Upcoming Events
For more information, call (919) 967-0861

Download the January-February 2019 CHZC Newsletter in PDF format.
Sign up for email updates via the Chapel Hill Zen Center Listserv.
View the CHZC Google Calendar of Events.

Kessei-ango: 90 Day Practice Period

April 14 to July 14, 2019
I am honored and grateful to be able to announce that for the first time, the Chapel Hill Zen Center will hold a 90-day Ango or Practice Period, from April 14 to July 14, and I warmly invite you to join this time of more intense practice.

In 2017, the Zen Center applied to the Soto Zen School in Japan to be registered as a recognized Overseas Temple. In September of that year, the Chapel Hill Zen Center was registered. This allows us to have recognized Practice Periods, a time of more intensive practice opportunities and commitment. The Practice Period will have a Shuso or Head Monk, which is the second level of training or initiation for a priest. Myokyo Zenki Kathleen Batson will be the Head Monk.

The Practice Period will begin after zazen on Sunday morning April 14, with an Opening Ceremony. During Practice Period, the Shuso will begin giving Dharma Talks and will have teas to meet in small groups to talk about practice. There also will be larger teas on Sundays to discuss our practice and get to know each other better.

There will be a Dharma Inquiry Ceremony on Saturday evening, June 29, for participants in the Practice Period to formally ask a question of the Shuso. The Director of North American Soto Zen, Gengo Akiba Roshi, will attend and lead us in this ceremony.

This is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to re-commit to practice and see what happens when we do more. The schedule of events is still tentative, but this is what we have planned so far, and there will be a registration form in the March-April newsletter. I hope you will consider supporting the Shuso, or Head Monk, by participating and stretching your commitment to zendo activities during this time.

With palms together,
Taitaku Josho

Kessei-ango Schedule

Sunday, April 14: Opening Ceremony followed by a group Tea where we introduce ourselves and hear more about Practice Period events and opportunities.

Monday moring, April 15: Study Hall, and continuing each Monday morning from 7:45 to 8:30 or 9AM through July 8, except Memorial Day.

Tuesday night, April 16: Way-seeking Mind Talk by Zenki Kathleen Batson, at 7:45 PM, after one period of zazen. Others will give Way-seeking Mind talks on other Tuesday evenings, TBA.

Thursday night, April 18: Study Group, and continuing each Thursday through July 11 from 6:45 to 8 PM.

Sunday morning, April 28: Buddha's Birthday Celebration and Pot-luck Lunch.

Saturday morning, May 4: Silent Half-Day Sitting.

Sunday, May 5: Public Dharma Talk by Zenki Kathleen Batson at 10:30 AM

Tuesday night, May 14: Public Dharma Talk by Zoketsu Norman Fischer and Book Signing at 7:45 PM, after one period of zazen.

Friday night, May 17: Public Dharma Talk by Edward Brown and Book Signing.

Saturday and Sunday, May 18-19: Teaching Weekend with Edward Brown and Public Dharma Talk on Sunday.

Monday, May 27: Zendo Closed for Memorial Day.

Sunday, June 2: Tea for Practice Period Participants after Temple Cleaning.

Monday, June 3: Evening Zazen, and continuing each Monday from 6 to 6:40 PM through July 8.

Wednesday, June 5: Evening Zazen, and continuing each Wednesday from 6 to 6:40 PM through July 10.

Sunday, June 9: All-Day Sitting, with a Public Dharma Talk by Zenki Kathleen Batson.

Sunday, June 16: Tea for Practice Period Participants.

Sunday, June 23: Dharma Talk by Zenki Katheen Batson at 10:30 PM.

Friday or Saturday, June 28 or 29: Japanese priests and priests from other lineages arrive.

Saturday evening, June 29: Dharma Inquiry Ceremony (Shuso Ceremony) where Practice Period Participants each ask the Shuso (Zenki) a question.

Sunday morning, June 30: Public Dharma Talk by Akiba Roshi at 10:30 AM.

Thursday, July 4: No evening programs, morning zazen only.

Friday, July 5: Zendo Closed.

Tuesday night, July 9: Public Dharma Talk by Zenki Kathleen Batson at 7:45 PM after one period of zazen.

Sunday morning, July 14: Short Practice Period Closing Ceremony and final Tea for Practice Period Participants after Temple Cleaning.

Genzo-e Sesshin

At this time, registration for the Genzo-e Sesshin is full, and there is a long waiting list.

