Category Archives: Old News

Join Us for Our Annual Party and Fundraiser Saturday, September 26, 11:15 am to 1:15 pm

The Berkeley Zen Center Development Committee invites you, your friends and your family to our annual fundraiser taking place Saturday September 26th from 11:15-1:15.  The fundraiser will have a photo booth (complete with costumes), sangha offerings ranging from a walk with Sojun to an improv and mime acting class, food, music and raffle prizes.   Raffle prizes include a $150 gift certificate to REI and a $150 gift certificate to Chez Panisse, as well as several other items.   All proceeds raised at the fundraiser will benefit our $25,000 building fund goal.

We are looking for about 8 volunteers to support us with set-up, food monitoring and clean-up. Please email me at if you’re able to help in any of those areas

Here are a few ways you can help!

  1. Attend the party on September 26th from 11:15-1:15
  • Enjoy free food, raffle prizes, a photobooth and sangha!
  1. Support raffle ticket sales
  • Purchase raffle tickets for yourself
  • Purchase raffle tickets as a gift for your friends
  1. Volunteer to support the event
  • Look for sign-ups on the bulletin board to help set-up, take-down and run the event
  1. Make a donation and designate it to The Building Fund
  • Every bit of support helps us reach our goal!

We hope to see many of you there!

“Song of Zazen” with Hozan Alan Senauke Sunday, September 6, 5:00am - 5:30pm

Hozan Alan Senauke will lead this year’s one-day study sesshin on Sunday, September 6 from 5:00 am to 5:30 pm. As the summer winds down, this day will provide a quiet and reflective respite. It will include zazen, oryoki meals for breakfast and lunch, soji, and two study and discussion sessions. Our study will be Hakuin Zenji’s “Song of Zazen” / “Zazen Wasan.” This teaching poem by Hakuin Ekaku (1686 to 1769) in certain ways parallels Dogen Zenji’s “Fukanzazengi,” and is regularly chanted in Rinzai dojos.

Materials will be available on the bulletin board shelf in advance of the sesshin. The fee is $35, and should be paid in advance. Please leave payment marked “Study Sesshin” by Thursday September 3 in the donation slot in the laundry room door. For more information contact the sesshin director Gerry Oliva ( A sign-up sheet will be posted on the bulletin board in mid-August.

Women’s Sitting Sunday, September 20, 9:00am – 4:30pm

The annual BZC Women’s Sitting will be held this month on Sunday, September 20, beginning at 9:00am and ending at 4:30pm. It will include both a lecture and a discussion period led by Meghan Collins, a long time Lay Entrusted BZC practitioner. We will go at a relaxing pace with a mixture of 30 and 40 minute sitting periods, short AM and PM breaks, a silent bag lunch, and an afternoon tea break. Women of all levels of practice are encouraged to attend this special sesshin to explore our experience as female practitioners. Cost for the day is $25. (If you are unable to pay the full amount, contact the sesshin director to arrange a reduced fee.) The sign up sheet will be posted on the courtyard bulletin board in early September. For more information, please contact sesshin director, Gerry Oliva at sesshindirector or (510) 652-7217.

Sejiki Saturday, October 31, 8:30am - 11:15am

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 31. 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 am 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. We will also be offering a special children’s program beginning with a kids’ activity at 9:30 am at 1933 Russell. Everyone is encouraged to come in costume and bring noisemakers for the ceremony. For more information about the program, please contact Sue at . You can also give Sue names of departed ones to be recited during the ceremony if you will not be able to attend. If you are planning to attend the 9:30 kids’ activity, please RSVP to Laurie at or Ryk at

Family Sesshin Sunday, October 4, 9:00am – 4:00pm

All are welcome to attend BZC’s annual Family Sesshin. Join this cutting-edge event where our wonderful 2500-year-old practice meets 21st Century Bay Area family life! We need non-parents and ex-children for ballast, so please consider sharing and supporting this special day. The day will include zazen, service, a mindful walk, work period, art projects, stories, and fun activities for all ages. Sign up on the zendo bulletin board. Questions? E-mail Marie Hopper ( or Laurie Senauke (

Jizo Ceremony for Children Who Have Died Saturday, October 3, 1:00pm - 2:30pm

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, 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 by participating in a ceremony in our Jizo garden. Jizo, the Earth Store Bodhisattva, is viewed as a guide and protector for those who are enduring the loss of loved one, particularly a child lost in miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion or in early life. Jizo’s vow is to remain in the world until all beings are free from suffering, and he accompanies children when they pass out of this world.

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

The ceremony will be led by two BZC priests, Gerry Oliva and Judy Fleischman. All BZC members and neighborhood residents are invited to attend. A sign-up sheet will be posted on the courtyard bulletin board. There is no fee but offerings of dana are welcome. For more information or to sign up by phone contact Gerry Oliva at or call (510) 652-7217.

All Sangha Potluck – Board Nominations Tuesday, September 15, 6:30pm

Please join us for a potluck dinner on Tuesday, September 15, beginning at 6:30pm in the community room. A sign-up sheet is posted on the patio bulletin board for bringing food, drinks or helping with clean-up.

After dinner the Board will nominate three candidates for the three open positions for this fall’s election. In recruiting candidates, the board has identified skills that support the sangha’s interests, including but not limited to: oral and written communication, organization, information technology, money management, fundraising, engineering, building maintenance and non-profit law. Board members are expected to attend monthly meetings, an all-day retreat on a Sunday in January, and to serve on at least one working board committee: finance, buildings, development, electronic communication, nomination/election process. As in the past, all BZC members are welcome to nominate fellow members for this position, but please contact them first concerning their willingness to be nominated. If you yourself are interested in being nominated, please contact either Stephanie Solar or Stan Dewey.

During the meeting there will also be opportunity for board committee chairs to provide updates regarding finance, building projects, fundraising, electronic communication, election/nomination reform, and HEAR. We hope to see you at the dinner and meeting and wholeheartedly welcome your participation in the nomination process.