Our 108 x 108 Campaign

The mission of Brooklyn Zen Center is to cultivate an open community based on Buddha’s teachings of love and interconnectedness.

Our vision is to make BZC a spirited urban refuge, offering the Zen Buddhist tradition in a modern, relevant and approachable way that fosters inclusion and transformation. BZC strives to honor and serve its community, providing a place of support and wisdom for all.

Our 108 x 108 campaign was conceived as a way to help sustain our mission and bring our vision to life. Our three-year goal is to have 108 members contributing at the Sustaining Circle Membership level– at least  $108 dollars per month. This amount would substantially boost our long-term sustainability and viability. Those members who generously contribute at this level are expressing their strong commitment to BZC’s mission and vision in the community and thus become its stewards going forward.

Please consider becoming a Sustaining Circle member today.

BZC Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday

Brooklyn Zen Center will be closed starting Wednesday evening, November 26 through Sunday, November 30th for the Thanksgiving holiday. (We will have zazen on the morning of Wednesday the 26th.)

Our regular meditation schedule will resume on Wednesday morning, December 3rd.

Dharma Talk With Teah This Saturday

Please join us this Saturday for our regular Saturday program. Head teacher Teah Strozer will be giving a dharma talk at 11am after the first period of zazen. Our community lunch will follow. All are welcome.

The full Saturday schedule is as follows:

8:45 am – Doors Open

9:00 am – Meditation Instruction ($10 suggested donation)

10:20 am – Zazen

10:50 am – Kinhin

11:00 am – Dharma talk

11:50 am – Service

12:00pm  – Soji (temple cleaning)

12:20 pm – Community Lunch ($10 suggested donation)

Second Saturday: November 8th

On the second Saturday of each month, Brooklyn Zen Center’s schedule is designed for those who are new to Zen and meditation as well as regulars who may have questions or just want to discuss the practice. Meditation periods are a little shorter so there are more opportunities for questions and discussion than is the case during other Saturdays.

Although all are welcome to join us at anytime during our weekly meditation schedule, those new to meditation and Zen practice are encouraged to come on Second Saturdays. As with any other Saturday, regulars are of course welcome.

The Second Saturday schedule is:

8:45am  – Doors Open
9:00am  – Beginner’s Meditation Instruction
10:00am – Break
10:20am – Meditation
10:40am – Open Discussion with Questions and Responses
11:00am – Talk with Q&R (or another period of meditation if no talk)
11:40am – Guided Service
12:00pm – Community Lunch

For more information about Second Saturdays, please feel free to email us.

Dharma Talk With Greg Snyder Tomorrow

Please join us for our regular Saturday schedule tomorrow morning. As part of the program, shuso Greg Snyder will be giving his second dharma talk as head student, starting at 11am after the first period of zazen. All are welcome. There is a suggested donation of $10 for non-members.

The full Saturday schedule is as follows:

8:45 am – Doors Open

9:00 am – Meditation Instruction ($10 suggested donation)

10:20 am – Zazen

10:50 am – Kinhin

11:00 am – Dharma Talk

11:30 am – Service

11:50 am  – Soji (temple cleaning)

12:20 pm – Community Lunch ($10 suggested donation)

Sangha Night Discussion Tomorrow: Giving

Please join us this Wednesday evening for our weekly sangha night program. All are welcome. The schedule will be as follows:

6:00 pm – Kitchen practice

6:35 pm – Han

6:50 pm – Zazen

7:30 pm – Service

7:40 pm – Soji (temple cleaning)

8:00 pm – Discussion

This week the discussion topic will be the bodhisattva practice of dana, or generosity, following up on head student Greg Snyder’s dharma talk on this subject last Saturday.

The schedule of Saturday dharma talks can be found here.

Sangha Night Schedule

Every Wednesday evening at 8pm our community comes together to discuss our practice and other issues facing the community. The schedule of topics for the fall is below:

10/1        Community Meeting
10/8        Practice Period Opening Ceremony & Shuso (Head Student) Entry Ceremony
10/15      Shuso Way-Seeking Mind Talk
10/22      Social Night
10/29      Paramita Discussion: Generosity
11/5        Paramita Discussion: Ethical Practice
11/12      Community Meeting
11/19      Paramita Discussion: Patience
11/26      Lotus Sutra Study
12/3        Paramita Discussion: Enthusiasm
12/17      Community Meeting

Practice Zen in the Kitchen!

