BZC Sit-a-Thon: Thank you, Sangha!

Thank you for your wholehearted support of and engagement with Brooklyn Zen Center’s (BZC) 2019 Sit-A-Thon!

With over 500 unique donations, we exceeded our Sit-A-Thon fundraising goal by 118%, totaling $47,316. Thank you for you generosity!

All of the contributions will be directed towards our scholarship fund and programs, including the Awake Youth Project, People of Color group, Undoing Whiteness and Oppression, Undoing Patriarchy and Unveiling the Sacred Masculine, and the Sacred Feminine group.

If you are not yet on our mailing list, we invite you to stay in touch by signing up for our monthly newsletter to know how we continue on with our collective work and opportunities for future engagement.

BZC Sit-a-Thon: keep ’em coming!

We had a beautiful BZC 2019 Sit-a-Thon community sit and after party yesterday! Throughout the day, we sat in silence and community, bringing to the cushion our intention to keep stillness in mind and body as a form of generosity towards our sangha. At the same time, we shared the joy of having not only reached our BZC 2019 Sit-a-Thon fundraising goal, but of surpassing it by a large margin!

Today, a day after the actual Sit-a-Thon, the total amount has reached $45,000, as contributions large and small continue to percolate. Thank you for you generosity!

Contributions for the BZC 2019 Sit-a-Thon will continue to be accepted through June 15. You can donate to one of the 70 (!!!) individual fundraisers or directly to Brooklyn Zen Center. 

All contributions will be directed towards our scholarship fund and programs, including the Awake Youth Project, People of Color group, Undoing Whiteness and Oppression, Undoing Patriarchy and Unveiling the Sacred Masculine, and the Sacred Feminine group.

Deep bows!

BZC Sit-a-Thon: goooaalll!

We did it! Not only have we met, but we have surpassed our goal to raise $40,000 for the BZC 2019 Sit-a-Thon!

But reaching our goal is no reason to stop. We have about 36 hours left before our Sit-A-Thon is complete. Let’s keep going! The more money we raise the more we can put towards programs like Awake Youth Project, People of Color group, Undoing Whiteness and Oppression, Undoing Patriarchy and Unveiling the Sacred Masculine, and the Sacred Feminine group. Not to mention our scholarship fund!

If you are a fundraiser and you have not yet registered to join the sit tomorrow tomorrow, June 1, please do so here, so we can get a count for cushions and lunch.

At the end of the day tomorrow, from 5 to 6 pm, we’ll have a party. Everyone is invited, sitters and non-sitters, families and friends. There will be cake. Join us to celebrate this incredible accomplishment!

BZC Sit-A-Thon matching grant!

An anonymous sangha member has stepped forward and offered a matching grant of up to $10,000 on every dollar raised by the 2019 BZC Sit-A-Thon! All donations to the fundraising campaign will now count as double, thanks to the generosity of this sangha member! This means that if you donate $1, BZC will receive $2; if you donate $50, BZC receives $100, and so on.

We deeply appreciate this generous offer and everyone’s contributions!

Similar to a walk-a-thon, the 2019 BZC Sit-A-Thon is a fundraiser where instead of walking all day, we will meditate! Leading up to the Sit-a-Thon on June 1, you can support the BZC Sit-a-Thon here by:

1 – Setting up your own fundraising page;
2 – Donating to one of the sitters;
3 – Donating directly to BZC.

Questions? We have answers! Please take a look at the 2019 BZC Sit-a-Thon FAQ here.

Please reach out to the Brooklyn Zen Center Board with any additional questions at bzcboard@brooklynzen.org.

Audio dharma: Difficult Conversations on Race, by Yoko Ohashi

You can listen to a new dharma talk by senior student Yoko Ohashi, “Difficult Conversations on Race.”

Difficult Conversations on Race (02/23/2019)

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NYC Vesak Celebration

Vesak marks the traditional celebration of the Buddha’s birthday in countries around the world. On Saturday, May 18, local sanghas will com together to join the Vesak celebrations at Union Theological Seminary, in partnership with the Buddhist Council of New York and the Thích Nhất Hạnh Program for Engaged Buddhism.

This event is open to all who wish to celebrate, children included! Speakers include Ven, Saccananda, Rev. Doyeon Park, and Ven. Lema Pema Dorjee.

1:00 pm  |  Morning Meditation
1:30 pm  |  Bathing a Buddh, Puja Opening Meditations & Prayer
2:30 pm  |  Music Offering & Greetings
3:00 pm  |  Dharma Messages
4:00 pm Closing: Dedications of the Merits

Feel free to join at any time during the event.  No RSVP required.

More information is available here.

Brooklyn Zen Center Sit-A-Thon FAQ

Similar to a walk-a-thon, the 2019 BZC Sit-A-Thon is a fundraiser where instead of walking all day, we will meditate! Leading up to the Sit-a-Thon on June 1, you can support the BZC Sit-a-Thon here by:

1 – Setting up your own fundraising page;
2 – Donating to one of the sitters;
3 – Donating directly to BZC.

