 13th century Wansong comes along and adds commentary to both the case and verse which now becomes the Book of Serenity (Wansong’s temple name). In this way we get the insight of three outstanding teachers on one subject over the course of 500 years. Imagine back to Columbus for that time span. Do you have a month available?

Two Class Series

Sojun Roshi will teach another koan study class series on four Monday evenings, beginning February 4. The particular koans will be announced and material will be made available as we get closer to that date.
Hozan Sensei will teach a class series on five Thursday evenings beginning March 28. The class topic will be Mindfulness, based on the Satipatthana Sutta and commentaries by Thich Nhat Hanh. Details will be announced later.

Two-Day Study Sesshin February 16, 2019, 5:00 am - 9:00 pm and February 17. 2019, 5:00 am - 5:00 pm

Sojun Roshi will lead this year’s study sesshin from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 16, and 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 17. Each day will include zazen, oryoki meals, soji, and two daily study and discussion sessions. Our study subject will be posted on the bulletin board. Any readings will be available on the bulletin board shelf in advance of the sesshin. The sesshin fee is $35 per day. Place checks marked “2019 Study Sesshin” in the slot in the laundry room door or mail to BZC Office Manager at 1931 Russell St., Berkeley 94703. Sign-up sheet will be posted on the bulletin board. For further information on any of these sesshins, please contact

Sesshin Director Gary Artim (510-676-9756 or sesshindirectorbzc@gmail.com).

Beginners’ Sesshin Sunday, January 27th, 2019, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Though Zen practice has no beginning or end, new people sometimes find the forms daunting, and more experienced students can value refreshment and learn about forms in greater detail. This sitting, led by Sojun Roshi, is an opportunity for new and old practitioners to invigorate our beginner’s mind. The focus will be on the basics of Suzuki Roshi’s practice: zazen, kinhin, and bowing.

The sesshin will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 27. Though shorter than usual, the rhythm of sitting will be similar to our regular schedules, with lecture, a short work period, tea and discussion. Plan to attend the entire day. Please bring a bag lunch—we will not be cooking a meal or doing oryoki. The sesshin fee is $25. Place checks marked “Beginner’s Sesshin” in the slot in the laundry room door or mail to BZC Office Manager at 1931 Russell St., Berkeley 94703.

First Sesshin of 2019 January 12, 2019, 5:00 am - 9:00 pm

Taking the time to sit still after all the holiday and year-end activity is a great way to begin the New Year. The first sesshin of 2019, led by Hozan Alan Senauke, will take place on Saturday, January 12, from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. We encourage old and new sangha members to participate. 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. Please check the patio bulletin board for the sesshin sign-up sheet, the sesshin infor­ma­tion forms, and further information. The sesshin fee is $35. Place checks marked “January 12 Sesshin” in the slot in the laundry room door or mail to BZC Office Manager, 1931 Russell St., Berkeley 94703. The deadline for signing up and payment is Wednesday morning, January 9, after zazen.

One-Day Sesshin Saturday, August 4, 5:00 am - 9:00 pm

Sojun Roshi will be leading a one-day sesshin on Saturday, August 4, from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. We encourage old and new sangha members to participate. Please sign up on the patio bulletin board by Wednes­day morning, August 1, 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 for those in need; please speak to the director). Leave checks marked “August sesshin” in the mail slot in the courtyard laundry room door or mail to the BZC Office Manager at 1931 Russell St., Berkeley, CA 94703. Those attending for the first time will need to fill out a Sesshin Information Sheet to let us know of food allergies or other health or physical concerns requiring accommodation. Please request this by contacting the sesshin director, Peter Overton, at (510) 325-2342 or sesshindirectorbzc@gmail.com.

Lotus Sutra Class Thursdays, August 30 - September 20, 7:15 pm - 8:45 pm

The Lotus Sūtra is one of the most popular and influential Mahayana sutras. It is known for its development of the concept of skillful means, mostly in the form of parables. It is full of cosmic imagery but it’s basic message is that all beings have the potential to become Buddhas and teach the Dharma here and now.
Susan Marvin and Laurie Senauke have been studying and enjoying the Lotus Sutra together for several months and are looking forward to sharing it with you. Readings will be from Gene Reeves translation of the Lotus Sutra and from Thich Nhat Hanh’s Opening the Heart of the Cosmos.