March 1 to 6
Shohaku Okumura Roshi will lead a 5-day Genzo-e or teaching sesshin, beginning at 7 PM on Friday night, March 1, and going through Wednesday afternoon, March 6. In the Genzo-e sesshin, Okumura Roshi will give an hour and a half talk each morning and afternoon on Dogen's text Menju or Face-to-Face Transmission. Okumura Roshi will be using his own translation which will be available before he arrives. Other translations are included in Kaz Tanahashi's Moon in a Dewdrop, p.175, and in Nishijima and Cross's Master Dogen's Shobogenzo, Book 3, p. 155.

Shohaku Okumura Roshi is a wonderful teacher of Dogen's Way of practice and teaching, and we are fortunate that he will be able to lead sesshin in North Carolina. Okumura Roshi is the abbot of Sanshinji in Bloomington, IN. He was ordained in 1970 by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi, and he has translated many teachings on Soto Zen practice including, Uchiyama Roshi's books Opening the Hand of Thought and Dogen's Genjokoan; and Dogen's Extensive Record: a Translation of the Eihei Koroku; as well as his own books, Realizing Genjokoan, Living by Vow and The Mountains and Waters Sutra: A Practitioner's Guide to Dogen's Sansuikyo.

In order to help all of us settle into the schedule and our zazen practice, please arrive on time. If you can only sit part of the sesshin, please explain clearly what part of sesshin you would like to attend when you register, and come to orientation on Friday night. Priority will be given to those attending the full sesshin. It is advisable to sign up for sesshin sooner than you might normally, since there will be more people attending from out of state than usual. Please return your registration by February 15, with a $40 deposit.

Click here to download the 2019 Genzo-e Sesshin Registration Form.

Sesshin will begin at 7 PM on Friday evening with orientation and job assignments. Following orientation, silence will be observed. The zendo will be open by 4 PM on Friday; so please try to arrive in time to settle in before 7 PM. The sesshin day will include zazen, beginning at 6 AM, kinhin, Dharma talks, a work period, and formal meals served in the zendo. The day will end by 9 PM. Because expenses will be higher for this sesshin than in the past, the fees will also be higher and on a sliding scale for those who may want to offer more. For members, the fees are $225-$300, and for others $275-$350. There will also be an opportunity to make a donation to the teacher. It is our intention that no one be turned away for financial reasons, and partial scholarships are available. If you would like to request a scholarship, please contact Ken at kenneth.wilson@duke.edu and let him know what your participation in the CHZC has been. In the past, contributions received for scholarships were very helpful in allowing people to attend sesshin here and at the San Francisco Zen Center.

You are welcome to sleep in the zendo, and there may be some space available in members' homes nearby. Please bring a pad for the floor, a sleeping bag, a pillow, a towel and wash cloth, an old washcloth to clean your feet on breaks, slip-on shoes, and layered clothing. Opportunities for bathing are limited. Please bring work clothes. For more information, please write: info@chzc.org, or call (919) 967-0861. The zendo emergency number is (919) 933-0776.

Children's Program

The Zen Center's Children's Program offers children four years and older a place in the Zen Center sangha through a variety of activities, including meditation, story, craft, song, and movement, as well as participation in Zen Center events and celebrations throughout the year. In each meeting, the children have the space and time to practice living mindfully and to learn about Buddhist teachings and contexts while giving their parents an opportunity to meditate in the concurrent adult program.

The Children's Program meets twice a month, on Sunday mornings, from 8:50 until 11 AM. The program will be held on February 3 and 24, March 10 and 24, April 7 and 28, and May 12 and 26. For more information, please contact Maura High, the program coordinator, at maurahigh@gmail.com.

Eco-Dharma Discussion Group

Mountains and waters right now are the actualization of the ancient Buddha way.
— Master Dogen

Sunday, February 3 at 11:15 AM
In this group we will informally explore together Buddhist teachings on the natural world, caring for the natural world as an expression of the Bodhisattva Vow, and our own responses to current environmental issues. The intention of this group is to support and inspire one another in our efforts to make appropriate Buddhist responses to environmental concerns at a personal, local and global level. If you are interested please contact Zenki Kathleen Batson at lulu@rumblebuss.com.

Aging Gracefully, Befriending Death

This is an informal discussion group that gives the opportunity to share readings, information, and explore conversations among ourselves on these topics. Please contact Carol Klein at wmichael@nc.rr.com, Kris Garvin at krisgarvin@gmail.com or Senmyo Jeff Sherman at jeffsherman3333@gmail.com, if you have questions, would like more information. Everyone is welcome, regardless of age.

Private Interview

Individual meetings are available to discuss your meditation practice including your posture, practice in daily life, and questions you may have about Buddhist teaching. Interviews are usually given during zazen and sometimes by special appointment.

