New audio dharma talk by Chimyo Atkinson!

Back in February, our sangha was honored to welcome dharma teacher Chimyo Atkinson to Brooklyn.

Chimyo Simone Atkinson currently serves as Assistant Abbess and Head of Practice at Great Tree Zen Women’s Temple in North Carolina. She was ordained a priest in the Soto Zen Buddhist tradition in 2007 and received Dharma Transmission in 2015. She received her monastic training at Great Tree Zen Women’s Temple and completed Sotoshu International training periods (Ango) in Japan in 2010 and 2011. She also completed training periods at the Aichi Senmon Nisodo in Nagoya in 2012 and Ryumonji Monastery in Iowa in 2014.

Chimyo currently volunteers with the sangha at Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institute. She has served on the board of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association since 2017 and helped to draft that organization’s standards for formal monastic practice. She is a member of the Association of Soto Zen Buddhists Jukai-e committee and an SZBA liaison to that organization’s Roadmap Committee.

This is one of the dharma talks she offered at Brooklyn Zen Center.

The BZC audio dharma is available free of charge and made possible by the donations we receive. You can donate to BZC here. Thank you!

Audio dharma talk by Chimyo Atkinson (2020/02/19)

New audio dharma talk by Ian Case!

The BZC audio dharma is available free of charge and made possible by the donations we receive. You can donate to BZC here. Thank you!

Audio dharma talk by Ian Case (2020/05/16)

New audio dharma talk by Shokuchi Deirdre Carrigan!

The BZC audio dharma is available free of charge and made possible by the donations we receive. You can donate to BZC here. Thank you!

Audio dharma talk by Shokuchi Deirdre Carrigan (2020/05/09)

New audio dharma talk by Laura O’Loughlin!

A new dharma talk by BZC’s dharma teacher Laura O’Loughlin is now available!

The BZC audio dharma is available free of charge and made possible by the donations we receive. You can donate to BZC here. Thank you!

Audio dharma talk by Laura O’Loughlin (2020/04/11)

BZC 2018 retreat: dharma talks by BZC’s teachers Kosen Greg Snyder and Laura O’Loughlin

In the summer of 2018, Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC) held its first-ever residential retreat. This special weeklong gathering took place in the farmland of the Watershed Retreat Center in Millerton, a couple of hours north of New York City. This was a very special occasion for our sangha, more than we could realize at the time.

In fact, that retreat laid the ground for the establishment of Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery (AHZM) just a year later! On August 11, 2019, the Brooklyn Zen Center sangha, as well as friends from near and far, came together for the opening ceremony of Sōshinji 宗心寺, Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery. Since then, monastic life has begun in the new temple, with a growing group of residents now following a monastic daily schedule.

We would like to share with you the dharma talks offered by BZC dharma teachers Kosen Gregory Snyder and Laura O’Loughlin during that foundational retreat, back in 2018, in the yurt zendo at Watershed, next to the land that now holds Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery. The talks focused on the seminal Zen teaching poem “Sandokai,” using the translation in the BZC chant book, “Harmony of Difference and Equality,” and Suzuki Roshi’s commentary, “Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness,” as a support for the exploration of the relationship between oneness and multiplicity.

Audio dharma talk by Laura O’Loughlin: Sandokai – part 1 (2018/08/07)

Audio dharma talk by Kosen Greg Snyder: Sandokai – part 2 (2018/08/08)

Audio dharma talk by Laura O’Loughlin: Sandokai – part 3 (2018/08/09)

Audio dharma talk by Kosen Greg Snyder: Sandokai – part 4 (2018/08/10)

Audio dharma talk by Laura O’Loughlin: Sandokai – part 5 (2018/08/11)

Audio dharma talk by Kosen Greg Snyder: Sandokai – part 5 (2018/08/11)

New audio dharma talk!

A new dharma talk by BZC’s dharma teacher Kosen Gregory Snyder is now available.

 

Audio dharma talk by Kosen Greg Snyder: Sesshin Day 1 (2018/03/16)

Audio dharma talk by Teah Strozer (2020/04/01)

A new dharma talk by BZC’s root teacher, Teah Strozer, is now available.

Audio dharma talk by Teah Strozer (2020-04-01)

One way to help

The most important donation you can make is your stable, open-hearted presence for you, your community and all beings with whom you are in contact.

Are you able to embody a bit of peace and love and bring it to your daily activity? Are you practicing at home? Can you spend some time every day in silence or stillness? Are you able to mindfully bring 100 percent attention to each activity in detail? How about paying attention to your feet on the floor or to your posture as you walk from your bed to the toilet?

