Category Archives: Old News

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.

Jizo Ceremony Saturday, October 12, 2019 1:00-3:00 pm

The loss of a loved one often opens a well of profound grief. No matter how the loved one dies, suddenly or slowly, whether through illness, accident, violence, miscarriage, abortion, or suicide, our sorrow is deep and may be long-lasting. To help families and friends in their process of grief, we will honor our lost loved ones in a ceremony in our Jizo garden on Saturday, October 12, 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Jizo, the Earth Store Bodhisattva, one of the four great bodhisattvas in the Mahayana school, is viewed as a wise and compassionate guide and protector for those who are endur­ing the loss of a loved one, particularly the loss of a child. Jizo’s vow is to remain in the world until all beings are free from suffering. She/he accompanies the dead when they pass out of this world.

Before the ceremony we will spend time in the community room making a personal memorial token for a lost one, by writing a message or by making a simple necklace, a robe for our garden Jizo statue, or some other offering. Attendees are also invited to bring a picture of their loved one or other personal tokens of remembrance for our altar.

The ceremony will be led by two BZC priests, Gerry Oliva and Judy Fleischman. All BZC members, members of other Zen groups, and neighborhood residents are invited to attend. A more detailed description will be posted on the BZC courtyard bulletin board. There is no fee, but offerings of dana are welcome. We will not have a sign-up sheet, but request that those attending let us know in advance so that we can have adequate supplies and refreshments. For more information or to let us know that you’re coming, contact Gerry Oliva at or (510) 652-7217.

Sangha Potluck & Nominations Meeting Tuesday, September 24, 6:30 p.m.

All BZC members and friends are invited to attend our semi-annual potluck and sangha meeting on Tuesday, September 24, 6:30 p.m. In addition to celebrating fellowship, the Board will present the nominees for the three members-at-large Board positions that begin January 2020.

We will also accept additional nominations during the meeting. If you would like to nomi­nate someone, please do two things: obtain their permission prior to the meeting, and let Ed Herzog (chair of the Nominations and Elections Committee) know in advance.

A great deal of care, time, and commitment has been put into the nominating process to make it as fair and unbiased as possible.

Special Lecture Friday, September 20, 2019, 5:40 pm

On Friday afternoon, September 20, at 5:40 Sensho Watanabe Roshi, a special lecturer sent to Zen centers in the U.S. by Soto Zen headquarters in Japan, will give a talk: “How to Live Here and Now—Engagement from the One and a Half Person Perspective.” Rev. Watanabe is head priest at Toryuji Temple in Niigata, Japan. For twelve years he has served as Tokuha Fukyoshi, a teacher dispatched to convey principles of Dogen and Keizan Zenji to Zen communities around the world.

Study Sesshin: The Dharma of Martin Luther King Saturday, September 7, 2019, 5:00 am - 5:00 pm

There are wonderful resonances between our Buddhist understanding and Dr. King’s vision of interdependence, nonviolence, and Beloved Community. During our Study Sesshin on Saturday, September 7 (led by Hozan Alan Senauke) we’ll have a chance to explore and discuss these resonances. We will sit from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and the day will include zazen, oryoki meals for breakfast and lunch, soji, and two sessions of study and discussion. Copies of reading materials will be available on the bulletin board shelf prior to the sesshin.

Please sign up on the patio bulletin board by Wednesday, September 4, 7:00 a.m. For more information, contact sesshin director Gary Artim:

Prison Chaplaincy Book Event Friday, August 2, 2019 - 5:40 pm

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

Mountains and Rivers Sesshin August 1-4, 2019

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: You may also email the director at We hope to see many old and new faces there!

One-Day Sesshin Saturday, August 3, 2019 - 5:00 am - 9:00 pm

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

Half-Day Sitting Sunday, May 19, 2019, 8:00 am - 12:00 pm

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.

Sangha Work Day June 9, 2019, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

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!