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

View the CHZC Google Calendar of Events.
Download the March-April 2021 CHZC Newsletter in PDF format.
Sign up for email updates via the Chapel Hill Zen Center Mailing List.


Due to concerns about the Novel Coronavirus, the Chapel Hill Zen Center
will be closed until further notice.

Zen Center Remains Closed

In order to make the best decisions for the health and safety of the sangha, we have not set a date when the Zen Center will reopen, or what activities will resume first. Please check the Event Calendar section of the CHZC website for updates here at www.chzc.org/events.htm.

If you haven't already, I encourage you to sign up for the new CHZC Email Mailing List where opportunities, including Zoom Study Groups and Dharma Talks are announced.

With palms together,

More Zoom Zazen

We are now offering zazen via Zoom (all times EST):

  • Monday through Friday mornings, 6 to 7:20 AM
  • Monday and Friday afternoons, 1 to 1:40 PM, and
  • Sunday mornings, 9 to 10:20 AM

Before joining the online zendo we ask that you please read the CHZC Online Zendo Guidelines to help create a settled and peaceful online space for our shared zazen experience.

Joining Zoom zazen
Via computer: www.zoom.us
Via phone: (646) 558-8656
Meeting ID: 856 5980 4526

Sangha Net

The Sangha Net is a network of volunteers who can offer short-term assistance to those in the sangha in need of help due to transitions in one’s life such as illness, disability, or death of a loved one. Examples of tasks can include shopping, arranging for meals, or transportation. During the pandemic, we will assist in ways that can allow for mutual safety.

If you would like to volunteer or if you need assistance, please contact Kris Garvin at krisgarvin@gmail.com, Senmyo Jeff Sherman at jeffsherman3333@gmail.com, or Carol Klein at carollyklein53@gmail.com.

Dokusan & Practice Discussion

Telephone interviews are available while the Zen Center is closed. If you would like to make an appointment, please write to info@chzc.org.

Individual meetings are available to discuss your meditation practice, as well as your zazen posture, practice in daily life, and questions you may have about Buddhist teaching. These are usually given during zazen and sometimes by special appointment. To support trust and openness, discussions in these meetings should be kept confidential.

Dokusan is a formal meeting with the Abbess to talk about your practice. You may schedule Dokusan by speaking to Josho Rōshi 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.

Practice Discussion is a meeting to discuss your practice with a priest. Jakuko Mo Ferrell and Zenki Kathleen Batson 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 at mositwear@gmail.com, and
Zenki - chzc.zenki@gmail.com.

A Moment of Eco-Dharma

The entire world is mind ground; the entire world is blossom heart. Because the entire world is blossom heart, the entire world is plum blossoms.
—Dogen, Shobogenzo, Baika (Plum Blossom)

Around mid-February plum blossoms (ume) are flowering in Japan, heralding the opening of the blossom heart of spring. By the end of March, the muted splendor of the ume flower is replaced by the famous sakura, or cherry blossom. This celebrity flower replaced the ume as the favored symbol of spring during the Heian era 794-1185. Which do you like better?

Further reading: Ume: Japan's Most Beautiful Early Spring Blossoms at Savvoy Tokyo.

The cherry blossoms, although more popular and dramatic, have a shorter season. After the sakura petals have begun to fall to the ground, the CHZC Eco-Dharma group will meet again after zazen on Sunday, April 11. We plan on discussing our recent experiences of and in nature, as it relates to our practice.

For more information or to get on the CHZC Eco-Dharma mailing list, please contact Chris at ccensullo@yahoo.com or Zenki at chzc.zenki@gmail.com.

All are welcome to join!

Living with Impermanence

Please write any of the contact people to find when Zoom Meetings are scheduled.

This informal discussion group meets on Zoom about once a month, providing the opportunity to explore conversations on aging, death and dying, as well as impermanence in general. Please contact Carol Klein at carollyklein53@gmail.com, Kris Garvin at krisgarvin@gmail.com, or Senmyo Sherman at jeffsherman3333@gmail.com, if you would like more information.

Everyone is welcome, regardless of age.

Children's Program

Meetings postponed until further notice.