Make up things to help you remember to bring your attention to your heart area and with kindness and openness to your daily life and the lives of the people around you.

This is the Bodhisattva Path — we get as grounded, open and present as we can and walk with all beings in this mixed up world now dealing with an illness for which it will take all of us together to put to rest.

Please stay safe —
Teah Strozer, Brooklyn Zen Center’s root teacher

Audio dharma talk by Ian Case (2020/04/04)

A new dharma talk by Ian Case is now available.

Audio dharma talk by Ian Case (2020-04-04)

Home altars

In these days of physical distancing, the Brooklyn Zen Center sangha, like spiritual communities around the world, has been practicing at home and through our online zendo. In our dwellings, whatever those may be, spaces for meditation and ritual are now even more cherished. Some of these have been set up for a long time now, others have sprouted in these new days of confinement — little corners to sit zazen, modest altars to offer incense, improvised zafus, tabletops with images of ancestors and tokens of nature. Negotiated spaces between book shelves, squares of room once overlooked, keepsakes now taking on new meanings. Flowers, for those who can get them. Or pictures of flowers, candles, images of the Buddha. Mostly in Brooklyn, but also across the country and around the world, these are some of the home altars of the Brooklyn Zen Center sangha.


Kristin Miscall (pronouns she/her), Roselle, NJ

Maryland

Alexandra Gekas (pronouns she/her), Brooklyn, NY

Inzan Rose, Brooklyn, NY

Laura O’Loughlin, Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery, Millerton, NY

My home altar, with some of my ancestors.


Michelle Marwitz (pronouns she/her), Crown Heights/East New York , Brooklyn, NY

I am so grateful for our sangha and virtual zendo during this time! The support I am receiving from all of our virtual offerings is profound. My regular 20 minute morning sitting has grown to a daily practice of at least two 30 minute sits in the virtual zendo, participation in the streaming of the midday service from AHZM and often a little additional sitting, as well. I’ve also started writing a detailed schedule out for each day which I attempt to stick to fairly strictly, but with some increasing room for ease, compassion and flexibility. Included in my schedule are time for my usual gratitude journaling as well as some Zen study. This time is trying for so many different reasons, but the ways in which my home practice is growing are very precious.


Michael Blong (pronouns he/him or they/them), Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY

My home altar is quite familial and personal to me. The photographs on either side of Buddha are of my grandparents – my maternal grandparents on the left and my paternal grandparents on the right. The censer and candle holder are pottery my mother made, and the censer is filled with small granite and quartz stones from my parents’ back yard. This kind of stone is very typical of the foothills and mountains of Southern California where I grew up and to which I feel rooted. Nestled in front of the Buddha is a small ceramic statuette of a cat-person seated in zazen, which is deeply tied to a dear friend – one of my first outside of family – who had profound effect on my life and practice, and who passed a couple of years back.

Bowing each day to this altar and what it represents – my ancestry, my family, my roots, and the Buddha-held dharma that unfolds through all of them – is a grounding practice, and a healing one. It connects me to a contextualized, historical, and full self. It helps me to remember who I am and where I came from in the midst of this capitalistic, white supremacist, patriarchal cultural context that asks me to cut off from those things. By bowing to this altar and offering incense each day, I am more intimately connected with the vast present by recognizing that it is not separate from my past.


Shokuchi Deirdre Carrigan (pronouns she/her), Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY

The main altar in my home is the altar that expresses my aspiration to practice the Buddha Way, and represents for me the three treasures of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha..

The Bodhisattva of compassion is represented by the photograph of an 11th century Chinese sculpture, Water-Moon Guanyin in the asana (meditation seat) of royal ease. This is a depiction of compassion, meditating and at the same time ready to respond to the cries of the world.

The statue on the altar represents Samantabhadra, the Bodhisattva of practice and meditation. Together with Gautama Buddha and his fellow bodhisattva Mañjuśrī, he forms the Shakyamuni trinity in Buddhism. He is the patron of the Lotus Sutra and, according to the Avatamsaka Sutra, made the ten great vows which are the basis of a bodhisattva. He sits upon a white elephant with six tusks. The ten great vows of Samantabhadra given in the Avatamsaka Sutra are:

  1. To pay homageand respect to all Buddhas.
  2. To praise the Thus Come One-Tathagata.
  3. To make abundant offerings. (e.g. give generously)
  4. To repent misdeeds and evilkarmas.
  5. To rejoice in others’ merits and virtues.
  6. To request the Buddhas to continue teaching
  7. To request the Buddhas to remain in the world.
  8. To follow the teachings of the Buddhas at all times.
  9. To accommodate and benefit all living beings
  10. To transfer all merits and virtues to benefit all beings.

