News

New audio dharma talk by Yoko Ohashi

The BZC audio dharma is available free of charge and made possible by the donations we receive. You can donate to BZC here. Thank you!

Dharma talk by Yoko Ohashi (2020/05/23)

New Audio Dharma from August Three-Day Sesshin

This summer, the BZC sangha came together for a three-day online sesshin led from Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery by teachers Kosen Gregory Snyder and Laura O’Loughlin. The sesshin, with the theme Taking Refuge in Original Heart, followed a gentle schedule, alternating periods of zazen (sitting meditation), kinhin (walking meditation) along with guided meditation practices, soji, service and dharma talks.

Dharma by Kosen Greg Snyder: Sesshin Day 1 (2020/08/14)

Dharma by Laura O’Loughlin: Sesshin Day 2 (2020/08/15)

Dharma by Kosen Greg Snyder: Sesshin Day 3 (2020/08/16)

Mutual Aid Kitchen Practice at BZC

During the last few weeks, sangha members were busy making some classic BZC recipes to support Brooklyn Saints, a mutual aid group that provides food, water, and other supplies to support the social justice rallies and marches in our community, as well as to homeless shelters.

This was an opportunity to come together as a sangha (in limited numbers, of course) and to use the kitchen space for the last few weeks before the closing of Boundless Mind Temple, our spiritual home in the heart of Brooklyn for the past decade.

Here are some images and words from the Mutual Aid Kitchen Practice at BZC.

It has been both heartwarming and bittersweet to be back in the Boundless Mind kitchen and practicing in person with sangha again.  It has also been very rewarding to put our soup skills to use in feeding the hungry at this difficult time for so many in the Brooklyn community– I feel like this is my final exam after studying for so many hours as a fukuten preparing meals for the sangha!  That kitchen was built to train us in compassion, and it’s deeply moving to see it’s final meals be used to deliver compassion to those who need it most right now.

Don Rider, Fukuten (pronouns he/him)

It was such a gift to be back in the kitchen at BZC, being present with the joys and difficulties that arise in each moment of practice. The generosity at the heart of the BZC kitchen has had such a meaningful impact on my life. Learning to bring gentleness and care to every aspect of preparing the meal, from chopping vegetables to ladling soup to drying dishes, helps connect me to the body’s wisdom. Practicing in the kitchen with other sangha members, feeling my feet on the floor as I walk, and the water on my hands as I wash them, I become more intimate with that wisdom, trusting it more and more.

Leila Mohr (pronouns she/hers)

“I have found kitchen practice in this time to be an opportunity to work with impermanence in a deeply multifaceted way. It is the simple impermanence that comes with preparing and consuming food. It is a reminder of the current precarity of our collective situation that inspired Don and Kayla to organize this practice. And, finally, it is the bittersweet chance to spend some last time in the 505 Carroll space before beginning a time of transition as a sangha.”

Owen Bell

 

the soup

prepared with warm hands to

warm hands

Daniel Bachrach (pronouns he/him)

Schedule updates

Please note that our online meditation schedule is suspended for the Labor Day weekend (Saturday, September 5, through Monday, September 7). After this, our morning and evening sessions will only take place Monday through Friday, although there will be a meditation period before the dharma talk on Saturdays. Please see the complete online meditation schedule below.

In addition, we will now be offering meditation instruction every second Saturday of the month at 9am. The Well-Being Service will resume September 8. Saturday dharma talks will resume September 12, with a talk by visiting teacher DaRa Williams.

To join these online offerings, please contact Flo Lunn here in advance.

Please note that Undoing Whiteness and Oppression (UWO) will not be holding meetings this fall. During this time, UWO will be developing a more formal curriculum, which will hopefully be available at the beginning of 2021. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to UWO here with any questions or concerns.

Online meditation schedule 

Please note that all times are NY EST

Monday-Friday

Morning meditation:

7:15am — session opens

7:30am — zazen (sitting meditation)

8:00am — Robe Chant and Short Service (PDF available here)

8:15am — session ends

Evening meditation:

6:15pm — session opens

6:30pm — zazen (sitting meditation)

7:00pm — session ends

Saturday

9:00am – meditation instruction (second Saturday of the month only)

10:20am – zazen

10:50am – break

11:00am – dharma talk

If possible, please try to “arrive” 5 minutes before zazen begins, although you are welcome to join anytime during the period.

