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

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

Detail of Buddha figure in the Earth Witness Mudra

Rohatsu Sesshin
Friday, December 6 through Friday, December 13, 2019

Josho Roshi will lead the Rohatsu Sesshin from Friday night, December 6, through Friday afternoon, December 13. Sesshin is an intimate way to practice with ourselves and others. We begin sesshin together, we sit together, walk together, eat together, and work together. Our practice is supported by the entire universe and each of us is supporting everyone else.

Sesshin will begin at 7 PM on Friday evening with orientation and job assignments. In order to help all of us settle into the schedule and our zazen practice, please arrive on time for orientation on Friday night. Following orientation, silence will be observed. The zendo will be open by 4 PM on Friday; so please plan to arrive in time to settle in before 7 PM. It is possible to sit part of the sesshin, but please come to orientation on Friday night, and commit to sitting for at least two days. When registering, clearly explain what part of sesshin you would like to attend.

The sesshin day will include zazen, beginning at 6 AM, kinhin, a Dharma talk, work period, and formal meals served in the zendo. Dokusan, an individual meeting with Josho Roshi, will be available. The day will end around 9:30 PM. We are planning for the 5th day of sesshin to be a silent day, with no chanting or Dharma Talk.

Because expenses have increased and because of unexpected repairs, the fees are higher this year. Fees are $50 per day for Participating Members, and $60 per day for others. However if you are able to offer more, it would be very helpful; the additional funds can be considered a tax-exempt donation. There will also be an opportunity to offer a donation to the teacher. It is our intention that no one be turned away for financial reasons. Scholarships will continue to be available. If you would like to request a scholarship, please contact Ken Wilson at kenneth.wilson@duke.edu. In the past, contributions received for scholarships were very helpful in allowing people to attend sesshin here and at the San Francisco Zen Center. Please return your registration form by November 25, with a $30 deposit.

Download the 2019 Rohatsu Sesshin Registration From

You are welcome to sleep in the zendo, and there may be some space available in members' homes nearby. Please bring a portable bed or pad for the floor, a sleeping bag, pillow, a towel and wash cloth, slip-on shoes, work clothes, and layered clothing. Opportunities for bathing are limited. For more information, please contact Zenki Kathleen Batson at info@chzc.org.
The Zen Center emergency phone is (919) 933-0776.

Sesshin Guidelines

  • Follow the schedule completely. If you are unable to do so, please speak to Josho before signing up. If you become sick, or if a difficulty arises during sesshin, please speak with Josho, the Director, or the Ino at that time.
  • No reading or writing, including Buddhist studies. Of course, you may read the sesshin schedule, but any reading that is not essential to the sesshin should not be done.
  • No talking. Please maintain silence on breaks and during work time.
  • Meal Practice. Please take some of each food being served unless you have a bad allergy to a particular food. Our meal practice is to accept what is offered. If you have a problem with, or allergy to, any food, please indicate that on the registration form.
  • Tea, coffee and water will be available during breaks and before zazen in the morning.
  • Please do not use deodorants, aftershave lotion, or other cosmetics that are perfumed.
  • No smoking in the building or on the decks.

Download the 2019 Rohatsu Sesshin Registration From

Beginning Zen Practice
A Class with David Guy

Monday nights, 7:30 to 9 PM
September 23 to October 28

Stop searching for phrases and chasing after words. Take the backward step and turn the light inward. Your body-mind of itself will drop off and your original face will appear.
— Dogen

Zen Meditation, or zazen, is the simple practice of being present with our experience. We hear the instructions in a matter of minutes, but spend a lifetime learning the practice. This class will introduce participants to meditation and give them support as they develop a daily sitting practice. It will also introduce them to other aspects of practice at the Chapel Hill Zen Center.

The first night will begin with meditation instructions and a short period of sitting. Each week we will continue to sit for a period at the beginning of class, gradually increasing the time. Participants will have a chance to ask questions and raise concerns about their practice. As the weeks proceed we will study other aspects of Zen practice, including walking meditation, protocol around the zendo, and the service of bowing and chanting. But the focus will be on zazen, and participants' actual practice as it unfolds. The content of the class will emerge from participants' questions and concerns.