The picture of the lotus with the quote from The Lotus Sutra is from my time as Shuso, when the Green Gulch practice period studied The Lotus Sutra. This short verse for me expresses my aspiration in becoming one who offers Dharma teaching.

On either side of Samantabhadra are photos of me with my beloved teachers, Donald Moyer on the left (at his retirement party) and Tenshin Reb Anderson on the right (after my Shuso ceremony-photographer Ren Bunce.) The great gift of these teachers to me, in addition to their wisdom and compassion, is sangha—the sangha of yogis, the sangha of zen practitioners, and the sangha of Yoga and Zen retreat practitioners, who support my practice every moment.


Bobi, Bed Stuy, Brooklyn

Nick (pronouns he/him/his), Bed Stuy, Brooklyn

I offer incense every morning to my ancestors and invite them to sit with me. All the artwork is my grandmother’s. She was my favorite person, a wonderful folk artist, my original teacher. She loved to sculpt her own ancestors. The one pictured is her father, her meditation on the fruit of many lives. She grew up in the depression, her warm feet and hands radiators in a bed shared with six siblings. I loved her onion soup, holding her hands, and watching her draw. A Ukrainian American Jewish woman who bore witness to the holocaust. The mundane joy that hangs still in her art guides me to remain upright and light and creative as an amaryllis, to be in life, to bear the unbearable.


Maya (pronouns she/her
), Brooklyn, NY

Mimi (pronouns she/they), Crown Heights, Brooklyn

My quasi home altar. I offered a peanut butter cup to the Buddha for the duration of the self-quarantine.


Bianca Ozeri, Sunnyside, Queens

All the way on the right is a photo of my ancestors—my great-great grandfather and my great grandparents.


Camille, Kensington, Brooklyn

A basic altar I use for my daily zazen. A folding table the Zen Center gave away when the Shissui cleared out the storage closet, a (once) large lavender candle, a teeny tiny buddha a sangha buddy gave me from their travel to India, a stub of incense (what’s left after 75 mins of sitting), a sprig of flowers. This Quarantine Practice Period has convinced me to get a ‘real’ (larger-sized) buddha for my altar.


Andrew, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, NY

Adriane (pronouns she/her), near West Side Highway, NYC

Ninso & Andrea, Park Slope, Brooklyn

Yoko Ohashi (pronouns she/her), Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

Bin Jung (pronouns she/her), Seattle, Washington

The altar is located in my attic, which I’ve made into a little zendo. I have a sun lamp for the winter mornings when there’s little light, but I’m using it less now that the days are longer. Yesterday I saw that a bird has made a nest in the rafters outside the window — spring has sprung!


Jeff (pronouns he/him/his), San Antonio, TX

I moved temporarily into my sister’s apartment in Texas to be near my family, and packed this image of the 11-faced Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva. I’ve now transformed some military footlockers and unused beach towels into a temporary altar for my stay. She is my refuge in this time of trouble.


 

Dharma talk by Kosen Greg Snyder: Rohatsu Day 5 (12/15/2019)

A new dharma talk by BZC dharma teacher and senior priest Kosen Greg Snyder is now available.

Dharma talk by Kosen Greg Snyder: Rohatsu Day 5 (12/15/2019)

Dharma talk by Shokuchi Deirdre Carrigan (2020-03-28)

A new dharma talk is now available on the Brooklyn Zen Center Audio Dharma Podcast. This talk was offered by BZC’s Tanto (head of practice), Shokuchi Deirdre Carrigan, via our Online Zendo.

Dharma talk by Shokuchi Deirdre Carrigan (2020-03-28)

Online dharma offerings

Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC) is now offering daily online meditation — all are welcome to join!

Here are the schedule and details to connect:

Morning meditation:
7:15am — session opens
7:30am — zazen (sitting meditation)
8:00am — Robe Chant (PDF available here)
8:15am — session ends

Evening meditation:
6:15pm — session opens
6:30pm — zazen (sitting meditation)
7:00pm — Pali Refuges Chant (PDF available here)
7:15pm — session ends

To join these online offerings, please contact ino@brooklynzen.org in advance.

A few notes:
• If possible, please try to “arrive” 5 minutes before zazen begins, although you are welcome to join anytime during the period.
• We will be using be the same links and phone numbers for the meditation periods each day.
• Please mute your screen when you join the group and during zazen. This will eliminate background noise and the audio feedback loops that can occur. After each meditation period you can unmute and join in the chanting at the end.