Dokusan is a formal meeting with the Abbess to talk about your practice. You may schedule Dokusan by speaking to Josho Sensei or contacting her at info@chzc.org. When it's time for you to have Dokusan, someone may come to the zendo and get you, or the bell in the Dokusan Room will signal when it is time for you to come back. When it is your turn, go to the Dokusan Room, enter and close the door. Do one floor bow toward the altar ending with a standing bow, then sidestep and bow to and away from the cushion. Sit down and turn clockwise to face the teacher, settle and begin talking. When Dokusan is over, turn clockwise, fluff your cushion, and do a standing bow. Leave the door slightly open as you leave. During all-day sittings and sesshins the private interview will be treated as Dokusan.

Practice Discussion is a discussion with a priest about your practice. Jakuko Mo Ferrell and Choro Carla Antonaccio are available to meet with people for Practice Discussion. The form is to do a standing bow in front of the altar and to bow to and away from your cushion before sitting down, turn clockwise and begin. You may contact them at the zendo or by email. Jakuko can be reached at mositwear@gmail.com and Choro can be reached at subtlegate@gmail.com.

Sangha Network

The CHZC has a Sangha Network of volunteers to offer short-term assistance to those in the sangha who need help with simple tasks such as shopping, arranging for meals, or transportation, due to transitions in one's life including illness, disability, or death of a loved one. If you would like to volunteer or if you need assistance, please contact Kris Garvin at krisgarvin@gmail.com or Senmyo Jeff Sherman at jeffsherman3333@gmail.com.

Richmond Zen Group

Josho Sensei will visit the Richmond Zen Group on Wednesday evening, February 13, to sit zazen and give a Dharma Talk, beginning at 7 PM.

For information, contact Stan at (804) 833-1009 or visit www.richmondzen.org.

Bhavana Community of Coastal Carolina (Wilmington)

Sunday evening, March 10, 6 to 8PM
On Sunday, March 10, Josho Pat Phelan will give a Dharma Talk. Silent meditation will begin at 6:15 PM and the Dharma Talk begins at 7 PM. There is no fee, but there is a dana box near the door if you wish to make a donation to support The Chapel Hill Zen Center or the Bhavana Community programming. The Bhavana Community meets at the Porter's Neck Yoga Co-op, 106 Marshall Court, Unit 120, Wilmington, NC.

Board of Directors for 2019

The new Chapel Hill Zen Center Board of Directors are Kenneth Wilson, President; John Paredes, Vice President; Mike McKillip, Treasurer; Nell Kriesberg, Secretary; Andrea Ashdown and Tripp Spivey, Members-at-Large; and Josho Pat Phelan, ex officio. Many thanks and deep bows to Maura High who served as president of the board for these past three years, and to Colin Maxwell who served as Member-at-Large for this past year.

Adverse Weather Policy

The general rule about coming to the zendo is, if driving may be risky, don't do it. For example, when it is snowing or sleeting, or if snow or sleet are predicted to occur before or during zazen, you can assume that the zendo will be closed. This is particularly true for 6 AM zazen. The highway where the zendo is located is often not as well traveled or as well treated for snow as other highways in the area, and the temperature in the county is often a couple of degrees colder than in more populated areas.

2019 CROP Hunger Walk

"Keep a thought for those less fortunate... Walk for all of them and walk for all of us across the world.
We walk together."

Bonita, CROP Hunger Walk volunteer in North Carolina

Sunday, March 24
Please join fellow sangha members for the 32nd Annual Chapel Hill/Carrboro CROP Hunger Walk. This is an opportunity to join with other religious congregations in our area to help hungry and impoverished people locally, and around the world.

You can simply make a donation, walk with us, or both! You can also request donations from friends and family. And your offering can be handled easily online by going to the Chapel Hill Zen Center team's CROP Walk page. The 2019 CROP Hunger Walk is scheduled for Sunday, March 24 at 2:30 PM, beginning and ending at the Carrboro Town Commons, 301 W. Main Street in Carrboro.

Weekend of Practice
with Jusan Kainei Edward Brown

portrait of Ed Espe Brown

May 17 to 19
Edward Espe Brown is a Soto Zen Buddhist priest, ordained in 1971 by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Edward has been practicing Zen since 1965 and also has done extensive vipassana practice, yoga, and chi gung. Edward helped found Greens Restaurant in San Francisco, and his books include The Tassajara Bread Book, Tassajara Cooking, The Tassajara Recipe Book, and Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings. He also edited Not Always So, a collection of Suzuki Roshi's lectures. The Most Important Point: Zen Teachings of Edward Espe Brown, his newest book, will be released in April.