The program, like the Zen Center's other programs, has suspended in-person meetings at the Zen Center for the time being. But there are many ways we can still come together virtually. At this time of year, we usually mark the start of the new lunar year, which this year is the year of the ox. The ox is a patient and strong animal, just the sort of qualities we need during a long pandemic. We'd make masks or cut-out stand-up models and booklets, color pictures, and share our conceptions about the ox (and talk about stereotypes in general). A story that is well known in many Asian cultures is about a young oxherd and his (at first) unruly ox. There are many sources for it online, for example, The Ten Oxherding Pictures at Tricycle magazine. Another wonderful online source for parenting ideas and support for parents is Susan Kaiser Greenland's blog at www.SusanKaiserGreenland.com. She has some great recommendations this month for children's books, such as When I Breathe Deeply/Cuando Respiro Profundo, which celebrates the power of breath to inform, energize, heal, and connect to ourselves and our communities, by Jill Guerra, translated by Morelia Rivas. The Children's Program has many books and materials that can be shared — please just ask. Also, we are constructing a new mailing list; if you'd like to be added to it, please contact me, maurahigh@gmail.com, or leave a message at (919) 265-7045.

Recovery Meeting

Meetings postponed until further notice.

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.

People of Color Sitting Group

Meetings postponed until further notice.

We were beginning our meetings with zazen, for those new to meditation or experienced, from 6 to 6:40 PM, with an option to stay for group discussion and community For more information, contact Conal or John at pocsittinggroup@gmail.com.

Organizing Against Racism

The local organization Organizing Against Racism is holding virtual workshops with REI, Racial Equity Institute, instructors. Over several years, some of us have taken this two-day workshop and have found it very informative and beneficial.

The Chapel Hill Zen Center has a scholarship fund to help those who would like to take this workshop and other workshops on race who can't afford the full fee. For more information or to request a partial scholarship, please contact Ken Wilson at wilso003@duke.edu. Donations to this fund are also welcome!

Chinese Calligraphy & Brush Painting

Classes postponed until further notice.

Jinxiu Zhao will teaches Chinese Calligraphy Sunday afternoons from 2:30 to 4:30 PM, and Brush Painting from 2:30 to 4:30 PM.

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.

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 Jane at janeharwell12@gmail.com.

Inter-faith Council Community

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.

Board of Directors for 2020

The Chapel Hill Zen Center Board of Directors are Kenneth Wilson, President; John Paredes, Vice President; Tripp Spivey, Treasurer; Chris Censullo, Secretary; Maura High and Alex Fine, Members-at-Large; and Josho Pat Phelan, ex officio.

CHZC Facebook Page

The Chapel Hill Zen Center is on Facebook! Please follow or like our official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ChapelHillZenCenter/ for announcements and invitations to events and special programs at the center. We also invite you to join our affiliated group, Chapel Hill Zen Center Members and Friends at www.facebook.com/groups/CHZCGroup/ to share news, articles, and other resources, ask questions, and interact with sangha members in a more informal way. Everyone is welcome to join.


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

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 Rōshi at (919) 967-0861 or info@chzc.org.

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.

Questioning Our
Assumptions about the World

Vasubandhu's Twenty Verses
on Mere Cognizance
A Workshop with Kokyo Henkel

Saturday, March 27, 10:30-3:30 EST
Although Vasubanhu's 30 Verses is more well-known, his 20 Verses offers another interesting angle on Yogacara. In this short workshop, Kokyo will focus on just a few verses and go into them deeply. This Zoom event will begin with a period of zazen followed by an hour and a half Talk with Q&A. There will be an hour lunch break, which will end at 1:30, followed by a second session of zazen and a Talk with a Q&A.

The Workshop is being offered by donation and the suggested donation is $20-$50. Donations can be made electronically through MoonClerk. Please indicate "Workshop Donation."

To register, please contact info@chzc.org by Wednesday, March 24. After registering, the Zoom link and reading materials will be sent to you.

Kokyo Henkel was ordained as a Zen priest in 1994 at the San Francisco Zen Center by Tenshin Reb Anderson Roshi, and received Dharma Transmission from Tenshin Roshi in 2010, becoming a lineage-holder authorized to guide others on the path. Kokyo was head teacher at the Santa Cruz Zen Center from 2010-2017. He has also been practicing with the Tibetan Dzogchen, the "Great Perfection," Teacher Tsoknyi Rinpoche since 2003, in California, Colorado, and Kathmandu. To learn more about Kokyo's practice and teaching see his website.

Zoom Dharma Talks

Josho Pat Phelan Rōshi will give a Dharma Talk after Zoom zazen Sunday morning, March 21.

Zenki Kathleen Batson will give a Dharma Talk after Zoom zazen Sunday morning, April 18.

There are also private YouTube videos of Dharma Talks by Josho, Jakuko and Zenki available on the Talks on Zen Practice sections of the CHZC website.

Half-day Sittings

Sunday mornings, March 21, and April 18
There will be Zoom Half-day Sittings from 6 AM until 12:15 PM. The schedule will be similar to that used for the morning of in-person All-day Sittings. For information and to sign up write info@chzc.org.