Cost is $60, payable the first night, and will be contributed to the Zen Center. Partial scholarships are available. For more information, or to sign up, please contact David Guy at (919) 641-9277 or davidguy@mindspring.com.

David Guy has been practicing meditation since 1991, and regularly gives sitting instruction. He has co-authored two books with Larry Rosenberg of the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center — Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice of Insight Meditation and Living in the Light of Death: On the Art of Being Truly Alive. In 2008 he published Jake Fades: A Novel of Impermanence. David's blog can be found at www.DavidGuy.org.

Aging Gracefully, Befriending Death

Sunday, September 29, at 11:15
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.

Eco-Dharma Discussion Group

Sunday, October 27 at 11:15 AM

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

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.

Children's Program

Sunday morning, November 3
The Zen Center's Children's Program is looking for a helper (or two) interested in guiding children as they develop awareness and mindfulness. You would co-lead the program with the director, Maura High, and lead the program in her absence. Please contact Maura at maurahigh @gmail.com or Josho Roshi at joshochzc@gmail.com if you'd like to know more.

The Children's Program is designed for children four years and older. We aim to include them in the Zen Center sangha through a variety of activities — 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 space and time to practice living mindfully and to learn about Buddhist teachings while giving their parents an opportunity to meditate in the concurrent adult program.

The program meets on the first Sunday of each month, drop-off time from 8:50 until about 9:30, and pick-up at 11:00 A.M. (parents are welcome to stay with the children if they like). If you're interested in child care on the Sundays we don't have a scheduled meeting, please ask — we can usually arrange it. To sign up, or for more information, contact Maura High, maurahigh@gmail.com.

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.

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. 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.

Chinese Calligraphy & Brush Painting

Jinxiu Zhao will teach Chinese Calligraphy on Sunday afternoons from 2:30 to 4:00 PM, and Brush Painting from 2:30 to 4:30 PM on August 11 and 18, September 1 and 15, October 6 and 27, November 3 and 17, and December 1 and 15.

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.

Dokusan & Practice Discussion

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 Roshis 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, Choro Carla Antonaccio, 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 - mositwear@gmail.com,
Choro - subtlegate@gmail.com, and
Zenki - chzc.zenki@gmail.com.

Richmond Zen Group

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

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.

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.

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.

Board of Directors for 2019

Nell Kriesberg has resigned as Secretary of the Board, and Tripp Spivey, who was a Member-at-Large, was appointed by the Board to fill the position for the rest of this year. Chris Censullo has accepted the position of Member-at Large for the rest of the year to replace Tripp. We offer our deep gratitude to Nell for serving as Secretary.

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

Sejiki Ceremony

Saturday October 26 at 7 PM
The Sejiki Ceremony will be held on Saturday evening October 26, at 7 PM, followed by pot-luck refreshments. Children are welcome, and welcome to wear costumes. And we invite you to help decorate the entry garden and deck with your Jack-o-Lanterns!

Sejiki is a Japanese word meaning "feeding the hungry ghosts." Hungry ghosts are depicted as beings with very large stomachs swollen from malnutrition, who have the tiniest of throats, and who are always hungry. They are symbolic of the state of mind which is never satisfied with who we are or what we have. In the ceremony we call forth hungry ghosts and beings who are stuck in intermediary states, as well the dark, unknown regions of our own psyches, bringing them into the light. We offer them the nourishment of Dharma with the hope of satisfying and releasing them.

The Sejiki Ceremony also has the feeling of a universal memorial service. In addition to releasing the spirits of the departed, the ceremony is intended to resolve our karmic relationships with the deceased. During the ceremony, the names of those for whom we have performed memorial services during the past year will be read. If you would like the name of a friend or relative, or other being, read during the service, please leave the name in an envelope on the zendo bulletin board, or send it to info@chzc.org no later than the day before the ceremony.

In the spirit of Sejiki, we invite you to bring a food offering for the Interfaith Council pantry of non-perishable goods, which will be collected in the entryway.

