BZC is committed to supporting the ongoing bodhisattva work of transforming the suffering born out of complex social and historical causes, including conditioning and traumas associated with them. Our commitment to this bodhisattva work shows up in our Engaged Practice Groups, which examine particular social identities through the dharma.
Undoing Whiteness as the Path of Liberation: Recognizing the central causation played by a constellation of ancestral traumas, behaviors, and beliefs inherited by many European-descended people and constituted as a social identity—often referred to as “whiteness”—BZC has developed an ongoing curriculum to support practitioners of European ancestry in healing and transforming these particular forms of racial suffering for the sake of the great earth and all beings.
B-12: Buddhism and the 12 steps of recovery is a practice group exploring the connections between Buddhist practice and recovery. We will begin our evenings with brief meditation instruction, followed by a period of meditation, a short talk and discussion. Our meetings are open to all members of a 12-Step recovery program. The group is led by senior practitioners in recovery. B-12 offers online meetings via Zoom every Sunday evening.
Queer Dharma Share: We are a group of Zen students gathering for mutual support and open dialogue around how the dharma shows up through our queer experiences, and vice versa. We welcome all who identify as queer, in the broadest sense, to join us. Queer Dharma Share is offering monthly online meetings on the Mondays, from 7 to 8:30pm EST.
Parents Practice: We are a group of parent practitioners who support each other’s practice rooted in Bodhisattva vows and precepts. Our group emerged out of the context of Covid hardship—we took refuge in each other’s practice to care for the struggles and challenges we were facing, living in intense circumstances where most of us were locked up in our homes. We offer early morning online zazen (sitting meditation) Mondays–Fridays, as well as meetings every other Thursday, from 7:30-8:30pm.
Zen Students of Color: We began as a one-year study group on Soto Zen texts, rituals, and histories for students of color. That evolved into a group for BIPOC students in leadership roles at BZC to find support in each other and the dharma teachers, explore the particular challenges faced by BIPOC practitioners, and to hold the diversity of experience within the coalition of “BIPOC.” That leadership group is currently meeting to focus on supporting each others’ practices as well as BIPOC practitioners at BZC.
Undoing Patriarchy: Undoing Patriarchy grew out of a series of retreats for male-identified practitioners to explore patriarchy’s effects, connect to the sacred masculine and feminine, and repair the damage patriarchy has done to everyone along the gender spectrum. We used meditation, dialogue, personal storytelling, and ritual to explore our relationship to violence, domination, emotions, love, and sexuality. Undoing Patriarchy is currently in a process of in-depth exploration between several long-term sangha members of different genders to explore how patriarchy manifests in sangha.
Zazen is a central practice in our lineage and offered at all of our physical locations as well as online most mornings. We regularly offer zazen instruction, which can be helpful for both newcomers and those who have been sitting a while.
Building a steady zazen practice, whether in community, at home, or both, cultivates the grounded awareness that supports life inside and outside the temple.Upcoming Zazen
Retreats, or sesshin (literally, “gathering the heart”), are a powerful way to deepen practice, sit for longer periods of time, see a teacher for dokusan (“face-to-face discussion”) and engage in communal activity. We offer retreats almost every month.
We recommend newcomers begin with a one-day retreat. For those interested in longer sits, we offer an annual residential retreat in partnership with the Watershed Center, regular three-day retreats, as well as a five-day Rohatsu Sesshin celebrating the Buddha’s awakening.
Classes at BZC engage text, lineage, and history with an orientation toward practice, rather than purely academic or objective study. They generally incorporate discussion and explore the issues of the day, both personal and social, through the dharma.
We offer both in-person and online classes on a large rotation of subjects, from studying Women Ancestors to Socially Engaged Buddhism to practicing with the Bodhisattva Precepts. Classes are led by either a pair of senior practitioners or a Dharma Teacher.Upcoming Classes