Awake Youth Project Winter/Spring programming

Awake Youth Project (AYP), a secular program that brings mindfulness and meditation to underserved high schools throughout Brooklyn, will be offering free after-school drop-in meditation sessions for teenagers on February 5, 12 and 19, from 4 to 6pm, at the Brooklyn Zen Center. More information is available here.

The AYP Spring Internship, a 12-week program for participants aged 14 to 18, will run from February 27 through May 22, with meetings on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 to 6 pm. Applications are due February 15!




Inclement weather notice

Due to inclement weather and hazardous travel conditions, all of the programming for the evening of Wednesday, January 30, has been cancelled. Morning zazen on Thursday, January 31, is also canceled due to the extreme cold.

Wishing everyone stays safe and warm!




BZC at the Weeksville Heritage Center: Healing & Self-Determination Through 4MX

BZC will be participating in a special edition of Weeksville Weekends for Black History Month 2019 at the Weeksville Heritage Center.

For this special edition, artist Jordan Weber, in collaboration with A Blade of Grass, presents his project 4 Malcolm X Greenhouse, centered around a greenhouse he built on the foundation of Malcolm X’s birth home in North Omaha, Nebraska.

On Saturday, February 9, BZC will be offering two guided meditation sessions on undoing racism at 2 and 2:30pm. Please note that this offering will take place at the Weeksville Heritage Center, at 158 Buffalo Avenue, in Brooklyn. This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP here.

2018 at BZC: A Year in Pictures

The life of our sangha was rich and deep during 2018. Amongst retreats, classes, dharma talks, conferences and gatherings small and large, the BZC community showed up in diverse and engaged ways within the walls of our beloved practice space in Brooklyn and out in the world. This selection of images is not intended as a complete representation of the life of our sangha during the past year, but it’s rather a glimpse into the richness of BZC’s practice and commitment. Many other events and practice manifestations unfolded during the past year and are not included here, but all will continue to ripple into 2019. May we continue to practice together in this way in the years ahead!

BZC 2018 End of Year Campaign

The 2018 End of Year Campaign for Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC) is an opportunity for you to express your support for our community by taking up the socially healing practice of dana (generosity). Our sangha has tremendous spiritual strength that we need to match with an equivalent financial strength. We invite each of you to engage in this powerful ritual of care by offering a financial contribution to BZC. …

Sewing practice: a meditation in action

The Brooklyn Zen Center sangha is currently sewing a nine-fold okesa (full-body robe) for dharma teacher and senior priest Rev. Kosen Greg Snyder. The okesa is completely hand-sewn using a traditional rice field pattern.

The nine jo okesa is the teaching okesa, worn for dharma talks and ceremonies, and is traditionally sewn by the Zen students in the sangha, especially those working with the teacher for whom it is a gift.

BZC community agreements

Each time we enter Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC), we step into a shared practice container. We water a collective intention to create and hold cherishable spaces rooted in safety and bravery. In such spaces, we are witnessed and encouraged to express ourselves without fear of attack, ridicule, or denial of experience. A cherishable space invites us to risk intimacy, trust, and transformative love, and to be mirrored by our practice and our sangha (practice community).

Sangha Business Meetings

Brooklyn Zen Center will be holding two Sangha Business Meetings: Wednesday, November 28, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. (zazen at 6:50 p.m), and Saturday, December 1, 11 am – 1 p.m. (zazen at 10:20 a.m.).

These meetings are open to everyone, especially those interested and invested in the present states of BZC as a sangha and a physical space. Please join us during one or both of our Sangha Business Meetings to engage with our board of directors and administrative team members, as we share insights into BZC’s practices, finances, and programming.

Eiheiji temple: impressions from Dogen’s world

Eiheiji temple, located in the mountains outside Fukui city in central Japan, was established by Zen master Dogen in 1244 and is one of the two head temples of Soto Zen. In existence for almost eight centuries now, the temple is an active monastery where more then 150 monks are in training. With dozens of buildings nestled in a forest of tall cedar trees, Eiheiji provides a glimpse into the 13th century world of Dogen, the founder of our Soto Zen lineage, from whom dharma as been transmitted over time and continents, from warm hand to warm hand. Thousands of people visit Eiheiji each year – all visitors are treated as religious trainees and are required to respect its traditional monastic practice and environment.

Words and Sights from BZC’s Residential Summer Retreat

This past August, Brooklyn Zen Center held its first-ever residential retreat. This special weeklong gathering took place in the farmland of the Watershed Retreat Center, a couple of hours north of New York City.

