On Friday, August 2, at 5:40 p.m. in the zendo (the time of our usual First Friday talk), we will have a special presentation and book signing event with Buddhist teacher, scholar, and writer Cuong Lu. His book The Buddha in Jail is a collection of 52 vignettes—stories and teachings about Cuong Lu’s six years as a prison chaplain. Cuong discovered that when the men inside allowed themselves to feel their pain—including remorse from committing crimes—knowing and feeling the truth became a source of strength for them. And when the inmates felt listened to, understood, and not judged, it transformed their sense of who they are, and as a result changed their attitudes and their behavior.
This book is not just about the prisoners. It’s about all of us. We’re each caught in distorted and limiting ideas of ourselves. We don’t believe freedom and happiness are attainable. But when we come to believe in ourselves, we discover the freedom and happiness already within.
Cuong Lu will give a short presentation, answer questions, and be available to sign books. If you would like to preorder a book, email Laurie at email@example.com.
Signups for BZC’s annual Mountains & Rivers Sesshin are live and we’re looking for participants. The sesshin, led by Andrea Ryushin Thach, will take place Thursday, August 1, through Sunday, August 4. A mandatory orientation meeting will be held the preceding Tuesday (July 30) and payments, signups, and cancellations are all due by July 20.
The sesshin will take place at Point Reyes Coast Camp and will include alternate routes to the campsite to accommodate varying needs. The format follows BZC sesshin forms to the extent possible, including long periods of silence, sitting zazen, shared responsibilities and sesshin positions. If you are new to backpacking or to sesshins, please speak with the director, Kelsey Hermann. People new to zazen are encouraged to attend a Saturday morning at BZC to get a feel for our forms.
This sesshin is a wonderful way to connect with other practitioners and experience practice in the wilderness. If you or someone you know is interested in attending, please fill out an application at the following link: http://bit.ly/2JVZimG. You may also email the director at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see many old and new faces there!
Sojun Roshi will lead a one-day sesshin on Saturday, August 3, 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, July 31, 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 per day and should be paid in advance (a discounted fee is possible for those in need; please speak to the director). Leave checks marked “August 2019 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 Form to let us know of health problems, food allergies, or physical issues requiring accommodation. Please request this form by contacting the sesshin director, Gary Artim, at SesshinDirectorBZC@gmail.com.
Please consider joining us for a half-day sitting on May 19. Half-day sittings are now happening every other month. The schedule includes five periods of zazen, separated by kinhin. There is an informal tea break at about 10:00 a.m., and a short service at noon. These sittings are very quiet and an opportunity to have concentrated sitting practice.
Save the date and join us for our all-sangha workday on June 9, 8:00‒4:00. The day will open with coffee and pastries, then zazen from 8:15 to 8:40, work circle at 8:45, with work starting at 9:00. Then lunch provided by our tenzos from noon until work circle at 12:45, winding up with informal zazen 3:45‒4:00.
Come and join the fun festivities and seeds that always accompany our sangha work!
Annette Herskovits, a BZC member and Holocaust survivor, recently lost her older brother, who, after their parents’ deportation to Auschwitz, helped Annette and her sister elude capture by the Nazis. She will offer a remembrance of him at BZC on Saturday, May 4 at 1:00 p.m. in the zendo, including some of his own words in letters about his experience. We are at the end of an era, as witnesses of the Holocaust pass away. This presentation will serve both as a memorial to a warm and happy family destroyed by genocidal madness and a chance for Annette to appreciate her brother’s life and their relationship.
On Monday morning, May 6, Sojun Roshi will confer Lay Entrustment and offer green rakusus to Seishi Tetsudo Ross Blum and Sentei Kokyo Susan Marvin. The ceremony and informal dharma inquiry with Ross and Susan will take place at the time of morning zazen. A celebratory reception in the community room will follow.
Mindfulness is all the rage. Beyond the world of Buddhist centers and retreats, mindfulness is being taught today in schools, corporations, prisons, and even the military—often emphasizing relaxation and “being in the present.” But the Buddha’s presentation of the SatipattanaSutta/ The Foundations of Mindfulness, points to deeper dimensions of practice and liberation.
This Spring Hozan Sensei with lead a class on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, drawing from the SatipattanaSutta, on ThichNhat Hanh’s Transformation and Healing, and other Buddhist-centered commentary. The class will be held on five consecutive Thursday evenings – March 28 to April 25th – at 7:15 pm, probably in the Community Room. The fee is $50 with discounts available as needed. A sign-up will be posted soon on the patio bulletin board.
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 email@example.com. For any other questions about the birthday celebration, contact zendo co-managers Hannah Meara (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Carol Paul (email@example.com).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.