8 AM Wednesday Morning Zazen

Join us for a period of zazen Wednesday mornings from 8 to 8:40 AM. Drop-ins welcome. Our usual early morning zazen at 6 and 6:50 AM will also be held, followed by sutra chanting serice.

Study Hall

Monday Mornings at 7:45 AM
We will continue having a quiet Study Hall to read Buddhist materials 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.

Study Group

Thursday Evenings at 6:45 PM
Join us Thursday evenings, 6:45 to 8 PM, as we read together and discuss the The Mountains and Waters Sutra, a text by Master Dogen, with Shohaku Okumura's commentary. We will return to the place in the book where we left off — page 104. Copies of the book are for sale in the entryway. Study Group is preceded by one period of zazen at 6 PM.

Everyone is welcome and there is no charge.

Dharma Talks

Josho Pat Phelan Roshi will give public Dharma Talks on Sunday mornings, October 20 at 10:30 AM.

Chimyo Atkinson will give a public Dharma Talk on Sunday morning November 10, at 10:30 AM. Chimyo received Dharma transmission under Rev. Teijo Munnich in 2015, in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. Chimyo received her monastic training in Japan and the US, and currently serves as Head of Practice at Great Tree Zen Women's Temple in Alexander, NC.

Jakuko Mo Ferrell will give a public Dharma Talk on Sunday, November 17, at 10:30 AM.

Zenki Kathleen Batson will give a public Dharma Talk on Sunday, November 24, at 10:30 AM.

Everyone is welcome.

All-Day Sitting

Sunday, October 20
An all-day sitting is scheduled for Sunday, October 20, from 6 AM until 5 PM. The sitting 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 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. It is alright to sit half of the day, but please sign up in advance, and please speak to Josho Roshi if this is your first all-day sitting. For more information on the oryoki meal form see: www.kannondo.org/getting-started/oryoki/.

The fees for All-day Sittings have been the same since 1993. We are now suggesting a donation of $15 for members and $25 for others. However, if you are inclined to offer more, that would be very helpful in maintaining Zen Center. Oryoki sets are available for use by those who do not have their own, and a $5 donation would be appreciated.

Outdoor Half-Day Sitting

Saturday, November 9, 6:30AM to 12:15PM
The Eco-dharma Discussion group is sponsoring our first Half-day Outdoor Sitting. There will be no orientation Friday night, details and procedures for participating will be sent via email. Please Sign up at the bulletin board or email info@chzc.org. A simple breakfast, coffee and tea will be provided. Fees for this sitting are by donation.

When signing up please indicate if you will participate for the whole morning and if not, what portion you plan to attend.

General Meeting

Sunday, November 3 at 11 AM
The General Meeting, our annual members' business meeting, will be held on Sunday morning, November 3, at 11:00, following zazen. The nominees for the next Board of Directors will be introduced and the budget for 2020 will be presented. Everyone is encouraged to attend, but only Participating Members are eligible to vote. If you have agenda items, please contact the Board President, Ken Wilson at kenneth.wilson@duke.edu.

Looking Ahead

Closings for the Winter Holidays — The Zen Center will be closed Thursday and Friday, November 28 and 29 for the Thanksgiving holiday, and open Sunday morning, December 1.
The Zen Center will also be closed from Friday morning, December 20 through Thursday, January 2 on weekdays, and open on Sunday mornings, December 22 and 29.

June Sesshin — June 13 to 18, 2020, led by Daitsu Tom Wright.

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:
The World Could Be Otherwise: Imagination and the Bodhisattva Path by Zoketsu Norman Fischer
The Most Important Point, Zen Teachings of Edward Espe Brown by Edward Brown
Freedom from Anger: Understanding it, Overcoming it, and Finding Joy by the Venerable Alubomulle Somanasara.

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 Roshi 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 September-October 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.

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.

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.

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 Carol Klein at wmichael@nc.rr.com, Kris Garvin at krisgarvin@gmail.com or Senmyo Jeff Sherman at jeffsherman3333@gmail.com.