Announcing Brooklyn Zen Center’s First End-Of-Year Campaign!

Thank you very much for your ongoing support of Brooklyn Zen Center. Your contributions in the form of practice and membership are an essential and abundant expression of the power of sangha and interbeing. We simply could not do what we do without you.

BZC is now starting its 12th year in Brooklyn. This year BZC co-founder Greg Snyder received dharma transmission from Teah Strozer and became a lineage holder in the Suzuki Roshi lineage of Soto Zen, further rooting this lineage in New York. Our Awake Youth Project, now in its 7th year, has continued its work of introducing teens to the transformative practices of mindfulness and meditation. Our POC and Undoing Whiteness and Oppression groups are thriving, bringing awareness and resilience to the structures of oppression. Over the last few years, BZC has gained increasing recognition for lifting up socially engaged dharma and contributing to the growing nation-wide efforts to build inclusive practice spaces. All the while, people continue to come to the center to sit and reconnect with stillness in the midst of a busy world.

So Brooklyn Zen Center’s mission—to cultivate an open community based on the Buddha’s teachings of love and interconnectedness—is very much alive.

But we very much need your help to keep it going. Which is why this year, we have launched BZC’s first ever end of year campaign. Our goal for this campaign is to raise $100,000 by December 31st. With your help, we can ensure that the doors of BZC remain open for the year to come: we will be able to support our directorship, our small part-time staff, and help cover our operational expenses. All of this will allow us to sustain all of the programs that embody our mission.

With December 31st less than 3 weeks away, would you consider a gift of $5, $25, $108, $1000 and upwards at this time?

Know that each and every gift lifts up our collective intention to sustain our center, our programs, and our practice for the coming year. Because your gift matters. As we bring our practice into our families, our communities, into the city and beyond, there is no way of telling how many people are touched or how far the ripples may extend.

Thank you always for your practice.

In gratitude,

Danielle Saint Louis

Executive Director, Brooklyn Zen Center, Co-Founder of Love Circle Sangha

P.S. To date, we have raised $7,481 towards a matching grant of $20,000. Please help us make our goal of $100,000 by December 31st and to secure the $20,000 match donation, with a tax-deductible gift today.

Rohatsu and Winter Break Closures

Brooklyn Zen Center will be closed to the public from December 5th through December 11th for our 7-day Rohatsu sesshin.

In addition, we will be closed for winter break starting Monday, December 19th and will resume with morning zazen on Tuesday, January 10th. Our weekly meditation schedule will be suspended during this period, but affiliate sanghas and affinity groups may still be meeting during this time. Please reach out to your group leader for more information or reach out to us directly at info@brooklynzen.org.

Thanksgiving and Rohatsu Closures

Brooklyn Zen Center will be closed after morning meditation on Wednesday, November 23rd (so, there will be no Wednesday evening program) and will resume with morning zazen on Tuesday, November 29th.

In addition, we’ll be closed to the public from December 5th through December 11th for our 7-day Rohatsu sesshin.

Ian’s Priest Ordination

Ian’s ordination has been completed. Please observe the pictures below. Thank you deeply to everyone who supported!

ianord1 ianord2 ianord3 ianord4

Dear community,

The Soto Zen ceremony for community members that take a formal vows as a renunciate is truly a precious event. On this occasion, our support of one another as a collective and continuous stream with our ancestors and descendants is felt deeply. Early in my time practicing at BZC, I participated in a sesshin (retreat) where this ceremony was offered. I was truly humbled by the felt sense of the lineage of passing on dharma teachings from warm hand to warm hand. The dharma is deep and lovely.

On Sunday, October 23rd, Ian Case will be taking vows as a renunciate in a priest ordination ceremony at BZC. Please enjoy this beautiful message from Ian and consider his invitation to support through this life transition. Friends and sangha members are invited attend the ceremony which will follow the end of a 3-day retreat at BZC. Please arrive by 1:20pm in order to be settled before the ceremony starts.

Bless,

Danielle Saint Louis, BZC Executive Director and Co-Founder of Love Circle Sangha

Greg Snyder attends The Social Engagment and Liberation Conference in Nagpur, India

BZC’s Senior Teacher Greg Snyder travelled to India this month for a gathering of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists. They are gathering at the Nagaloka school in Nagpur, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s conversion, and the birth of India Buddhist movement, widespread among Dalit communities. The anniversary celebration of Dr. Ambedkar’s conversion will be celebrated at Nagpur’s Diksha Bhumi, the conversion ground where he stood to become a Buddhist in October of 1956. This memorial will bring together more than a million Buddhists from Maharastra, other provinces of India and internationally

Please see this Union Theological Seminary blog link for updates from Greg and his travel companion Cláudio Carvalhaes, Associate Professor of Worship.