2019 BZC Sit-A-Thon Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Brooklyn Zen Center holding a Sit-A-Thon?
Perhaps you’ve heard our teachers discuss the particular challenges of practicing in the rush and noise of New York City. There are also practical financial concerns like increasing rent. BZC as a nonprofit organization has these same concerns as you. So as we accrue extra costs to keep the doors open, this effort is vital to help anchor and sustain programming such as Awake Youth Project and the Scholarship Fund.

Is there a minimum amount of money I have to raise to sit?
Nope. The sangha is grateful for any amount. You can ask your friends and family to support your practice and a place you love, or you can be the sole donor to your page.

Do I have to sit for the whole day?
No! The day will be an open, fluid structure for you to come, sit and celebrate as fits your schedule. Whether you stay for an hour or stay for the day, we’re grateful for your participation and happy we can sit together. Anyone with a fundraising page is also free to bring your families!

What is the schedule?
The sit will start with a bell and incense at 10 am and end with a bell at 5 pm. We will have snacks throughout the day and lunch from 12-1:30. The community will be sitting and holding the space together. For some of us individually that means being in the zendo all day. For others of us, that means joining for only a little while. You are welcome to sit for as long as you wish. Whenever you sit, we hope you’ll be able to join us for our party at 5 pm!

I want to sit, but I don’t want to fund raise. Can I still participate?
Yes and no. We ask that everyone who joins us on Saturday, June 1, to set up a page. Even if you only raise $1, we are encouraging 100% participation from the sangha to show that we are holding the responsibility of BZC’s financial sustainability together. That being said, if you don’t want to fund raise, you can still create a page and be the only donor. You can even make your donation anonymously. Having many pages helps show that our sangha is vibrant and larger than a handful of people.

Also, a generous sangha member has stepped forward to announce they will anonymously donate $50 to all pages posted by June 1! So even if you do only raise $1, it will count as $51 towards the campaign!

I can’t sit on June 1. Does that mean I can’t participate?
If you can’t be in the zendo with us on June 1, you can still join us in spirit by fundraising and sitting as long as you like wherever you will be. Or perhaps you’d rather find an entirely different time to sit. If you’d like to highlight on your page that you’re following a different schedule that’s fine. By creating a page, you’re sharing that BZC is important to you and asking for donations to help support it. How you share that and your sitting intention is up to you.

Why does it feel competitive?
The day is not intended to be a fundraising competition. We hope people are successful in whatever efforts they undertake, and we are grateful for every dollar from every person. In years past, the community has set its own tone of a playful competition, but that was an organic manifestation of joy and not the spirit in which we are organizing the campaign.

Please reach out to the Brooklyn Zen Center Board with any additional questions at bzcboard@brooklynzen.org.

Audio dharma: Martin Luther King day – Cultivating Bodhisattva Effort Until Death, by Greg Snyder

You can now listen to a new talk by dharma teacher and senior priest at BZC, Greg Snyder. This talk was offered during the Martin Luther King one-day retreat at Brooklyn Zen Center:

Martin Luther King day: Cultivating Bodhisattva Effort Until Death (01/19/2019)

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2019 Brooklyn Zen Center Sit-A-Thon!

We are excited to announce the 2019 Brooklyn Zen Center Sit-A-Thon!

Similar to a walk-a-thon, the 2019 BZC Sit-A-Thon is a fundraiser where instead of walking all day, we will meditate!

The funds raised from this event will support Brooklyn Zen Center’s many important programs: Awake Youth Project teen meditation, the People of Color Group,  Undoing Whiteness and Oppression, Undoing Patriarchy and Unveiling the Sacred Masculine, Sacred Feminine, Buddhism and the 12 Steps of Recovery, Soto Zen training, and the scholarship fund!

How You Can Support the Brooklyn Sit-A-Thon raise our campaign goal of $40,000:

Become a Sitter:  If BZC is as dear to your heart as it is to ours, please sign up for your own personal fundraising page and reach out to your network to sponsor you. Then join us on Saturday, June 1 for a day-long sit. If you cannot sit on June 1, please still feel free to become a “virtual sitter” and set up a page to help us raise funds. We would love 100% Sangha participation, and any amount helps.

Sponsor a Sitter:  Find a Sit-A-Thoner you want to support by browsing the profiles on this site. Any one of them will deeply appreciate your contribution.

Donate to BZC: If you can’t imagine donating to JUST ONE sitter but do want to donate to the Sit-a-Ton campaign please donate directly here.

The sit-a-thon will take place on Saturday, June 1, from 10 am to 6 pm, and will be open to anyone who participates in the fundraising, plus any Awake Youth Project students who would like to join us.

Please reach out to the Brooklyn Zen Center Board with any questions at bzcboard@brooklynzen.org.

New Beginner’s Mind Experience group!

The next Beginner’s Mind Experience peer group starts on Monday, May 6! The registration deadline is Wednesday, May 1.

All new members at the Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC) are strongly encouraged to take part in the Beginner’s Mind Experience (BME), a 3-month introduction program to the various aspects of community practice at BZC.

