Affirmation of Welcome
Walking the path of liberation, we express our intimate connection with all beings.
Welcoming diversity, here at Berkeley Zen Center the practice of zazen
is available to people of every race, nationality, class, gender, sexual orientation,
age, and physical ability. May all beings realize their true nature.


New Year's Eve Sitting and Celebration: Wednesday, 12/31, 8:00 pm – 1:00 am
One-Day Sesshin: Saturday, 1/17, 5:00 am – 9:00 pm
Beginners' Sitting: Sunday, 1/25, 8:15 am – 4:15 pm
Half-Day Sitting: Sunday, 2/2, 8:00 am – 12:00 noon
Sojun Roshi's Koan Study Group: Fridays, 1/9, 23, 30 and 2/6, 20, 7:15pm – 8:30pm

New to BZC? Take a look at our first-time visitor FAQ

Zazen (meditation)
Instruction and Orientation

is held in the Zendo on Saturdays
from 8:45 - 9:30 a.m.

Weekly Wednesday
Night Drop-In Group;
All are welcome.

7:20 p.m. Zazen
8:00 p.m. Service
8:10 - 9:00 p.m. Tea & Discussion

20s and 30s Dharma Group

BZC invites young adults in their 20’s and 30’s to join us in a montly open discussion group about Zen Buddhism, meditation, and developing a personal practice. Our aim is to cultivate Kalyana Mitta, spiritual friendship, to provide members with the opportunity to meet others in their age group to support each other in bringing Zen practice more fully into our daily lives. We meet monthly and alternate venues between BZC and a local café. Follow this link for 2015 meeting dates and instructions about the time and place for each meeting. For further instruction contact Gerry Oliva : gryoliva@gmail.com.

No photography in the Zendo, please
We ask that all visitors and members turn off their cell phones in the zendo. If you are interested in capturing the beauty of our zendo on camera, please make arrangements with the Zendo Manager, Ross Blum, at rossblum@icloud.com. Thank you.

BZC is a Scent Free Environment

Berkeley Zen Center Documentary
Old Plum Mountain: The Berkeley Zen Center, Life Inside the Gate tells the story of the Berkeley Zen Center, one of the oldest lay practice centers in the nation.
Click here to view the trailer and for information about purchasing the DVD


New Year's Eve Sitting and Celebration

Wednesday, 12/31, 8:00pm – 1:00 am

Join us on Wednesday evening, December 31 for the chance to ring in the new year with the quiet and reflection of zazen, punctuated by 108 soundings of the bell to mark the last 108 minutes of 2014 and a bonfire after midnight.

Everyone is welcome to attend any portion of the program, entering the zendo during kinhin or the beginning of a period of zazen.

The schedule is:

  • 8:00 pm Zazen
  • 8:35 Kinhin
  • 8:45 Zazen
  • 9:20 Kinhin
  • 9:30 Zazen
  • 10:05 Tea
  • 10:13 108 bells begin
  • 10:35 Kinhin
  • 10:45 Zazen
  • 11:20 Kinhin
  • 11:40 Zazen
  • 12:10 Slow Heart Sutra and sitting

A celebration and potluck will follow in the community room. Watch the bulletin board for details and the sign-up sheets for providing food and help with clean up. If you have any questions, contact Ross at rossblum@icloud.com.

One-Day Sesshin: First of 2015

Saturday, January 17, 5:00 am – 9:00 pm

Taking the time to sit still after all the holiday and year-end activity is a great way to begin the new year. The first sesshin of 2015, led by Sojun Mel Weitsman, will take place on Saturday, January 17, from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm. We encourage old and new sangha members to participate. 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. Please check the patio bulletin for the sesshin sign-up sheet, the sesshin information forms and further information. The sesshin fee is $35 (a discounted fee is possible; please speak to the director). Place checks marked “January 17 sesshin” in the slot in the laundry room door or mail to BZC Office Manager at 1931 Russell St., Berkeley 94703.

