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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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.

BZC has a new oven!

We have reached our fundraising goal to purchase a new oven in just 11 days! And the new oven is now standing shinny and bright in the BZC kitchen!

The new oven will allow us to bake multiple trays of food at once, making meal preparation for large numbers of guests more manageable, as is the case with the upcoming sesshin. The new oven, which replaced a old one that had been given to BZC as a donation years ago and was no longer operational, will allow us to continue to provide meals during meditation retreats, Saturday community lunches (when available) and to support kitchen practice for years to come.

Our heartfelt appreciation to all who contributed to the fundraising campaign. Your support made this possible – thank you!

Do you have a question about BZC?

Are you new to BZC and you are not sure if you need meditation experience to join zazen? Do you have questions about BZC’s meditation schedule? You want to become a BZC member but you are not sure how that works? Do you need directions and parking information? The brand new FAQ page answers all your questions (hopefully)!

If you can’t find the answer to your question or concern, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@brooklynzen.org or at (718) 701-1083.

Oryoki at BZC

At BZC, during the upcoming sesshin (retreat) led by Tenshin Reb Anderson Roshi, we’ll start practicing oryoki  – the traditional form and ceremony of zendo eating, using stacked, wrapped bowl sets.

Oryoki means “the bowl that contains just enough.” This ceremonial practice of serving and eating meals has been practiced in Zen temples since the T’ang dynasty in China. The participants, in a seated meditation posture, receive the food that is offered, bowing with the servers in gratitude, and eat together as a sangha. Continue reading

The BZC Accessibility Committee Wants to Hear from You!

The BZC Accessibility Committee was created in the spring of 2017 by sangha members Victory Matsui and Jacob Slominski, in response to their desire to allow those with mental and physical disabilities to fully access the Brooklyn Zen Center and its offerings.

Having encountered barriers themselves in accessing BZC because of PTSD, fragrance sensitivity, and chronic pain, Victory and Jacob were inspired to ask for support from the sangha to skilfully address and dismantle these barriers so that others with disabilities would feel more welcome. And in response, the sangha has stepped up with urgency and care to help with this important work.

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