The teachers and monastics at Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery are offering a daily well-being service, except Mondays. If you would like to add a name to the list of names to be chanted in the well-being service, please email ahzmshika@brooklynzen.org by 10 am that day.

We are working to bring more BZC’s programs online via livestreaming, including Saturday morning program dharma talks. Please stay tuned for updates.

Recordings of the morning and evening services at the monastery are now available at the BZC You Tube Channel and can be accessed any time and more recordings will soon be added:

The BZC Audio Dharma Podcast continues to be available to all, with dozens of talks by our dharma teachers, senior practitioners and visiting teachers. New talks, previously recorded, continue to be made available every week.

If you have any questions or difficulties, please contact us at info@brooklynzen.org

Thank you for your compassionate care for yourselves and each other.

Dharma talk by Teah Strozer (2020/03/07)

This dharma talk by Brooklyn Zen Center’s root teacher Teah Strozer was the last talk offered at our practice space in Brooklyn.

In this talk, Teah mentions the practice of R.A.I.N. You can learn more about this practice here.

Dharma talk by Teah Strozer (2020/03/07)

New dharma talk by Teah Strozer – updated version

This dharma talk by Brooklyn Zen Center’s root teacher Teah Strozer, at a time when we have been forced to move our practice online, was particularly special. It was the first-ever BZC live streamed dharma talk – more than 70 people were able to join the talk online, from different parts of the world, as Teah and a small group of monastics sat in the mountain zendo at Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery (AHZM).

This is an updated podcast version of the dharma talk, which includes the Q&A portion of the talk.

Dharma talk by Teah Strozer (2020/03/21) – updated

New dharma talk by Teah Strozer

This dharma talk by Brooklyn Zen Center’s root teacher Teah Strozer, at a time when we have been forced to move our practice online, was particularly special. It was the first-ever BZC live streamed dharma talk – more than 70 people were able to join the talk online, from different parts of the world, as Teah and a small group of monastics sat in the mountain zendo at Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery (AHZM).

Dharma talk by Teah Strozer (2020/03/21)

Online dharma offerings from Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery

The teachers and monastics at Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery are now offering several livestream programs via Zoom:
• A daily well-being service, except Mondays. If you would like to add a name to the list of names to be chanted in the well-being service, please email ahzmshika@brooklynzen.org by 10 am that day. The well-being service takes place at 12:20 pm.
• BZC’s root teacher, Teah Strozer, will be offering a dharma talk on Saturday, March 21, at 11 am.

Recordings of the morning and evening services at the monastery are now available at the BZC You Tube Channel and can be accessed any time:
Morning Service
Evening Service

We are working to bring more BZC’s programs online via livestreaming, as well as video recordings via our You Tube channel. Please stay tuned for updates.

In the meantime, the BZC Audio Dharma Podcast continues to be available to all, with dozens of talks by our dharma teachers, senior practitioners and visiting teachers. New talks, previously recorded, continue to be made available every week.

BZC is also offering two daily meditations periods — one period in the morning and one period in the evening — seven days a week, livestreamed via Zoom. More information is available here.

If you have any questions or difficulties, please contact us at info@brooklynzen.org.

Online meditation schedule

Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC) is now offering daily online meditation — all are welcome to join!

BZC is offering two daily meditations periods — one period in the morning and one period in the evening — seven days a week, via Zoom.

Here are the schedule and details to connect:

Morning meditation:
7:15am — session opens
7:30am — zazen (sitting meditation)
8:00am — Robe Chant (PDF available here)
8:15am — session ends

Evening meditation:
6:15pm — session opens
6:30pm — zazen (sitting meditation)
7:00pm — Pali Refuges Chant (PDF available here)
7:15pm — session ends

To join these online offerings, please contact ino@brooklynzen.org in advance.

A few notes:
• If possible, please try to “arrive” 5 minutes before zazen begins, although you are welcome to join anytime during the period.
• We will be using be the same links and phone numbers for the meditation periods each day.
• Please mute your screen when you join the group and during zazen. This will eliminate background noise and the audio feedback loops that can occur. After each meditation period you can unmute and join in the chanting at the end.

If you have any questions or difficulties, please contact us at info@brooklynzen.org.

Thank you again for your compassionate care for yourselves and each other.

Dharma talk by Kosen Greg Snyder: Rohatsu Day 3 (12/13/2019)

A new dharma talk by BZC dharma teacher and senior priest Kosen Greg Snyder is now available.

Dharma talk by Kosen Greg Snyder: Rohatsu Day 3 (12/13/2019)