If you are interested in bringing the mind of meditation to cooking, you are very welcome to join us on Wednesday evenings from 6–6:30pm and Saturday mornings from 9–11am as we prepare food for our Saturday community lunches.

Under the guidance of our kitchen head, Laura O’Loughlin, and our head teacher, Teah Strozer, you will be taking up Zen kitchen practice, where we train in the presence and care for one’s life, one’s nourishment and the gifts of the earth. Our practice is to deeply connect with our activity and life. Our relationship to the preparation of food reveals our relationship to all being. The many hindrances to a present mind and loving heart become evident as we mindfully chop carrots or peel ginger. Because our cooking practice is a profound mirror revealing the habits of mind in each moment, we consider the Zen kitchen to be a second meditation hall.

Whether you are new to Zen or have been sitting meditation for awhile, working in the kitchen is a wonderful way to enter practice or deepen your understanding of the self through mindful activity. In Zen, shared activity is the training. We come and work together to support ourselves and one another with our presence. Our way is rooted in thousands of years of monastic practice where all work is done in silence and functional speech so that we can be with our activity completely. 

Our kitchen practice is rooted in 13th Century Zen Teacher, Eihei Dogen’s book, Instructions to the Cook. In this text he lays out how Zen practitioners are to regard and work with food. Focusing our attention on the preciousness of life, he encourages those in the kitchen to “see the pot as your own head, see the water as your lifeblood.” Not only will we prepare food together, we will refer to this text from time-to-time as a way of deepening our understanding of mind, heart and life.

Zen Kitchen Training supports you in:

  • Bringing sacred presence to the preparation of food
  • Entering Zen practice through mindful activity
  • Allowing meditation to spread into the everydayness of life
  • Learning to prepare healthy, organic, vegetarian meals
  • Having a sense of our ancient, Zen cooking practice

Our culture has lost many of the opportunities to experience the joy of preparing meals together. Though it was once integral to our human life, we now reserve it for holidays and special occasions. We enthusiastically invite you to share in this nourishing practice of realizing our deeply interconnected life through the shared care of food. 

If you are interested in taking part, please email the head of the kitchen at tenzo[at]brooklynzen[dot]org. 

Thank you and we look forward to making meals together, and don’t forget to join us on Saturdays to eat the lunch you helped prepare!

Dharma Talk With Grace Schireson Tonight

Please join us tonight for a special dharma talk with Grace Schireson at 8pm. The title of her talk is “The Self–Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Without It.” Please register here.

Myoan Grace Schireson, PhD, is a Zen Abbess, president of Shogaku Zen Institute (a Zen teachers’ training seminary), and holds a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. She received Dharma Transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman Roshi in the Shunryu Suzuki Roshi Zen lineage. The late Fukushima Keido Roshi of Tofukuji Monastery, Kyoto asked her to teach the koan she studied with him during her practice there. Abbess Myoan Grace leads two practice centers and a retreat center, Empty Nest Zendo, under the Central Valley Zen Foundation
Abbess Myoan Grace is the author of Zen Women: Beyond Tea Ladies, Iron Maidens and Macho Masters (Wisdom, 2009), and has published articles in Shambhala Sun, Buddhadharma and Tricycle magazines. She has also been anthologized in The Book of Mu, Receiving the Marrow, The Hidden Lamp, and Seeds of Virtue, Seeds of Change as well as in a book on spiritual training: The Arts of Contemplative Care.  She has been married for 46 years, and lives with her husband part time on Stanford campus and at her Zen retreat center, Empty Nest Zendo in North Fork, California. She has two grown sons and four grandchildren.

