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

Friday Night Zen with Drepung Loseling

This Friday, April 8th, Friday Night Zen will be meeting offsite for a performance by the Tibetan Monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery in lower Manhattan. Please email fnz@brooklynzen.org to confirm your attendance and reserve your seat.

Transcendent Arts of Tibet: Sacred Music, Sacred Dance
The Winter Garden at Brookfield Place
230 Vesey St, NYC
Friday, April 8
7:30 – 8:45pm
FREE (reserved seats with RSVP to fnz@brooklynzen.org)

Tenshin Reb Anderson’s Retreat

Here is a message from our teacher Greg Snyder:

Join us in welcoming Senior Dharma Teacher, Tenshin Reb Anderson.

As he is getting older, Tenshin Reb Anderson is reducing the number of places he’s offering retreat outside of his home at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in California. He is only considering travel to three places this year and Brooklyn Zen Center is one of them. As he wants to serve the most people possible, he is choosing to travel to those places where the most people want to attend sesshin.

It is very possible this will be the last time Tenshin Reb Anderson will be able to come and teach in our community. I would strongly encourage you not to miss an opportunity to be in a retreat with him if it is at all possible for you. Tenshin Reb Anderson was a student of Suzuki Roshi and has been living and practicing in monastic community for fifty years. He is a wonderful teacher and presence, bringing something to our practice at Brooklyn Zen Center that few can.

As it becomes more rare that we are able to welcome Tenshin Reb Anderson at the Brooklyn Zen Center, we invite you to join us in sharing this opportunity, by registering TODAY and securing sufficient attendance before April 10th.

Registration extended for Vedanta Study Retreat (April 1-3)

Registration is extended to midnight, March 29th, for our 3-day Vedanta Study Retreat with visiting teacher Sri Swaminiji Svatmavidyananda Saraswati, so please sign up soon! The retreat runs April 1 to April 3.

We have lowered the base rate to $150 as a way to increase accessibility and hope you are able to take advantage of this offering. Partial attendance is allowed, and both new and seasoned practitioners are welcomed.

Click here to learn more and register.

This week at BZC

Hello Brooklyn Bodhisattvas,

This week at BZC we have a few things happening (and not happening)!

  • Today, March 6, is the scholarship deadline for our upcoming three-day retreat with visiting teacher Rev. angel Kyodo williams (March 18-20). Scholarship applications are available here; please submit your application by midnight tonight. The regular registration deadline is March 9.
  • On Tuesday, March 8, Qigong is CANCELLED. We will be back at it the following week; for more information about this weekly drop-in class go here.
  • On Saturday afternoon, March 12, artist Kikuko Morimoto is leading a workshop on art and mindfulness. You can read more and sign up here. (Saturday morning we are ALSO having our monthly Beginner’s Second Saturday program.)
  • The kitchen is closed again this week. Kitchen practice will begin again when our Practice Period opens on March 16.

See you at BZC soon.


New scholarship policy

Below is BZC’s new scholarship policy. Please read!

Scholarship Policy
  • no one turned away from weekly meditation schedule for lack of funds
  • BZC offers partial scholarships on a first come, first serve basis
  • Scholarships are generally restricted to two (2) per person, per year
  • A minimum of $15/day per day for retreats is required
  • Scholarships applications are generally due one (1) week in advance of the registration deadline, but sometime farther in advance

BZC offers only partial scholarships for sitting longer retreats. While no one turned away from weekly meditation schedule for lack of funds, BZC asks for a minimum contribution (dana) for deepening practice and longer retreats. Due to limited resources, we do not offer scholarships for classes or workshops at this time.

Scholarships for retreats are offered on a sliding scale basis to allow participants to pay according to individual means. By considering and giving at the highest amount you currently have means for, your generosity directly supports our capacity to meet the growing number of requests we receive.  A minimum of $15/day for retreats is required.

Scholarships are distributed on a first come, first serve basis, and are generally restricted to two (2) per person, per year. While we cannot directly meet the needs of all BZC scholarship applicants, please know that each application will receive a response and we will do our best to support you in deepening your dharma practice.

Upcoming Events and Website Reorganization

Dear bodhisattvas,

I hope you enjoyed the snow! Here is a little update on a few things that are coming up at BZC.

First of all, we’ve changed a couple things on the brooklynzen.org website. To see upcoming one-day sits, half-day sits, and dharma talks, check out this page: https://brooklynzen.org/dharma-offerings/. Three-day and longer sits are athttps://brooklynzen.org/sesshins/, and sound baths and related body-mind offerings are at https://brooklynzen.org/contemplative-arts/. Alternatively, you can find event registration pages via the calendar as well.

There are some great classes coming up very soon:


We have a number of longer workshops and sits in the spring. I know it is a little ways off, but it is especially important that we have at least 40 sign-ups for Reb’s sesshin in May! If you know you are coming to that, registration is OPEN so please sign up (otherwise it may be cancelled).


Take care & stay warm. See you at BZC!

Kitchen Practice Notice

The BZC kitchen is on break for the beginning of 2016. The next Wednesday kitchen practice will be on February 17th. After that, it will be March 16th when we start Wednesday kitchen practice every week.

a message from teah about rohatsu sesshin

Rohatsu Sesshin is now available for registration!

This is our main community sitting event, and if you are engaged with the Brooklyn Zen Center community, please feel strongly encouraged to participate. Here is a message from Teah, our head teacher.

Dear community,

I would like to offer a gentle reminder to sign up for sesshin.

On a personal note, it is easy for my heart to open when I sit with people who are true to their practice, who want to find peace and love and want a deeper understanding of life.

I believe, i know, that we are each under all the mental noise and old karmic conditioning, open, loving, wise and gentle people each expressing the truth in our own wonderfully idiosyncratic way.

Something special happens when we sit day after day with ourselves and with each other.
We begin to see through the judgements (inner and outer), through the stories, through the
emotions of doubt and pride past happy and sad, right and wrong. The mind when allowed,
quiets and returns to its natural spaciousness.

Retreat is deeply nurturing and healing. Retreat takes patience and courage. Retreat takes a willingness to be what we are, first superficially and then deeper and deeper. To know that depth is to live life from a different place. To be that place is to be a benefit to all beings.

If you are interested please make this a priority.
Give this to yourself and ultimately to everyone in your life.

thank you for listening and for considering joining us
heart to heart


Registration closes this Friday, so please sign up! The retreat runs from 7 to 13 December, but you can also sit 9-13 December if you prefer. Click here to read more.