Likewise, we invite you to join us in welcoming Greg upon his return, when he will be offering a dharma talk sharing more about his experiences on Saturday, October 29th

Membership drive runs through October 1!

Brooklyn Zen Center is approaching the final week of our 2016 membership drive! This year’s membership drive coincides with the debut of our new Beginner’s Mind Experience – a 3-month program that gives members an introduction to Brooklyn Zen Center’s offerings.

All members are invited to take part in the Beginner’s Mind Experience. All you have to do is become a member and RSVP to join the program by September 28th.

As an extra special incentive, we will be holding a raffle at the end of our membership drive, open to all NEW members and any ongoing members who choose to increase their membership pledge.

WHY BECOME A MEMBER NOW?

As our fall practice period opens, it is a perfect time for new and old students alike to settle into practice and to settle into community. Many students find that the opportunity to practice at BZC offers them a vibrant, authentic way to explore their meditation practice and connect with others on the path.

Membership at BZC is the foundation that supports our ongoing programs, our weekly meditation schedule, practice space, and teachers. We come together to take care of the practice and community that takes care of us. If Brooklyn Zen Center has supported your practice, please support the source and become a member today.

Questions? Please email Leah at membership@brooklynzen.org.

Regular Schedule Resumed; Fall Practice Period starts Sept 28th (DATE CHANGED)

Our full regular meditation schedule resumed on Tuesday, September 6 with morning zazen starting at 7am.

Our fall practice period will officially open on Wednesday, September 28 (Note: DATE CHANGED). Please click here to submit a practice period intention form.

Please read these messages from our Tanto (head of practice) and our Guiding Teacher.

Dear Sangha,

I am looking forward to us all returning to practice together after our summer interim schedule. As Teah mentioned, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as Tanto for the Brooklyn Zen Center community.  I feel we have such a strong and sincere practice at BZC and I will work closely with the leadership of BZC to help us sustain and strengthen our practice offerings. Please know I am here to support the intention and effort of each of you who come to our center, whether you are walking in the door for the first time or have been practicing at BZC for many years.

Each fall, BZC creates a container called a “practice period”.  Practice periods are a time where we can be supported in deepening our connection to the “three jewels”- Buddha, Dharma and Sangha- by committing to attending some or all of the various offerings available during this time. This practice period we will also have a head student who will be there to encourage us as well as a priest ordination.

I strongly encourage each of you who would like to participate in the practice period to fill out the following form that outlines the practice period events (see below). It can be so encouraging and helpful to be able to clarify and state your intention to another! Please email or hand me your practice period form before September 14th.  I have attached it in both pages as well as a word document (which would allow you to submit online).
I will also make sure there are printed copies at BZC.  Feel free to email me with any questions you have about this.

With appreciation,

Laura

 

Dear Community Members,

As you know each fall we remind ourselves of our commitment to practice in community.

Brooklyn Zen Center provides various opportunities to support the deepening of your practice. These include renewing vows (if you have taken them); taking a class; recommitting to attending community zazen periods; coming to Saturday and Wednesday programs; meeting with a practice leader regularly and generally reminding ourselves of our deepest yearning to wake up together with all people everywhere.  I encourage you to do the Fall Practice Period including the December Rohatsu retreat.

In particular, I’d like to take this opportunity to announce that Greg Snyder will be stepping up as a newly transmitted teacher and stepping down as our outgoing Tanto. This is a very happy development as i’m sure you all know.

Laura will be stepping up as Tanto. This too is a joyous occasion as I have asked her to step further forward in her position as a lay teacher for our community. She will have many wonderful teaching responsibilities including overseeing those in formal practice roles and providing training, encouragement and help with practice to all students.  If you would like to know more please ask Laura. I hope you will take advantage of meeting with her in practice discussion and letting her offer you various training suggestions and opportunities.

I am looking forward to being with you all again.

May this Fall Practice Period continue to build intimacy in the community, joy in training and clarity in our daily lives within this troubled time in our country.