More information will follow.

Dharma Talks

Josho Pat Phelan Roshi will give a public Dharma Talk on Sunday, February 10 at 10:30 AM.

Shohaku Okumura Roshi, a disciple of Uchiyama Roshi and Abbot of Sanshinji in Bloomington, IN, will give a public Dharma Talk on Sunday morning, March 3, at 10:30 AM.

Kuden Paul Boyle will give a public Dharma Talk on Sunday morning, March 10 at 10:30 AM.

Zenki Kathleen Batson will give public Dharma Talks on Sundays, May 5, June 9 and 23, and July 9 at 10:30 AM.

Zoketsu Norman Fischer will give a public Dharma Talk on Tuesday night, May 14 at 7:45 PM.

Edward Espe Brown will give public Dharma Talks on Friday night May 17 at 7:45 PM and Sunday morning, May 19 at 10:30 AM.

Gengo Akiba Roshi will give a public Dharma Talk on Sunday morning, June 30 at 10:30 AM.

Everyone is welcome.

All-Day Sittings

Sundays, April 7 and June 9
An All-Day Sitting is scheduled for Sundays, April 7 and June 9, from 6 AM until 5 PM. The sittings will begin with orientation on Saturday night at 7:30 PM, and will include instruction on the meal form and one period of zazen. The regular Sunday schedule, with zazen at 9 AM and 9:50 AM and Dharma Talk at 10:30 AM, will be open to everyone. The day will include zazen, a lecture, dokusan and a work period, as well as breakfast and lunch. The fee is $10 for members and $20 for others. It is alright to sit half of the day, but please sign up in advance, and please speak to Josho Sensei if this is your first all-day sitting. For more information on the oryoki meal form see: www.kannondo.org/getting-started/oryoki/

Silent Half-Day Sitting

Saturday, May 4
On Saturday, May 4, a Silent Half-Day Sitting will be held from 8:30 PM to 12:30 PM. This will be similar to an All-day Sitting, but there will be no chanting, no service, no floor bows, and no work period, only zazen and kinhin. There will be no meals, so please eat breakfast before coming. Please sign up in advance by contacting: info@chzc.org. Guidelines will be sent via email. There is no fee.

Study Group

Eternal does not mean unchanging; it means that this impermanent moment goes on endlessly. In this way, we come to understand that time cannot pass away. It is the eternal presencing of all being-time.
— Shinshu Roberts, Being-Time

Thursday evenings at 6:45 PM
Join us Thursday evenings as we continue reading together and discussing the book Being-Time, A Practitioner's Guide to Dogen's Shobogenzo Uji, by Shinshu Roberts.

This is a commentary on and a discussion of Zen Master Dogen's text based on his premise that being and time are inseparable. Everyone is welcome and there is no charge. Copies of the book are for sale in the entryway.

Looking Ahead

portrait of Zoketsu Norman Fischer

On Tuesday evening, May 14, at 7:45PM, Zoketsu Norman Fischer will talk on his new book, The World Could Be Otherwise: Imagination and the Bodhisattva Path. Copies will be available to buy and he will be happy to sign them. The talk will follow one period of zazen at 7 PM.

Zen Teachings in Challenging Times

A third volume of teachings by Soto Zen women teachers, including Josho Pat Phelan, has just been published. This new book, edited by Maura High, will be available for sale soon at the zendo. The previous two books, Receiving the Marrow and Seeds of Virtue, Seeds of Change, also have chapters by Josho Pat Phelan, and are available for sale in the zendo entryway.

Zen Teachings in Challenging Times book cover

People of Color Sitting Group

Wednesday evenings from 6 to 7:30 PM
The POC Sitting Group begins with zazen from 6 to 6:40 PM, with an option to stay for group discussion and community building. We are currently discussing the book Sanctuary by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel. Both those new to meditation, or experienced, are warmly welcome to join us or drop in as you like. For more information, contact Conal, Kriti or John at pocsittinggroup@gmail.com.

As usual, instruction in zazen and an orientation are offered to the public on Sunday morning at 9 AM, and on Tuesday night at 7 PM.

Recovery Meeting

Tuesday evenings, 7:30 to 8:30 PM
This is a recovery group with a Buddhist perspective on the 12-Step Program which meets at the Chapel Hill Zen Center. The meetings begin with twenty minutes of silent meditation. For more information, contact: (919) 265-7600 or ZenandRecovery@gmail.com.

Chinese Calligraphy & Brush Painting

Jinxiu Zhao will teach Chinese Calligraphy on Sunday afternoons from 2:15 to 3:45 PM, and Brush Painting from 2:15 to 4:15 PM on January 6 and 27, and February 17 and 24.

