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).
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 email@example.com 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
7:15am — session opens
7:30am — zazen (sitting meditation)
8:00am — Robe Chant (PDF available here)
8:15am — session ends
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again for your compassionate care for yourselves and each other.
As many of you know, we have been monitoring the situation and spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in New York. Last night, the Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC) Board and Practice Council met and we decided to suspend all public programming at BZC until April 13. This is effective immediately, so there will be no public program this evening. We will continue to monitor this changing situation and assess whether it seems safe to reopen April 13 or remain closed for a longer period of time.
This was not an easy decision, but it felt like the best way to care for the health and well-being of our community and also to help minimize the conditions for the virus’s spread at this time. We were strengthened in our decision by knowing that this is what many other religious and educational facilities are doing in the city.
We want to continue to offer opportunities for the sangha to take refuge in each other during this challenging moment while honoring the need for safety. To that end, here is what we’ve decided so far:
• There will be no public zazen schedule during this time. We plan to find ways to organize “virtual sittings” through the Insight Timer application.
• Current classes will be offered online. Instructors will follow up with more information.
• The BZC affinity groups (POC, UWO, Undoing Patriarchy, Sacred Feminine, B12) will each self-organize online meetings if desired. Please expect further communications from the various facilitators as they make arrangements.
• We welcome the sangha to consider self-organizing online discussion groups when supportive.
• We also appreciate that this outbreak will affect some people more than others and that some of us may be more vulnerable during this time. We are currently exploring ways that sangha members can respond to each other in this way. Please also expect further communications about this in the near future.
It is during stressful and uncertain times like these that many of us rely on community the most. As a community we have deep faith and trust that we will all find creative ways to support each other and manifest the jewel of sangha in our lives.
If you have any questions, please email Ian Case at email@example.com.
As always, thank you all for your patience, attention and care for each other during this time. We have no doubt the sangha will come forward with the loving attention and courage necessary to see all of us through the weeks to come. Thank you for caring for each other and for your practice.
With love and gratitude,
The Practice Council and Board of Directors
Kosen Gregory Snyder
To support our sangha’s health, we would like to offer some recommendations for community health practices in light of the novel spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19):
- Please wash your hands with soap and water for 20 second when you arrive at BZC, and when you leave. We are providing paper towels for hand drying
- Use the hand sanitizer and tissues in the entryway
- Please refrain from using kitchen towels to dry dishes. You may wash cups and dishes and leave them on the rack to air dry
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue (or your inner elbow, as a secondary measure)
- Please stay home if you’re not feeling well or if you develop symptoms, especially fever, cough, and shortness of breath—and stay home until you are fully recovered
Our Shikaryo heads have disinfected surfaces in our center, and we will continue this practice on a regular basis throughout this critical time. Tissues and hand sanitizer are available. You are welcome to bring your preferred hand sanitizer for personal use.
We are closely monitoring the situation in New York City on a daily basis and we will follow any guidelines from the Mayor’s office on public gatherings, should they occur. Meanwhile, until further notice, and with the exception of our three day retreat which was postponed, we will follow our posted schedule. We will communicate any changes to our schedule via email to the sangha and on our website.
Thank you for your care and cooperation in keeping our community safe and healthy.
The Beginner’s Mind Experience (BME) is a program that introduces newcomers to the various aspects of community practice at BZC. The Spring 2020 BME program starts on Monday, March 2!
As part of this program, participants have the opportunity to join a peer practice group, try practice discussion, experience various forms of wholehearted activity practice, and, if you are a BZC member, receive special rates on introductory classes (valid for one year). Our intention is that this program provides participants with a sense of the variety and intimacy of Zen practice in the BZC community — and also offer embodied experience with how we can engage these practices in our daily lives.
The registration deadline for the Spring 2020 BME program is Friday, February 28, at midnight.
More information and registration available here.
This fall, we studied these lines from the Song of the Jewel Mirror Samadhi: “Turning away and touching are both wrong, for it is like a massive fire.” How do we live in a climate literally aflame, our collective nerves firing with patriarchal and racial hatred? This poem of 1,200 years offers a simple guidance: don’t be consumed by it, don’t ignore it. There’s a mystery in the midst of it all—one that we can find together.
– Ryan Lee Wong, Undoing Patriarchy Co-Facilitator, Co-Shika
As the year comes to an end, we look back at the life of our sangha for the past 12 months. Together we sat retreats, inaugurated a new monastery, made origami paper cranes, sewed rice field patterns, walked in the forest, prepared oryoki meals and made vows to live for the liberation of all beings. As we enter into a new year (and a new decade!), we look forward to continuing to practice together – in Brooklyn, at Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery and in the world.