With respect and appreciation,
Teah
Guiding Teacher
Brooklyn Zen Center

Summer Interim Schedule Starts July 25

Our summer interim schedule will go into effect on Monday, July 25th and run through Monday, September 5 (Labor Day). During this time, the weekday meditation periods will be suspended and we will only have zazen on Saturday mornings. Please note that we will continue to offer meditation instruction on Saturday mornings at 9am during this time. BZC will be completely closed on Labor Day weekend, September 3-5. The summer interim Saturday schedule will be as follows:

9am meditation instruction

10:20am zazen (sitting meditation)

10:50am kinhin (walking meditation)

11:00am zazen

11:30am end

Our regular meditation schedule will resume on Tuesday, September 6th.

 

BZC to Close for Ceremony, July 8-18

Brooklyn Zen Center will be closed for a special dharma transmission ceremony from Friday, July 8th at 9:30am through Monday, July 18th. There will be no public programming at BZC during this time. During this ceremony, our head teacher Teah Strozer will be transmitting the empowerment to teach and carry on the Suzuki Roshi lineage.

If you would like to support this ceremony, please consider making a contribution on our FirstGiving page here. Your contribution will help ensure the transmission of this profound lineage to future generations.

Thank you!

 

Dharma Talk With Teah Strozer, June 18

Please join us on Saturday, June 18th, at 11am for a dharma talk with our guiding teacher Teah Strozer. The topic of the talk will be practicing in relationships.

The dharma talk will follow a period of zazen starting at 10:20am. Meditation instruction will be at 9am.

About Teah

Our head teacher is Teah Strozer. Teah is a Zen Buddhist priest, dharma teacher, and lineage-holder in the Soto Zen tradition of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. She received dharma transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman. Teah has been practicing meditation since 1967, lived at Tassajara Monastery for 11 years, and has studied directly under Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Dainin Katagiri Roshi. Teah has taught for many years at the San Francisco Zen Center and also at the Bay School of San Francisco, where she served as the chaplain. She currently divides her time between San Francisco and Brooklyn, visiting our community throughout the year to teach and lead extended meditation retreats and practice periods.

 

Radical Dharma Book Launch on June 19th

On Sunday, June 19th, at 5pm, Brooklyn Zen Center will be hosting the book launch party for RADICAL DHARMA: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation by Reverend angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens, and Jasmine Syedullah. This urgent call to action outlines a new dharma that takes into account the ways that racism and privilege prevent our collective awakening. We will have copies for sale at the event, and you can also pre-order copies here.

Upcoming on Wednesday Evenings

As part of our ongoing rotation of dharma offerings on Wednesday evenings at Brooklyn Zen Center, we look at the various ways that our practice comes alive in the body and how it manifests as a lived experience in the world. We are pleased to announce two upcoming offerings that share this focus:

Zen and the Art of Breathing

with Kristen Davis • Wednesday, May 25, 8-9pm

In this embodied practice, we will explore the breath. How do our conditioning and physical habits affect our breath? 

The Relative Reality of Gender

with Chance Krempasky, Eloise Mayton, and Finn Schubert • Wednesday, June 8, 7:30-9:30pm

In this interactive workshop, we will explore our lived experiences with and ideas about gender, through games, writing prompts, and discussion in groups and pairs. 

Upcoming for Beginners

There is a Zen saying, “Not knowing is most intimate,” and in this spirit we are grateful for all beginners who visit Brooklyn Zen Center. If you are new to Zen and are curious about a supportive way to enter the practice, here are some ways to join us this spring.

Half-Day Sits: April 24, May 29, & June 26

A half-day sit is an excellent opportunity to deepen your practice with others and sit a little longer than you are accustomed. It’s also a gentle way to prepare for the longer retreats that we offer throughout the year. This special sit is offered for beginners and those with beginners’ minds.

Doors open at 9:30am, and the program runs from 10am-1pm. There will be 30-minute meditation periods, walking meditation, discussion, and a short talk. Please bring your questions and open minds!  

Cost: Sustaining $40 / Base $35 / Member $20. Partial scholarships are available. You can find more information on our Half-Day sits here.

Four Foundations of Mindfulness Class, May 3-June 7, 8:00-9:15pm

This six-week class will explore the questions: What is mindfulness? Why do we practice it? According to The Buddha, the deepest truths aren’t remote or mysterious but available through direct awareness of our own experience. The seemingly modest practice of attending to each momentbody, breath, feelings, states of mind, phenomenacan bring insight and peace into our daily lives and ultimately the freedom from suffering. In a culture devoted to frantic distraction and materialism, these insights, whether we merely glimpse them or realize them fully, can transform how we live in the world.