New audio dharma by Laura O’Loughlin

The BZC audio dharma is available free of charge and made possible by the donations we receive. You can donate to BZC here. Thank you!

Audio dharma talk by Laura O’Loughlin (2020/07/25)

New audio dharma by Yoko Ohashi

The BZC audio dharma is available free of charge and made possible by the donations we receive. You can donate to BZC here. Thank you!

Audio dharma by Yoko Ohashi (2020-06-27)

New dharma talks by Tenshin Reb Anderson

For the past few years, Tenshin Reb Anderson has come to Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC) to offer dharma talks and to guide our sangha in meditation retreats. Traveling all the way from California, where he is based, Reb has been a steady supporter of our community, holding us in practice each year for five-day sesshins during the month of June. This year, unfortunately, he was not able to come to Brooklyn, as it was planned, due to the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic.

We would like to invite you, nevertheless, to practice with Reb by listening to the dharma talks he offered during the 2019 sesshin at BZC. Last year’s retreat was focused on Zen Practice and Buddha Activity:

“An old time buddha said, “earth, grass trees, all living beings are engaged in buddha activity.” Buddha activity is the unceasing process of freeing all beings so they may live in peace and harmony. The Buddha ancestors called this Buddha activity zazen. In this retreat we will study, practice and realize this great activity.”

The BZC audio dharma is available free of charge and made possible by the donations we receive. You can donate to BZC here. A $10 donation per audio dharma talk is encouraged. Thank you!

About Tenshin Reb Anderson

Tenshin Reb Anderson is a lineage-holder in the Soto Zen tradition. Born in Mississipi, he grew up in Minnesota and left advanced study in mathematics and Western psychology to come to San Francisco Zen Center in 1967. He practiced with Suzuki Roshi, who ordained him as a priest in 1970 and gave him the name Tenshin Zenki (“Naturally Real, The Whole Works”). He received dharma transmission in 1983 and served as abbot of San Francisco Zen Center’s three training centers (City Center, Green Gulch Farm and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center) from 1986 to 1995. Tenshin Roshi continues to teach at Zen Center, living with his family at Green Gulch Farm. He is author of Warm Smiles from Cold Mountains: Dharma Talks on Zen Meditation and Being Upright: Zen Meditation and the Bodhisattva Precepts.

To find out more about Tenshin Reb Anderson, please visit his website here.

New audio dharma by Kosen Greg Snyder

The BZC audio dharma is available free of charge and made possible by the donations we receive. You can donate to BZC here. Thank you!

Audio dharma by Kosen Greg Snyder (2020/07/11)

New audio dharma talk by Teah Strozer

The BZC audio dharma is available free of charge and made possible by the donations we receive. You can donate to BZC here. Thank you!

Audio dharma talk by Teah Strozer (2020/04/25)

In this talk, Teah made reference to a book – ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ by Robin Wall Kimmerrer – and to a video – A Letter from the Coronavirus – available here.

New audio dharma talk by Chimyo Atkinson

Back in February, our sangha was honored to welcome dharma teacher Chimyo Atkinson to Brooklyn.

Chimyo Simone Atkinson currently serves as Assistant Abbess and Head of Practice at Great Tree Zen Women’s Temple in North Carolina. She was ordained a priest in the Soto Zen Buddhist tradition in 2007 and received Dharma Transmission in 2015. She received her monastic training at Great Tree Zen Women’s Temple and completed Sotoshu International training periods (Ango) in Japan in 2010 and 2011. She also completed training periods at the Aichi Senmon Nisodo in Nagoya in 2012 and Ryumonji Monastery in Iowa in 2014.

Chimyo currently volunteers with the sangha at Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institute. She has served on the board of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association since 2017 and helped to draft that organization’s standards for formal monastic practice. She is a member of the Association of Soto Zen Buddhists Jukai-e committee and an SZBA liaison to that organization’s Roadmap Committee.