Bodhisattva Ceremony

Sunday mornings, March 28, and April 25
The Bodhisattva Ceremony, a renewal of vows and precepts, is a pre-Buddhist ceremony with its roots in ancient India. The Bodhisattva Ceremony will be held on Sundays, March 28, and April 25, after zazen at 10:30 am.

Practicing at Home:
Shelter-in-Place Chanting Service

Chapel Hill Zen Center priests will be chanting this service in their homes Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Please use this chanting service as you like to support your own practice at home. You may find it encouraging to join this recorded service after sitting zazen (zen meditation).

If you would like someone remembered during the Well-being Dedication, please send their name to chzczenki@gmail.com. You can also download the complete Chapel Hill Zen Center Chant Book here.

Practicing at Home: Ryaku Fusatsu —
The Bodhisattva Ceremony

Study Group

While the Zen Center is closed, we are currently planning for three remote Study Groups via Zoom:

Open to everyone, and there is no charge. Please log on 5-10 minutes before the study group begins so we can start on time

Monday Evenings
We will read and discuss Thich Nhat Hanh's book, Transformation at the Base which has been reprinted in paperback with the title, Understanding Our Mind, about consciousness and how it works. We meet Monday evenings from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. Please log on by 5:25 PM so we can begin on time.

Tuesday Evenings
A Lankavatara Sutra study group, reading two translations by Red Pine and D. T. Suzuki. Please contact info@chzc.org for handouts.

Thursday Evenings
The Thursday Evening Study Group will resume on March 18, 6:45 to 8 PM. We will begin reading, Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out by Insight Meditation teacher, Ruth King. If you would like to join this study group, please contact Zenki at info@chzc.org.

Zoom Study Group Instructions
The CHZC has access to this Zoom account for all of the Study Groups. The instructions for logging on to the CHZC Zoom account are:

  • Study Group Meetings will take place on a Zoom meeting, which you can join either by laptop/desktop computer or by simply dialing in from your telephone.
  • To join from your laptop or desktop, click the following link and follow the instructions: www.zoom.us. If you're asked to enter the meeting ID, it is 821 378 615.
  • If you prefer to join by telephone, dial the following number: (646) 558-8656 and, when prompted, enter the meeting ID: 821 378 615. You may then be prompted to press the pound key again.
  • Please note: If you join from your computer, the audio will work better (for everyone, not just you) if you use headphones while you're on the call. Also, if you have slow internet at home and join from your computer, you may have a better signal if you turn off your video (you'll see a button for that at the bottom of the screen once you join the meeting).

Precepts Weekend

Postponed until further notice.

The Lay Precepts Ceremony, Zaike Tokudo, or Staying Home and Accomplishing the Way, will be held on Sunday afternoon, April 19, at 1:30 PM. The Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts will be given. You are warmly invited to attend, to witness and support these ordainees, as well as renew your own vows. A reception will follow. There will also be a Dharma Talk at 10:30 this morning.

Study Hall

Postponed until further notice.

Study Hall is a time to read Buddhist materials in a quite atmosphere with others on Monday mornings, from 7:45 until 8:30 or 9 AM. Please feel free to join us for any of this time that works for you.

Home Composting Workshop

Postponed until further notice.

The Eco-Dharma Group welcomes you to a composting workshop where you will learn how to build different types of simple composting bins; various composting options, including composting subscription services; tips and tricks from experienced composters, and how composting is a part of Buddhist practice. There will be speakers, demonstrations, and hands-on learning activities. You will become more knowl-edgeable in how to set up your own composting system in your house/apartment. Refreshments will be provided!

For questions, please contact Chris Censullo at ccensullo@yahoo.com or Zenki Kathleen Batson at chzc.zenki@gmail.com.

Richmond Zen Group

Richmond Zen is affiliated with the Chapel Hill Zen Center, and Josho Sensei visits regularly. For information, contact Stan at (804) 833-1009 or visit www.richmondzen.org.

Zen Center Library

These books have been added to the Members' Library:

  • A Blueprint of Enlightenment: A Contemporary Commentary on Dogen Zenji's Gakudo Yojinshu by Gien Inoue
  • A First Zen Reader by Trevor Leggett
  • Visions of Awakening Space and Time by Dan Taigen Leighton
  • The Art of Purring, The Four Paws of Spiritual Success, and The Power of Meow novels by David Michie
  • Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa by Diana Mukpo
  • A Pali-English Glossary of Buddhist Technical Terms by Bhikku Nanamoli
  • Tantric Buddhism in East Asia by by Richard Payne
  • A Survey of Buddhism: Its Doctrines and Methods Through the Ages by Sangharakshita

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

CHZC Newsletter in PDF Format

Download the March-April 2021 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.

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.

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