Fees are $30 per class, or $110 for 4 classes. Please contact Jinxiu at (919) 484-7524 or jxznc@aol.com to register or for more information. Jinxiu is also available to teach children's classes.

New Library Books

The Zen Center Library is available to Participating Members to check out books for three weeks at a time, with a two-week renewal.

New aquisitions for the Member's Library include:
Louis De LaVallee Poussin, Abhidharma Kosa Bhasyam in three volumes
Hakuin, The Sound of One Hand: Paintings and Calligraphy by Zen Master Hakuin
Robert Aitken, Zen Vows for Daily Life

The library catalogue is online at www.tinyurl.com/chzclibrary.

Prison Book Donation Program

The Prison Book Donation Program is grateful for the generous support of the Sangha. Donations of Buddhist books, particularly on Zen, are appreciated, and only paperbacks are accepted by the prison. Please leave prison book donations at the Zendo.

Prison Outreach

Members of the Chapel Hill Zen Center volunteer in both state prisons in North Carolina and the federal prison at Butner. We can always use more volunteers, and having volunteers present is usually a requirement in order for inmates to meet for religious services or to sit zazen. We are looking for people who have been sitting zazen at the Zen Center for a year or more. Orientation is required by each institution. If you would like more information, please contact Josho at (919) 967-0861 or info@chzc.org.

Shopping Online?

The Chapel Hill Zen Center is now registered with the online company iGive.com. iGive.com is set up so that when you register with them to make a purchase, a percentage (about 2%-15%) will be given to the non-profit of your choice. iGive.com has 238 merchants registered with them, including LandsEnd, L.L. Bean, and Amazon.com. After logging on to iGive.com, to make a purchase, choose the merchant, place the order, and then designate the Chapel Hill Zen Center to receive a portion of the proceeds from the sale. We are not advocating that you buy something you wouldn't ordinarily, or that you buy online, but, if you already shop online, consider going through iGive.com to make your purchase.

Amazon Smile

Amazon now donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Your selection will be remembered, and then every eligible purchase you make on AmazonSmile will result in a donation. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. The Chapel Hill Zen Center is now listed with smile.amazon.com

CHZC Newsletter in PDF Format

Download the January-February 2019 CHZC Newsletter in PDF format.

If you prefer receiving an email with a link to the PDF file of the CHZC Newsletter which is mailed every two months in printed form, please send your request to info@chzc.org. The PDF version is always linked to at the top of the Events page.

To get the latest version of Adobe's free PDF viewer, Acrobat Reader, click here.


The Chapel Hill Zen Center now has a blog with photographs from recent ceremonies and events. See: www.chapelhillzen.wordpress.com.

Email Updates via the CHZC Listserv

You are invited to join an email listserv now available via Yahoo for announcements about upcoming activities at the CHZC. If you wish to become a member of this listserv, please type "Subscribe" in the subject line and send an email to CHZCannounce-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. You can also go to: www.groups.yahoo.com/group/CHZCannounce and click the "Join Now" box. You may be requested to supply some information or to create a Yahoo "identity." Please note the options for making your email address public or for receiving marketing or other messages not directly from the listserv. It is your choice whether or not to receive other messages. Joining this list will not increase the amount of spam you receive. If you have any questions, please contact the list moderator, Lance at lashdown@yahoo.com.

Altar Maintenance & Flower Arrangers

If you are interested in helping care for the altars of our temple, this would be a good time to begin, or return to, the practice of chidening and flower arranging. Traditionally, chidens are responsible for maintaining the altars of a temple which means cleaning the altars themselves, sifting and cleaning the incense burners, trimming candles, and replenishing needed items.

We also need volunteers to bring flowers and create flower arrangements for the altars.

Chidening and creating flower arrangements are wonderful ways of supporting the ongoing practice of our temple. A new schedule is being set up, and if you are interested in serving as a chiden about once a month, please contact John at john@jollyoso.com. If you are interested in serving as a flower arranger about once a month, please contact Andrea at andreajost@gmail.com.

Volunteers Needed

A group of Zen Center volunteers prepare and serve lunch at the Inter-faith Council Community Kitchen on the fourth Saturday of each month from 10 AM to 1 PM. More volunteers are needed, including a core group of committed people, so we can continue our presence. The IFC Community Kitchen is the only soup kitchen in Orange Country and is located on the corner of Rosemary and Columbia Streets in Chapel Hill. If you are interested in volunteering or would like more information, please contact Shawn at (919) 619-2243 or chzencooks@gmail.com.