Family Practice

Coming of Age

We’re putting together our announcement for the 2023 – 2024 program, beginning in September and open to those who will be in 7th or 8th grade.  Watch this space at the beginning of March for details.  Here’s the general shape of the program: 

Berkeley Zen Center is pleased to offer a coming of age program for children between the ages of 12-14.  Teachings will include meditation instruction, orientation to the basic functioning of a buddhist temple, and the tenants of the 4 noble truths and the eight-fold path. We will celebrate what we have all experienced at the conclusion of this program with a half day meditation retreat that will welcome family to attend. It is our hope that it will provide the participating youth with a chance to reflect together on their experiences as they begin to face more complexity in their lives, socially, ethically, and personally.

Our schedule for the 2022-2023 year is as follows:

  1. Initial Orientation – Sunday September 11th 10-12pm
  2. Session 2 – Sunday October 16th 10-12pm
  3. Session 3 – Sunday November 20th 10-12pm
  4. Session 4 – Sunday December 18th 10-12pm
  5. Session 5 – Sunday January 8, 2023 10-12pm
  6. Session 6 – Sunday February 12th 10-12pm
  7. Session 7 – Sunday March 12th 10-12pm
  8. Session 8 – Sunday April 16th 10-12pm
  9. Session 9 – Sunday May 7th, 10-12pm
  10. Closing Half Day Retreat – Sunday June 4th, 10-3pm

Please consider the schedule below carefully.  We understand that there are many competing activities on children’s schedules these days, especially on weekends. If you anticipate that your child will need to miss more than two of our meetings, this program may not be a good fit.

A donation of $500 per child is requested, however no one will be turned away due to lack of funds. You are welcome to contact us if you would like to discuss this further.

If you have any questions about our program, please contact the program coordinator, Marie Hopper, at

Family Practice Email Group

To make it easier to publicize, announce and remind ourselves about family practice activities at BZC, we have a Google group. We’d love to have you join this list if you have children in your life, even if you don’t typically attend family practice events. We promise to send, at most, ONE email per week, just a short reminder of upcoming events. To join, just email Laurie (

Special Ceremonies: Sejiki and Buddha’s Birthday

Twice a year, families join the larger BZC sangha.

In late October, we hold our Sejiki ceremony, based on the Japanese Obon Festival and held near the time of Halloween. We call forth and nourish “hungry ghosts” and call out the names of family and friends who have passed away in the last year.

In early April, we offer our Buddha’s Birthday celebration. Usually we put on a little show and then everyone has a chance to bathe the baby Buddha.

Joining together, we bring forth the meaning of these traditional ceremonies. Watch the calendar for the exact dates.

Ad Hoc Supervised Play and Support

Coverage for Zazen Instruction and Beginner’s Orientation (8:45 Saturdays), the Saturday program during the summer months, and Practice Discussion is available by prior arrangement. Along with our interest in discovering and developing new forms of practice within our day-to-day family life, we want to help you keep the flame of formal practice alive. Contact Laurie ( ) to make arrangements.

Most family programs are dormant right now. Things could be re-activated, depending on conditions. Here’s what the Family Practice has sometimes looked like over the years.  

Family Practice Gathering

BZC Family Practice is offered on most Saturdays (still check the calendar for details, and always RSVP so we can share late-breaking news), at the usual time, from 9:30 to 11:15.

Our program consists of crafts, songs, stories, check-ins, the making and serving of snack, walks, craft and art projects, and other things that spring to mind.  We journey together, “to wake up and to sing!”

Parent/Guardian Dharma Study and Support Group

Currently dormant

Family Sesshin

Currently dormant

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