BZC’s teachers Laura O’Loughlin and Greg Snyder co-led the retreat, which included zazen, service, study, dharma talks, discussions, dokusan, and silent meals, along with time for swimming and walks in the woods. …

Imágenes del Ser: online intro Zen course in Spanish by SFZC

Imágenes del Ser is a four-week study course in Spanish offered online by the San Francisco Zen Center that will use Suzuki Roshi’s “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” (“Mente Zen, Mente de Principiante”) as its core text. The course will be taught by Ven. Dhammadipa (Rev. Konin Cardenas) and will run from October 22 to November 19. …

Oryoki: the Bowl that Contains Just Enough

By BZC’s Tanto (Head of Practice), Shokuchi Deirdre Carrigan:

In June 2018, Brooklyn Zen Center practiced the ceremony of oryoki for the first time in the sesshin that was led by Tenshin Reb Anderson Roshi.

Oryoki is the ceremonial practice of serving and eating meals in the meditation hall (zendo), practiced in Zen temples since the T’ang dynasty in China. The initial “o” in oryoki means “in proportion to”, “ryo” means “amount” or “quality,” and “ki” means “container”—the bowl that contains the appropriate amount or “just enough”.* …

2018 Fall Practice Period at BZC

A message from the BZC teachers regarding the 2018 Fall Practice Period:

Dear Sangha,

We hope all of you are finding joy, rest and nourishment in these very warm summer days. As September quickly approaches, it is time to begin thinking about our commitments for the upcoming practice period.

Fall Practice Period is an opportunity to wholeheartedly devote ourselves to Zen practice in community by centering it in our lives from mid-September to mid-December. We use this time to create a container that supports our community in taking time to clarify our intentions, deepen insight, embody our commitments and more fully integrate our practice as life. If you are not familiar with BZC practice period, you can read about it more fully here. Regardless of your time practicing at BZC, we very much encourage taking up the practice period as a path of grounding your commitment to practice and sangha through zazen, practice roles, practice discussion and the many other opportunities for Zen students at BZC. …

New zazen periods at BZC this fall

As we are gearing up for the beginning of the fall practice period and putting together the calendar of offerings for the upcoming months, we are happy to announce additional zazen periods as part of our weekly meditation schedule at the Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC).

During the upcoming fall practice period – from Wednesday September 19 to Wednesday December 19 – BZC will be offering additional zazen (sitting meditation) periods on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 7 p.m. All are welcome to attend! …

Join the Sound Bath greeters’ team!

Sound Bath greeters are part of the shika ryo and they welcome guests into our beloved spiritual home at BZC and help everyone feel at home as they take part on an inner journey of relaxation and transformation. By using frequency and “entrainment,” a sound bath facilitates a shift in brainwaves from our normal waking state to alpha and theta states that are akin to meditation—where true somatic healing can occur.

Flower People

Every week at BZC a team of dedicated sangha members engages in a special form of practice. They use scissors, vases, and brushes. They speak softly with each other, while moving swiftly around the zendo, the kitchen, the bathroom, the teachers’ practice rooms, the library. They work carefully with their hands, paying special attention to colors and shapes, deciding on particular arrangements and combinations – what to discard and what to keep, how to evenly distribute what’s available, what should go where. …

Buddhist statement on separating immigrant families

The Soto Zen Buddhist Association released a public statement today on the U.S. policy of separating families seeking refugee at the U.S.-Mexico border. It was signed by over 200 Buddhist leaders across the country, including BZC’s dharma teacher and senior priest Greg Snyder. The signed statement is available here.


Separating Immigrant Families Statement (6/18/2018):

As Western Buddhist leaders, we unreservedly condemn the recently imposed policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the US-Mexican border.

Over the past few weeks, thousands of children have been inhumanely taken from their parents by US Customs and Border Protection, in a policy that has been condemned by the United Nations and many international human rights observers. Indeed, no other country has a policy of separating families who intend to seek asylum.

Whatever the legal status of those attempting to enter the US, separating children from their parents is a contravention of basic human rights. Parents seeking asylum make long, dangerous and arduous journeys in an attempt to find safety and well-being for their precious children. Ripping these vulnerable children from their parents is cruel, inhumane, and against the principles of compassion and mercy espoused by all religious traditions. From a Buddhist perspective, it is the close bond between parents and children that nurtures not only the physical well-being of children, but their psychological health and their moral formation.

Separating children from their parents and holding them in detention inflicts terrible and needless trauma and stress on young children that hampers and damages their development, causing long-term damage. This policy being employed on United States soil is morally unconscionable. That such egregious actions be employed as a deterrent for families seeking entry and/or asylum in the U.S. – using the sacred bond between innocent youth and their parents – is unjustifiable on any level. We suggest that our current defenders of this policy visit some of these border crossings and child detention centers so they can experience for themselves the present effects of their decisions. It is difficult to conceive that anyone having compassion for our world’s children and their families, and who witnesses such pain and anguish for themselves could continue to uphold such a practice.

As people of faith and conscience, we feel that it is important that we speak out clearly in defense of basic human rights at this time, calling for an immediate end to this heartless practice. In doing so, we join the voices of many religious leaders and congregations that have unreservedly condemned this policy of separation. This policy is a serious violation of the rights of the child and must be stopped today.