This class takes a practice-based approach, using classroom exercises and drawing on students’ life experiences. Both new and experienced meditators are warmly welcome. For more information about this class, and to register, please visit here.

Meditation in Everyday Life Class, June 2-July 7, 7-8:30pm

In this six-week class, we will practice releasing each thought, emotion, and sensation as they arise: exploring how these passing phenomena are not who we truly are and how identifying with them causes suffering. By meeting the mind in the stillness of the body and allowing the breath to be our gentle guide, this class will introduce students to transformative body-mind practices from various Buddhist traditions, offering a safe container to navigate ourselves back to wholeness. We will practice methods that help us pay closer attention to what is happening in the body, bring awareness to our habitual reactions, and generate a deeper sense of self-compassion.

For more information about this class, and to register, please visit here.

Second Saturdays: May 14 & June 11

On the Second Saturday of each month, we offer meditation instruction, short periods of meditation, and a discussion with question and responses. This is freely offered, and we are deeply grateful for $10 donations for those who are able to contribute.

The Second Saturday schedule

8:45am  – Doors Open

9:00am  – Meditation Instruction

10:00am – Break

10:20am – Meditation

10:40am – Open Discussion with Questions and Responses

11:00am – Talk with Questions and Responses (or another period of sitting meditation if no talk)

11:40am – Guided Service

12:00pm – Community Lunch

For more information, please feel free to email us.

Stillsound: Mariel Berger on May 14

On Saturday, May 14 at 7pm, we will be hosting the second concert in our Stillsound series! Join us for this special evening of intertwining meditation & music, featuring Mariel Berger. Register here. Our next concert will be on June 25th with Afara.

The Stillsound Concert Series offers music experiences as communal and profound as group meditation. Each concert begins with a 30-minute silent meditation in which musicians and listeners sit together. This enables us to open ourselves to the sonic landscape, and the performance itself becomes an extension of our meditation practice.

Each event concludes with a short discussion, in which performers may speak about the mindfulness practices they bring to composition, improvisation, and performance. Afterwards, we will have time to linger, have tea, and be together.

The Stillsound Concert Series features a variety of traditional and contemporary musical genres. Please read about our upcoming concerts here.

AYP Retreat: Free to Be Me, Apr 29-30

FREE TO BE ME: A Youth Meditation and Mindfulness Retreat, April 29-30, 2016

“Mindfulness has had an ongoing impact in my life. My experiences with meditation really changed my way of thought and brought me to be more mindful towards my way of thinking, acting, and living. Now this is my time to share my experiences with my friends and family.”—Richardson Louissaint, AYP Peer Leadership Trainee

On April 29th and April 30th, the Brooklyn-based Awake Youth Project (AYP) will host its first-ever youth meditation and mindfulness retreat, “Free to Be Me”.  

A youth meditation and mindfulness retreat is an engaging experience that offers the chance to immerse ourselves in meditation practice (sitting, walking meditation, Metta/kindness sits, etc.), as well as honest and safe discussions, small group workshops, wisdom talks, and other interactive activities that help build an awareness of ourselves and others.

Empowering young people on their path toward liberation is a core mission of Brooklyn Zen Center and Awake Youth Project. We are committed to making this practice accessible for all. You can help by donating to AYP’s scholarship campaign. Your donations will directly fund ten scholarships for teens across the New York City area to attend this retreat.

These ten scholarships will cover:

* Retreat registration fees at $130 per teen

* Four organic tasty meals, plus healthy snacks  

* Subway fare to and from the retreat on Friday and Saturday

* Any additional expenses and supplies

To offer your support, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/aypretreat

Please note that these donations are not tax-deductible.

For more information on this retreat, and to register, please visit http://www.awakeyouth.org/events.  Please share widely with anyone who might benefit from this retreat. The registration deadline is Friday, April 15.

“My practice involves learning how to show up positively but still show up as myself. No more, no less, accepting me for all of who I am. And sometimes it can be challenging to work on my practice being surrounded by the negativity that lurks in the city setting. Retreats (and even attending the AYP every Tuesday and Thursday) give me an opportunity to work on that practice…to have the conversations worth having…to slow down & add a substantial amount of mindfulness to my everyday living.”—Armani-Marie Mendez, AYP Peer Leadership Trainee