The deadline for sign up and payment is Wednesday morning, January 14 after zazen. If you have questions, contact the director Gerry Oliva at (510) 652-7217 or sesshindirectorbzc@gmail.com.

Beginners' Sitting

Sunday, January 25, 8:00 am – 4:15 pm

On January 25, BZC will offer a beginners’ sitting from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm. Hozan Alan Senauke will offer instruction in the basic forms of our practice—zazen, kinhin, service—while maintaining our ground in meditation throughout the day. There will be a lecture on zazen and plenty of time for discussion. This is a good opportunity to ask questions about our practice.

Participants should bring a bag lunch, which we will eat informally in silence at midday. Newer people are particularly encouraged to take part, but we welcome longtime students who can enjoy a day of sitting and model the richness of our practice. The cost is $15. Please see the bulletin board for a sign-up sheet and further information. Contact the sesshin director Gerry Oliva at sesshindirectorBZC@gmail.com or (510) 652-7217 with any questions.

Half-Day Sitting

Sunday, February 2, 3:00pm

Half -day sittings include five periods of zazen, kinhin, and an informal tea. Sojun Roshi asks participants to commit to the entire four-hour schedule. A $10 donation is requested. If you have questions or if you cannot sign up on the bulletin board, contact the director Peter Overton: peterovrtn@gmail.com or (510) 848-5239.

Sojun Roshi's Koan Study Group

Fridays, 1/9, 23, 30 and 2/6, 20, 7:15pm – 8:30pm

Sojun Roshi will continue his koan study group during the first part of the year for five Friday evenings in January and February: January 9, 23, and 30 and February 6 and 20. We meet from 7:15 to 8:45 pm in the community room.

We’ll continue with The Book of Serenity, a collection of 100 koans and accompanying verses, compiled by the Chinese Zen master, Hongzhi or Tiantong, in the 12th century. Further commentary on the koans and verses is then provided by the brilliant Zen teacher Wansong. The Book of Serenity is the collection of koans most associated with our Soto Zen school.

For most of us, these koans are not easy to understand. Fortunately we have the able guidance of Sojun to help us find our way through the various twists and turns. Losing our way may not be so bad either.

Newcomers to the class are most welcome. Class materials for each koan will be provided or the book may be purchased at your favorite bookseller. A sign-up sheet will be posted early this month. The cost is $50 for the series, with discounts available as always. For questions or to sign up by e-mail, contact class coordinator Ron Nestor at rnestor1@yahoo.com.

Everything is Broken

Everything Is Broken: Songs About Things As They Are is Hozan Alan Senauke’s brand new cd of "buddhistic music." Featuring songs by Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Bernice Reagon, and Alan, along with traditional songs rewritten to bring out their dharma direction, the album also includes Greg Fain’s Lotus Sutra hit "Our Hero," about the Bodhisattva Never Disparaging. The album is available for purchase at Alan’s website http://www.clearviewproject.org, and, as a whole album or individual songs, from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Of course it is also available at the BZC Saturday book table. Don’t miss it if you can.

Sittings & Events

December & January

Winter Break
Sunday, 12/14 – Wednesday, 12/31

New Year's Even Sitting and Party
Wednesday, 12/31

Bodhisattva Ceremony
Saturday, 1/3, 9:40 am

Founders' Ceremonies
Monday, 1/5, 6:20 pm
Tuesday, 1/6, 6:40 am

One-Day Sesshin
Saturday, 1/17

Beginners' Sesshin
Sunday, 1/25


Half-Day Sitting
Sunday, 2/1

Founders' Ceremonies
Tuesday, 2/3, 6:20 pm
Wednesday, 2/4, 6:40 am

Bodhisattva Ceremony
Saturday, 2/7, 9:40 am

Two-Day Sesshin
Saturday, 2/14 – Sunday, 2/15

Buddha's Parinirvana
Saturday, 2/14

Zendo Holiday (President's Day)
Monday, 2/16

Beginners' Sesshin
Sunday, 1/25