a message from teah about rohatsu sesshin

Rohatsu Sesshin is now available for registration!

This is our main community sitting event, and if you are engaged with the Brooklyn Zen Center community, please feel strongly encouraged to participate. Here is a message from Teah, our head teacher.

Dear community,

I would like to offer a gentle reminder to sign up for sesshin.

On a personal note, it is easy for my heart to open when I sit with people who are true to their practice, who want to find peace and love and want a deeper understanding of life.

I believe, i know, that we are each under all the mental noise and old karmic conditioning, open, loving, wise and gentle people each expressing the truth in our own wonderfully idiosyncratic way.

Something special happens when we sit day after day with ourselves and with each other.
We begin to see through the judgements (inner and outer), through the stories, through the
emotions of doubt and pride past happy and sad, right and wrong. The mind when allowed,
quiets and returns to its natural spaciousness.

Retreat is deeply nurturing and healing. Retreat takes patience and courage. Retreat takes a willingness to be what we are, first superficially and then deeper and deeper. To know that depth is to live life from a different place. To be that place is to be a benefit to all beings.

If you are interested please make this a priority.
Give this to yourself and ultimately to everyone in your life.

thank you for listening and for considering joining us
heart to heart


Registration closes this Friday, so please sign up! The retreat runs from 7 to 13 December, but you can also sit 9-13 December if you prefer. Click here to read more.

Annual Membership Drive!


Our annual membership drive kicks off November 14th  and runs through December 19th! By  becoming a member or increasing your current level of support, help us to reach our goal to increase our membership revenue by $1000 per month.

For us at Brooklyn Zen Center, the opportunity to practice the dharma in community is the source of freedom and happiness from which all else emerges. Membership offers the opportunity to support the source first, thereby caring for all else that flows from it.

The monthly donations from our members cover half of all general operating costs. Through your sustained commitment, the Brooklyn Zen Center is able to provide ongoing resources, space, and time for this thriving Buddhist practice community.

As we join in celebrating our TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY, we look to our community to light the path ahead.

As an expression of appreciation for those who have committed to supporting the community on an ongoing basis, we offer the following benefits to members:

  • Discounts and priority placement for retreats, workshops, events and classes (after 3 months)
  • Borrowing privileges at our library
  • The opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors and in other administrative roles
  • Regular updates on Brooklyn Zen Center’s finances as well as all board decisions
  • The knowledge that you are supporting a quiet, powerful force for compassion and peace in the world

If you have questions, or to increase your current membership level, please email

Check out our Fall events!

Hello! Please check out and consider taking our:

Fall classes, Introduction to Zen Buddhism (with Greg Snyder) and Introduction to Meditation (with Beatrice Anderson and Yoko Ohashi). Both of these are excellent ways to further engage an interest in Buddhism, cultivate an embodied expression of our vast historical lineage, or just see what is going on here!

October sittings, a one-day sit and a beginner’s half day sit.

Click on the links above to see more details.

The Fall 2015 Practice Period

Dear Sangha,

After our summer break, I am very much looking forward to returning to practice with all of you soon. Once again, we’ll be taking part in our fall practice period together. The practice period will officially open on Wednesday, September 16th. Two days later we are excited to be sitting a 3-day retreat with Zenju Earthlyn Manuel. We’ll also be having a 3-day workshop in November with Kaz Tanahashi and, of course, we’ll be closing the practice period with Rohatsu Sesshin. This year for the first time, we’ll be offering the opportunity to sit 7 days. Several have asked for a longer option and I hope some of you will join us for the full retreat.

The theme of our practice period will be Zen and Awakening the Heart. Our guiding teacher, Teah Strozer, will be offering dharma talks on this theme as well as a class, entitled Awakening the Heart of the Bodhisattva.

Zen practice period is a time to increase your personal commitment to sangha, zazen and practice. I am grateful that Brooklyn Zen Center allows us to take this time together. Each person’s commitment strengthens the overall practice of our community and our collective practice supports each of us. This means your commitment truly matters.

Whether you have taken part in many BZC practice periods or this is your first, I encourage each of you to consider challenging and deepening your practice within community. Review the practice period events and commitments we’ve listed on the attached form. Commit to the schedule and retreats that fit with your life and strengthen your practice. Please submit your commitment form by Monday, September 14th to the jisha (teacher’s assistant), either in person or via Feel free to email the jisha if you have any questions.

Please enjoy these last days of summer. May they be spacious and nourishing and may we have a joyful practice in the dharma together this fall. I look forward to being with each of you soon.

With a bow,

Click here for the full practice period schedule.

Please note that the practice period commitment form cannot be edited in your browser window. Please download the PDF and then edit it offline on your computer, and then email it or print it out and leave it for the jisha at BZC.

Music Improv Night, June 13th

Music Improv Night, June 13th, 7-9pm at Brooklyn Zen Center
Cost: Free, with donation suggested.

Back by popular demand we are creating an evening of music playing for all! You do not need to know how to play an instrument. We encourage people to explore sound and creative exploration,  mindfulness in the present moment, and the self in spontaneous action. We will start with a short meditation. This will be followed by simple warm up to get in touch with our body and voice. We will practice making sounds together as a group and as small ensembles, using percussion instruments, xylophones, and stringed instruments. The key to this evening is experimenting with creating sounds, listening to others play sounds, and responding to what they do. There is no good nor bad sound — just sounds that will be created together as a group.
We look forward to a truly honest and special evening.

Let us create together.

Keith Freer and John Asrelsky

Keith Freer: studied music performance at  Boston university school of music.  He is a business owner and keeps his heart in music and love for the arts.

John Asrelsky is dedicated guitarist and songwriter who has fronted local rock bands.  He is a also a dedicated member of the Brooklyn Zen Center.

Sit for $15: A Meditation Occupation, April 15th

Please join us as we Sit for $15! On April 15th 2015, low-wage workers in over 200 cities worldwide will go on strike, demanding a living wage and the right to unionize. Their movement — the Fight for $15 — is now asking for a coalition of spiritual progressives to come out to support them and their important work.

All are welcome to join in a peaceful early morning Meditation Occupation at a fast food restaurant, in solidarity with low wage workers on strike there, to express our common values — love, justice, and interdependence. This action is coordinated by IDP’s Sit Down, Rise Up initiative.

Where: meet at Brooklyn Zen Center, 505 Carroll St #2A

When: April 15th, 2015
4:15am – morning sitting and walking period at BZC
5:30am – walking meditation to fast food restaurant
6-7am – meditation occupation

Please sign our petition to receive email updates.

Please visit the facebook event page for more information.