 

 

The Practice of Wholehearted Activity

From Zen’s inception in China, wholehearted presence in activity has always been considered integral to our practice. Habits of mind are clarified when the body is still in meditation as well as when the body intends toward this very same presence in daily activity. Both stillness and activity are required to see clearly what hinders our liberation from the mental habits causing us unnecessary suffering. Brooklyn Zen Center provides not only a place for practicing meditation and studying Buddhist teachings, but a community-supported opportunity to encourage in your own life a continuity of presence in activity.

All practitioners – to the degree each is able – take part in the care of our practice, the community and our physical building. The overall care of the community is coordinated by five roles, four of which have a crew – or ryo as we often call them – addressing the many details of an area. These leadership roles have both a functional responsibility to ensure their areas are addressed as well as a practice responsibility to encourage wholehearted activity in all that we do. In being wholehearted or fully present in what we are doing, we are embodying the liberated mind and heart of non-separation and freedom. Shunryu Suzuki wrote, “When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.” We invite you to participate in this wholehearted effort that burns up the self-clinging at the root of suffering. 

The five leadership roles are:

Tenzo (Head of the Kitchen) The Tenzo leads the care of the kitchen and supports kitchen practice for the community. Ordering food, organizing meal preparation and caring for the overall kitchen falls under the purview of the Tenzo. The Tenzo takes on the kitchen as heart, mind and body. The Tenzoryo, or kitchen crew, is the practice group that takes care of the kitchen and helps with meals. In Zen, we consider the kitchen a second meditation hall as meal preparation is a powerful mirror for showing us the mind. Please read here for more on kitchen practice. If you are interested in learning more about kitchen practice, please email the Tenzo at tenzo[at]brooklynzen[dot]org.

Ino (Head of the Meditation Hall) The Ino leads the care of the meditation hall and supports all meditation and ritual practice for the community. Caring for the zendo (meditation hall), training and supporting those on the doanryo, and organizing ceremonies are only some of the many responsibilities of the Ino. The Ino takes on the zendo as heart, mind and body. The doanryo is the collective name for the practitioners who have decided to make the carrying out of our ritual forms a part of their wider Zen practice. Those on the doanryo time meditation, lead chants and sound bells and other instruments to hold the container of meditation. Like the kitchen, this practice too is a powerful mirror for the mind. If you are interested in learning more about doanryo practice, please email the Ino at ino[at]brooklynzen[dot]org.

Shika (Guest Manager) The Shika leads the care for our guests and supports all processes around the welcoming and following up with those who come to our center. Greeting and providing information to those new to our community, making arrangements for those coming to retreat from out of town, supporting visiting teachers and generally creating a welcoming environment at Brooklyn Zen Center are among the responsibilities of the Shika. The Shika takes on all guests as heart, mind and body. Those on the shikaryo have decided to make the practice of welcoming, inclusivity and cultivating an open space for others integral to their Zen practice. If you are interested in learning more about shikaryo practice, please email the Shika at shika[at]brooklynzen[dot]org.

Work Leader  The Work Leader leads the care of our physical facility and supports all work practice for the community. Organizing work periods and work days, ensuring the maintenance of appliances and equipment, ordering supplies and overseeing the cleanliness and upkeep of the space are some of the responsibilities of the Work Leader. The Work Leader takes on the physical facility as heart, mind and body. Those who are on the work crew often have skills useful for taking care of the center. That said, this is not required. Those who join the work crew are Zen practitioners who find joy in caring for our beautiful loft space and making sure it is maintained for our practice together. If you are interested in learning more about work crew practice, please email the Work Leader at workleader[at]brooklynzen[dot]org.

Director The director leads the organizational administration at the Brooklyn Zen Center. All administrative volunteers including the Treasurer, Program Director all board committee chairs – communications, development, finance, inclusivity, membership and planning – report to the Director. The Director takes on the administration and operations of the organization as heart, mind and body. If you are interested in volunteering on any administrative committees or roles, please email the Director at director[at]brooklynzen[dot]org. 

Our aim is to have two people sharing the responsibilities of each of the ryo leadership roles. The Head Teacher invites Zen students to take up the role of Tenzo, Ino, Shika or Work Leader as a way of deepening their practice. Usually these roles are filled by community members who have been practicing for sometime.