As part of this program, members have the opportunity to join a peer practice group and experience various forms of wholehearted activity practice. BME participants also receive special rates on two introductory classes (discount available for one year): Meditation in Everyday Life (starting June 4!) and Introduction to Zen Buddhism.

The program provides members 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.

To take part in the Beginner’s Mind Experience you must be a BZC member. The registration deadline for the next BME group is Wednesday, May 1. In response to feedback received from our sangha, the new BME group will be meeting during week days.

More information and registration available here.

Undoing Patriarchy and Unveiling the Sacred Masculine

Undoing Patriarchy and Unveiling the Sacred Masculine is a monthly group of Zen practitioners who identify, or are identified, as male coming together to explore the construct of patriarchy, its impact on our lives, our communities, and to work towards developing our sacred masculine identities; those dynamic and restorative aspects of masculinity that strengthen our ability to cultivate wisdom, compassion and community.

Together, we will contemplate what the cost of patriarchy has been for the lives of everyone along the gender spectrum: How does patriarchy obstruct the expression of a sacred masculine identity? Could the expression of a sacred masculine identity lie at the heart of undoing the violence of patriarchy in our sanghas and communities?

The group will be meeting on Sunday, April 28, 10am – 12:30pm. No registration required, no meditation experience necessary. Come as you are!

More information is available here.

Sesshin with Tenshin Reb Anderson in June

Tenshin Reb Anderson will be returning to Brooklyn Zen Center this year to lead a five-day sesshin (June 19 through 23). The sesshin will focus on Zen Practice and Buddha Activity and registration is now open. Scholarships for this offering are available – please apply by April 29.

This offering will likely fill out quickly, so register early to secure your spot.

Tenshin Reb Anderson is a visiting teacher at Brooklyn Zen Center and has been offering yearly five-day sesshins in our community for the past decade. Join us in the June sesshin and in welcoming Tenshin Reb Anderson back to Brooklyn!

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Audio dharma: Realizing Justice Face to Face Part 5, by Tenshin Reb Anderson

You can now listen to a new talk (Realizing Justice Face to Face – Part 5) by Brooklyn Zen Center visiting dharma teacher Tenshin Reb Anderson, offered during the 2017 sesshin:

Realizing Justice Face to Face – Part 5 (05/14/2017)

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Audio dharma: Realizing Justice Face to Face Part 4, by Tenshin Reb Anderson

You can now listen to a new talk (Realizing Justice Face to Face Part 4) by Brooklyn Zen Center visiting dharma teacher Tenshin Reb Anderson, offered during the 2017 sesshin:

Realizing Justice Face to Face – Part 4 (05/13/2017)

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Audio dharma: Realizing Justice Face to Face Part 3, by Tenshin Reb Anderson

You can now listen to a new talk (Realizing Justice Face to Face Part 3) by Brooklyn Zen Center visiting dharma teacher Tenshin Reb Anderson, offered during the 2017 sesshin:

Realizing Justice Face to Face – Part 3 (05/12/2017)

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Audio dharma: Realizing Justice Face to Face Part 2, by Tenshin Reb Anderson

You can now listen to a new talk (Realizing Justice Face to Face Part 2) by Brooklyn Zen Center visiting dharma teacher Tenshin Reb Anderson, offered during the 2017 sesshin:

Realizing Justice Face to Face – Part 2 (05/11/2017)

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Audio dharma: Realizing Justice Face to Face Part 1, by Tenshin Reb Anderson

You can now listen to a talk by Brooklyn Zen Center visiting dharma teacher Tenshin Reb Anderson, offered during the 2017 sesshin:

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Sewing the rakusu

This month several Zen students will begin sewing rakusu, the small Buddha robe worn around the necks of lay practitioners and priests. In preparation for jukai – the ceremony where each will receive the Bodhisattva precepts – they will be sewing together from now through the summer. During this time they will take refuge in the Buddha, dharma and sangha with every stitch sewn. This is a joyous time of sangha support as we all take refuge with them in their vow to take up the Bodhisattva way of life.

Images by Byron Wollen, 2017.

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Mountain Seat Ceremony at SFZC

This weekend (March 1-3), the San Francisco Zen Center  will be hosting a very special ceremony: the grand stepping up of the new Abbot Tenzen David Zimmerman. The Mountain Seat weekend at City Center will also include ceremonies marking the stepping down of Ejun Linda Ruth Cutts as Central Abbess and the stepping over of Rinso Ed Sattizahn into Central Abbot.

Tenzen David Zimmerman has served as the BZC Tanto (Head of Practice) and received dharma transmission from BZC root teacher Soshin Teah Strozer.

For more information on David and to learn about other abbatial changes, see the letter from Central Abbess Eijun Linda Ruth Cutts here.

More details on the schedule of events are available here. On Sunday, March 3, the Mountain Seat Ceremony will be livestreamed beginning at 6pm Eastern Time. BZC will host a community gathering for those who wish to watch together.