This is one of the dharma talks she offered at Brooklyn Zen Center.

The BZC audio dharma is available free of charge and made possible by the donations we receive. You can donate to BZC here. Thank you!

Audio dharma talk by Chimyo Atkinson (2020/02/22)

Summoning Moral Courage

A Message from BZC’s Dharma Teachers

Black lives have once more been taken. We are heartbroken and sickened by murders that are the latest expressions of a culture of white supremacy that from our nation’s inception has sown violence into its soil. We must speak their names – George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery – each torn without the slightest cause from this world, as were so many of their ancestors before them.

Yet it is not enough to speak of these horrific deaths alone when racialized structures ensure black bodies are dying at disproportionate rates in the COVID pandemic. These too are names that should be known, should be spoken for having been unjustly denied their birthright to breathe freely in a country that so boldly claims freedom as its foremost, unassailable value.

It is not enough even to speak their names without recognizing how unemployment too is tearing disproportionately through communities of color. The pain this will cause is still untold. Nor is it enough without recognizing that those who grasp white privilege too often take little responsibility for confused, racialized fears that lead them to pick up the phone and call upon the very racist structures that steal the lives of innocents.

It is not enough to speak of even this without saying clearly that every person who benefits from the racial hierarchy of our nation must take responsibility for these fears, this hatred, this confusion as it arises in minds and behavior, and contributes to the logic and landscape that allows a man to be slain by a knee to the neck before the whole of the world.

As Buddhists, it is not enough to speak of greed, hatred, and delusion as abstractions. They must be named in their historic specificity, as they show up in the lives of this nation. We must name white supremacy as a deluded form of hatred that benefits and fuels the greed of those with power in our racialized society.

In not naming these poisons clearly, whether for fear of politics or offense, we break our own precepts. In abstraction, we are liars. In abstraction, we are thieves. In abstraction, we are killers. In abstraction, we reveal our greed and intoxication with a world that lays privilege at our feet. It is not enough to speak of greed, hatred, and delusion. Every day we must name and work to end the mindsets, behaviors, and institutions that continue to take the lives of our beloved human family.

Whether speaking in religious abstractions or not at all, moral superiority and spiritual aloofness cannot be afforded in our current age.  This is not a time for dualism, not a time for separation, not a time to believe in the delusion of an individual, separate self. It is the silence of those who hold themselves beyond the fray while benefiting from racialized supremacy that forges the conditions for seizing the breath of black people everywhere.

The body of our nation is on fire with greed and hatred and so our streets are on fire with grief and rage. When so many nonviolent gatherings and takings of knees are ignored and berated year after year, who would be surprised when the “enough already” bursts and shatters our cities.

When it comes to the Bodhisattva’s vow of compassionate liberation for all beings, is this a rarified path of fantastical tales woven in the dharma hall? Or is ours a path borne of the unflinching courage to clarify and uproot the causes of violence endemic to our country?

Our community must remain committed to the work of recognizing, clarifying, renouncing, healing, and correcting the racial harm that runs in the blood of our bodies and our nation. With the support of our Buddhist ancestors, may we devote ourselves to the healing of a society so painfully out of harmony with the Dharma. May we endeavor to realize in our bodies, psyches, institutions, systems, and culture, the love we know at base is the interconnected fabric of life itself.

We as a nation must admit and renounce white supremacy once and for all, and summon a moral imagination that paints the first strokes of a different world. Whether such a world can ever unfold will surely pivot on our taking of responsibility for our past, on our honesty about this moment, and most certainly on a shared moral courage toward a future that holds the possibility of a true home for us all.

Kosen Gregory Snyder
Dharma Teacher & Senior Priest, Brooklyn Zen Center

Shingetsu Laura O’Loughlin
Dharma Teacher & Senior Lay Practitioner, Brooklyn Zen Center

New audio dharma talk by Laura O’Loughlin

This Saturday, June 6, Brooklyn Zen Center‘s dharma teacher Laura O’Loughlin offered a dharma talk.

The BZC audio dharma is available free of charge and made possible by the donations we receive. You can donate to BZC here. Thank you!