All are encouraged to contact the various ryo leaders to take up these various expressions of wholehearted activity in order to experience the true richness of Zen practice. We welcome and want your to support your interests. We hope that you will join us, both on the cushion and in community activity together.

Regular Schedule Resumes This Week

The regular weekly meditation schedule at BZC will resume this Wednesday, September 3rd with morning zazen starting at 7:30am and our members night that evening. The full meditation schedule can be found here.

Please note that our regular Saturday schedule will not be taking place on September 6th due to our one-day sit. The next public Saturday program will be our Second Saturday, September 13th.

Fall Classes at BZC

The Dharma is one of the three treasures of the Buddha way. At Brooklyn Zen Center, we offer many opportunities for studying and engaging the teaching. BZC will be offering four new dharma classes this fall, all starting in September.

Please click below for more information on each class and to register.

 

The Four Foundations of Mindfulness

A 10-week class led by Larry Lane
Tuesdays, September 16th through November 18th, 8:00 to 9:15pm
$150/$100 for BZC members

Hidden Wisdom: the Teachings of Our Female Zen Ancestors

A 10-week class led by Laura O’Loughlin
Fridays, September 19th through December 5th, 7:00 to 8:15pm
$150/$100 for BZC members

 

Fall Practice Period

A practice period is one of the main offerings necessary for deepening the practice of a committed urban practitioner. Developing continuity of presence in daily life is fundamental–as is sitting more zazen.

During the practice period this fall, shuso (head student) Greg Snyder will be teaching and discussing  the fundamental practices of a bodhisattva–an awakening person practicing for all beings. This is our path. These are the 6 practices, or perfections, of the bodhisattva: generosity, ethics, patience, energy, meditation and wisdom.

Please consider filling in a practice period commitment form and joining our community for this period of intensification of our practice life. There will be a special shuso ceremony will be at the end of our 5-day Rohatsu sesshin in December.

The truth of our your deepest request awaits your discovery.

Limited August Schedule

Please note that Brooklyn Zen Center will be operating on a limited schedule from August 1st through September 2nd. During this time, we will switch over to a Saturday-only meditation schedule (ie, there will be no weekday meditation periods).

The Saturday schedule for August will be as follows:

9:00am Meditation instruction
10:20am Zazen
10:50am Kinhin (walking meditation)
11:00am Zazen
11:30am End

Our regular weekly meditation schedule will resume on Wednesday, September 3rd. Have a great summer!

Reb Anderson Talks Added Online

Just a heads up that the talks from Reb Anderson’s 5-day retreat last month have been added to our online archive of recorded dharma talks:

The Perfection of Wisdom and the Bodhisattva’s Good Friendship – Part 1 (06/11/2014)

The Perfection of Wisdom and the Bodhisattva’s Good Friendship – Part 2 (06/12/2014)

The Perfection of Wisdom and the Bodhisattva’s Good Friendship – Part 3 (06/13/2014)

The Perfection of Wisdom and the Bodhisattva’s Good Friendship – Part 4 (06/14/2014)

Our online archive is updated regularly. Please check back often. Enjoy!

Closed for the 4th of July

Please note that Brooklyn Zen Center will be closed this Friday for the 4th of July holiday — but we will be open for our regular Saturday program on the 5th.

The full Saturday schedule is as follows:

8:45am Doors open
9:00am Meditation instruction ($10 suggested donation)
10:20am Zazen
10:50am Kinhin (walking meditation)
11:00am Zazen
11:30am Service
11:50am Soji
12:15pm End of day

Please feel free to take part in any or all of the schedule.

Spring Retreat Snapshot

At Brooklyn Zen Center we do our best to offer monthly opportunities for longer sitting meditation. If you are new, a one-day sit is a great way to try out a more extended sitting practice. The day is more flexible and shorter than our longer retreats. We also offer three and five-day retreats with our head teacher, Teah Strozer, and visiting teachers. Please keep checking the website for updates on offerings.

Spring Schedule

Saturday, May 24th: May One-day Sit With Teah Strozer, 9am–5pm – Registration is closed.

Wednesday, June 11th through Sunday, June 15th: Five-day Retreat With Reb Anderson – Register here