Category Archives: Old News

Buddha’s Birthday Celebration – Saturday, April 9

Buddhists throughout the world celebrate Buddha’s Birthday. We follow the Japanese tradition of symbolically bathing the baby Buddha, represented by a small statue ensconced in a flower-covered bower. This year’s ceremony will be in the courtyard on Saturday, April 9, following a short talk by Abbot Hozan. Due to the uncertain path of Covid we cannot at this point predict the kind of participation this year’s ceremony will offer, whether on Zoom or in person. Watch for announcements in early April.
If you would like to help decorate the bower at 7:45 a.m. on April 9, please email Hannah Meara ( School-age children are welcome to participate. The seven people who sign up first will be asked to take part in person. All children and adults must be fully vaccinated and wear masks.

Sojun Roshi’s Memorial Sunday, June 19

Dear Sangha,
Please save the date Sunday, June 19 mid-afternoon for our long-awaited memorial service for Hakuryu Sojun Roshi. It will be held in the Green Gulch Garden, as well as on Zoom. The exact start time and other details will be communicated shortly.
Abbot Hozan and Coordinator Carol Paul

Sangha Meeting and Budget Approval

All BZC members and friends are warmly invited to bring a cup of tea to the online zendo and join this meeting on Sunday, March 20, 7:00 p.m. We will hear committee reports, review the 2021 financial report, discuss the Board-recommended 2022 budget, and consider our 2022 fundraising goals. The budget is our treasurer’s best effort to project the financial goals and realities for BZC’s current year. After discussion, the budget will be submitted for approval by those in attendance. We look forward to seeing you!

Spring Practice Period May 7 – June 12

Our annual spring practice period will begin with a one-day sitting on Saturday, May 7, and continue through a five-day sesshin and Shuso Ceremony on Sunday, June 12. Whether you are sitting in the zendo or at home, Abbot Hozan invites each of us to increase our commitment to practice for these six weeks, while tending to our work, family, and other obligations.

Before the pandemic, Sojun Roshi invited Enzan Chotoku Gary Artim (Round Mountain/ Clear Genuine) to be shuso or head student. After a two-year postponement, Hozan has renewed this invitation for Gary to serve as shuso.

In the Soto tradition, a new abbot’s first practice period with a shuso is a kind of confirmation of his or her position. With our spring practice period Hozan takes this step.

There will be a Thursday night class with Hozan (subject to be announced).

Due to our Covid protocols, in-person attendance will be limited, and the usual schedule of events may be revised. For a detailed practice period calendar and appli­ca­tion form, please check the BZC website after April 15.

New Koan Class 3/17 – 4/7

Ellen Webb, Ryushin Andrea Thach, and Ron Nestor will present three koans from Thomas Cleary’s translation of The Book of Serenity. This collection of 100 koans or cases is the koan collection most associated with our Soto lineage.We’re aiming for interactive class discussions of these three provocative cases, which can be understood from different points of emphasis. We’ll supply a scanned copy of Cleary’s text and Word files of excellent commentaries by Koun Yamada. For those without printers we will have paper copies available on the bulletin board shelf at BZC.  The Book of Serenity is also available from booksellers and online. The four cases we’ll be working with are case #12, Dizang Planting the Fields, case #20, Dizang’s Nearness, case #36, Master Ma is Unwell, and case #53, Obaku’s “Drinkers”. Studying koans in this way is not the same as the Rinzai practice of working with one’s teacher and trying to embody the koan, so we want to be clear about the difference. However, we have found it to be rich and helpful in clarifying the essential points of Zen practice.


Cost for the series is $40 or what you can afford. More information will be posted on BZC Community Group as we get closer to the dates. All are welcome.

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.

CPR/AED Class “Life Is Too Important Not to Be Prepared”

On October 12 LifeSaver CPR will offer a class on CPR and the use of our AED unit. The class will be held in the zendo from 1:00 to 2:30. BZC has used LifeSaver CPR before, and participant response has been overwhelmingly positive. Participants will receive CPR certification, which is valid for two years.

This is a wonderful way to help ensure the well-being and safety of our sangha members.

The class has been funded by BZC and is free for all BZC members and friends, although dana of $40 is suggested to help offset the cost of the class.

To take the class, you need to do two things: (1) sign up on the patio bulletin board with your email address, and (2) send an email to Health & Safety Coordinator Jake Van Akkeren ( so that he can send an email link for you to complete your registration online with LifeSaver CPR. The online registration process is required by LifeSaver CPR. The sign-up sheet will be posted by September 10.

The sign-up deadline is October 2. A minimum of ten participants is required to hold the class, and class size is capped at 24.

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.