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).

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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.

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A Word of Gratitude from Jozen


As you may know, I have recently stepped down as Director of Community and Youth Engagement at Brooklyn Zen Center — a position I occupied for the last two years — to take on the role of Board Chair. I will be sharing the responsibilities of this new position with the BZC Board of Directors, particularly with the new Board Vice Chair, Liz Roberts.

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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.

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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. Continue reading

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”.* Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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! Continue reading