Audio dharma talk by Laura O’Loughlin (2020/06/06)

New audio dharma talk by Chimyo Atkinson!

Back in February, our sangha was honored to welcome dharma teacher Chimyo Atkinson to Brooklyn.

Chimyo Simone Atkinson currently serves as Assistant Abbess and Head of Practice at Great Tree Zen Women’s Temple in North Carolina. She was ordained a priest in the Soto Zen Buddhist tradition in 2007 and received Dharma Transmission in 2015. She received her monastic training at Great Tree Zen Women’s Temple and completed Sotoshu International training periods (Ango) in Japan in 2010 and 2011. She also completed training periods at the Aichi Senmon Nisodo in Nagoya in 2012 and Ryumonji Monastery in Iowa in 2014.

Chimyo currently volunteers with the sangha at Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institute. She has served on the board of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association since 2017 and helped to draft that organization’s standards for formal monastic practice. She is a member of the Association of Soto Zen Buddhists Jukai-e committee and an SZBA liaison to that organization’s Roadmap Committee.

This is one of the dharma talks she offered at Brooklyn Zen Center.

The BZC audio dharma is available free of charge and made possible by the donations we receive. You can donate to BZC here. Thank you!

Audio dharma talk by Chimyo Atkinson (2020/02/19)

New audio dharma talk by Ian Case!

The BZC audio dharma is available free of charge and made possible by the donations we receive. You can donate to BZC here. Thank you!

Audio dharma talk by Ian Case (2020/05/16)

New audio dharma talk by Shokuchi Deirdre Carrigan!

The BZC audio dharma is available free of charge and made possible by the donations we receive. You can donate to BZC here. Thank you!

Audio dharma talk by Shokuchi Deirdre Carrigan (2020/05/09)

New audio dharma talk by Laura O’Loughlin!

A new dharma talk by BZC’s dharma teacher Laura O’Loughlin is now available!

The BZC audio dharma is available free of charge and made possible by the donations we receive. You can donate to BZC here. Thank you!

Audio dharma talk by Laura O’Loughlin (2020/04/11)

BZC 2018 retreat: dharma talks by BZC’s teachers Kosen Greg Snyder and Laura O’Loughlin

In the summer of 2018, Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC) held its first-ever residential retreat. This special weeklong gathering took place in the farmland of the Watershed Retreat Center in Millerton, a couple of hours north of New York City. This was a very special occasion for our sangha, more than we could realize at the time.

In fact, that retreat laid the ground for the establishment of Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery (AHZM) just a year later! On August 11, 2019, the Brooklyn Zen Center sangha, as well as friends from near and far, came together for the opening ceremony of Sōshinji 宗心寺, Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery. Since then, monastic life has begun in the new temple, with a growing group of residents now following a monastic daily schedule.

We would like to share with you the dharma talks offered by BZC dharma teachers Kosen Gregory Snyder and Laura O’Loughlin during that foundational retreat, back in 2018, in the yurt zendo at Watershed, next to the land that now holds Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery. The talks focused on the seminal Zen teaching poem “Sandokai,” using the translation in the BZC chant book, “Harmony of Difference and Equality,” and Suzuki Roshi’s commentary, “Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness,” as a support for the exploration of the relationship between oneness and multiplicity.

Audio dharma talk by Laura O’Loughlin: Sandokai – part 1 (2018/08/07)

Audio dharma talk by Kosen Greg Snyder: Sandokai – part 2 (2018/08/08)

Audio dharma talk by Laura O’Loughlin: Sandokai – part 3 (2018/08/09)

Audio dharma talk by Kosen Greg Snyder: Sandokai – part 4 (2018/08/10)

Audio dharma talk by Laura O’Loughlin: Sandokai – part 5 (2018/08/11)

Audio dharma talk by Kosen Greg Snyder: Sandokai – part 5 (2018/08/11)

New audio dharma talk!

A new dharma talk by BZC’s dharma teacher Kosen Gregory Snyder is now available.

 

Audio dharma talk by Kosen Greg Snyder: Sesshin Day 1 (2018/03/16)