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



Kikuko Morimoto: This Is Not Water

March 8 – June 30, 2014 /Opening: March 8th 6-8 PM

No Eyes Viewing Wall (NEVW) at the Brooklyn Zen Center is pleased to present a single new painting by New York based artist Kikuko Morimoto.  The 11 yard long work consisting of acrylic washes on paper and canvas was made specifically for the No-Eyes Viewing Wall.  Due to the work’s formidable scale, the artist used the large formal meditation space as art studio. 

 The NEVW program offers a chance to experience new artworks through the lens of a functioning meditation and mindfulness community. Each exhibition includes a conversation or an experiment regarding the states of mind involved in creating art, as both research for the artist and an offering to the public. Kikuko shared the following words:

 “Usually I start with a pale color and I layer them,  but when people saw the early layers, they said “Oh- this is water, or this is ocean, this is river” and I thought about how to make it something  not so particular, and I thought to make it darker. But maybe that was not a good idea (laughing). So then I started to make it dark, and I thought, maybe its too dark…”

Full Interview:

Noah Fischer interviews  Kikuko Morimoto in advance of her exhibition “This is Not Water” at the NO Eyes Viewing Wall of Brooklyn Zen Center

 NF: Do you feel that you’re finished with the piece for the NEVW?

 KM: I’m not sure, I don’t know yet, I still have to look more

 NF: How was your experience working inside the zendo as you created this large painting?

 KM: It was very difficult. At times, I regretted it.

 NF: Regretted what?

 KM: That I started. Maybe I was- what’s the expression? “Biting into more than I could chew.”   So I thought maybe this is too big.  Its really strenuous to paint edge to edge on this size, it take a really long time to finish, and its so big that you can’t really see the whole thing, and no matter where I stand I can’t see everything. I had a high  chair but still couldn’t really see, that was the hard part.

 NF: What qualities were you looking for in order to feel it was completed and to feel good about it?

 KM: My initial idea was I wanted to see something big and blue across the wall. Usually I start with a pale color and I layer them,  but when people saw the early layers, they said “Oh- this is water, or this is ocean, this is river” and I thought about how to make it something  not so particular, and I thought to make it darker. But maybe that was not a good idea (laughing). So then I started to make it dark, and I thought, maybe its too dark…

 NF: So it sounds like there were a lot of questions and judgments and uncertainties.

Do you think the uncertainties came from anticipating people’s judgments or was it about your own happiness with the piece?

 KM: Well, I’m always looking for some kind of sensation I get from the piece, some excitement. But sometimes you go over the point.

 NF: Tell me about your artistic path in your life. When did art practice become important to you?

 KM: I was making film and tv before, and film and tv has a lot of process, lot of business and negotiation and writing and thinking and it involves a lot of people.  Painting is much simpler. If you have paper and paint, you can do it without negotiating. That’s my freedom. Even though I was making film and tv, I didn’t feel really creative. I needed to do something to let it out.  So I’d go to paper and just paint. When I’m making film, and tv it was a little suffocating. In the process, you don’t really feel like you’re creating but rather negotiating and that was frustrating, and it was suffering.  I needed to relieve the frustrations.

 NF: Does the painting continue to feel free as you are practicing it over time, and taking classes and becoming more professional?

 KM: It’s a little different now. Now I’m not just tryng to get my frustration out, which sometimes came out dark and dirty and terrible!  Now I’m looking to create something beautiful. That’s what I’m looking for in my artwork. Now before I paint, I have to find a really peaceful space in me, so then I can really work and make something beautiful.  This is a different approach.

 NF: And what do you think about having this piece up in the space at Zen Center.  Do you look forward to practicing here with your piece in the wall?

 KM: Well, it’s a little scary, you’ll be exposed, you’ll be open to being criticized.

 NF: So, what is being exposed?

 KM: Besides the painting?

 NF: How about that sign o the BZC kitchen wall  that says “You are Not the Soup.” Is it true that you are not the painting?  Or maybe you are a little?

 KM: I am still identifying myself a little with the painting, so there’s a fear of failing…that people will judge my painting and say yes or no.

 NF: And what if they find it beautiful, is that also dangerous?

 KM: That’s also dangerous. When people says its gorgeous or beautiful, you feel a little flattered, and now you’re identifying with this piece: that’s me.  But I don’t yet know how this Buddhist practice will apply to all this. 

 Also, I noticed that I’m thinking about Zen Buddhism.  Instead of pink and purple, I am thinking on a monochromatic scale.  I was looking at a book of robes form the BZC library,  which was very beautful but monochromatic. I’m being influenced, maybe I’m limiting myself.

 NF: Kiku, thanks you for contributing your thinking and work.




New Year’s Eve at BZC

Please join us on Tuesday evening, December 31st for our 7th annual New Year’s Eve sit and celebration.

The evening will start at 8pm and will include a period of zendo cleaning, a meal of noodle soup, and three periods of zazen leading up to midnight. The sit is filling up quickly so please register soon if you would like to attend.

For more information and to RSVP, please click here.

Winter Interim Schedule

Please note that our regular weekday meditation schedule will be suspended during the winter interim period (December 12th through January 10th), and we will be following a Saturday-only schedule during this time. On these Saturdays, we won’t be having zazen instruction or a community lunch.

The schedule will be as follows:

10:00am Doors open

10:20am Zazen

10:50 am Kinhin (walking meditation)

11:00 am Zazen

11:30am End

Our regular schedule will resume on Saturday, January 11th, with our full Saturday program.


Membership Drive Update

Dear sangha,

We are so grateful and happy to report that 81 new and returning members have shown their generosity by pledging for 2014! Thank you so much!  We have just 4 bright lights left to make our goal, and only a few days left to do it! Please consider making a pledge at whatever amount is possible for you. Membership helps us to budget for the entire year, supporting our programs, staff, and operating needs. Current members who have not yet renewed for 2014, we hope we can count on you for another year! Potential new members, we hope you join us for the fun. With your help, we can reach our goal.

We are also happy to report that 16 members have taken the “108 at 108” pledge, committing to support the Zen Center at at least $108 dollars per month, deeply strengthening our financial sustainability for the next five years. Thank you for doing so, and if you haven’t yet – consider becoming a 108’er yourself!

Sign up today!

Each week of the drive, we’ve featured another of BZC’s bright lights and asked them why they became members. 

For our final week: meet Caitlin Burnham!

CaitlinMember since May, 2013.

 In her words:

 I don’t think I would have lasted a week in New York City if it weren’t for Brooklyn Zen Center. It continues to be the place in the city where I feel most at home. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the way I have been enveloped in the sangha’s support. Accepting the opportunity to support this community is a way for me to support life. Through Zen practice, I find myself becoming more and more alive. I feel more and more human. I cannot think of anything more worthy of support. 

Please consider becoming a member or renewing your membership today!

You can sign up HERE.

Thank you for shining your light in our community, and for supporting the Center that supports you. Your gift is so deeply appreciated.

 With gratitude,

 Yael Shy and Ian Case (Membership Co-Chairs)




Fall Practice Period Public Talks

As part of the fall practice period at Brooklyn Zen Center, head student Laura O’Loughlin will be giving three dharma talks at BZC over the next couple months. The first one will be this Saturday, October 19th, at 11am as part of our regular Saturday program. Zazen starts at 10:20am and the talk will follow. All are welcome.

Laura will also give talks on Saturday, November 2nd and 16th, also at 11am.

Teah Strozer will be giving talks on Saturday, October 26th and November 23rd.