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

View the CHZC Google Calendar of Events.
Download the March-April 2020 CHZC Newsletter in PDF format.
Sign up for email updates via the Chapel Hill Zen Center Listserv.


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

Dharma Talk
by Josho Pat Phelan Rōshi

The Sangha Network

During this time when our lives are being impacted in so many ways by the Coronavirus, the Sangha Net or Sangha Network wants to remind you that we are here!

The Sangha Net was formed 4-5 years ago, and has functioned thus far to offer short term help to members of the Zen Center community, or sangha, experiencing transitions due to illness or disability with simple tasks such as shopping, transportation and meals. Now as the pandemic presents new challenges, we need to be concerned about the risk of infection for both the provider and receiver of assistance. We will continually assess what tasks can be safely done, and Health professionals in the sangha will advise us as needed.

IF YOU NEED HELP, please email us at sangha.network.chzc@gmail.com. Messages will be checked daily and we will contact you to discuss the specifics of your need. Please include your phone number. If you feel more comfortable contacting someone personally, please call any of us listed below:

Alex at (336) 302-3251
Carol at (919) 967-9391
Kris at (831) 359-3894
Senmyo at (831) 325-4220

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO VOLUNTEER with us for this period of time, please also let us know at sangha.network.chzc@gmail.com.

May we be able to support each other,
Alex, Carol, Kris and Senmyo

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 Rōshis 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.

Children's Program

The Children's Program is not meeting until further notice.

The Chapel Hill Zen Center's Children's Program is open to children four years and older. It offers them the space and time to practice living mindfully and to learn about Buddhist teachings and contexts through a variety of activities, including meditation, story, craft, song, and movement. Children also participate in Zen Center events and celebrations throughout the year. Parents may stay with their children or join the other adults in meditation in the Zendo. The Children's Program meets in the Zen Center's Community Room on the first Sunday of each month (though dates may change around holidays or special events) from 8:50 until 11 AM. Activities begin at 9 AM, but children may arrive anytime from 8:50 to about 9:30 AM. We end at about 11 AM. Child care or informal meetings are often available on the other Sundays. For more information, please contact Maura High, the program coordinator, at maurahigh@gmail.com. If you'd like to co-lead the program with Maura and lead the program occasionally, please contact Maura or Josho Rōshi at joshochzc@gmail.com.

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.

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.

Aging Gracefully, Befriending Death

Meetings postponed until further notice.

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 carollyklein53@gmail.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.

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.

Eco-Dharma Discussion Group

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

Meetings postponed until further notice.

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 Chris Censullo at ccensullo@yahoo.com.

Summer Sesshin

Friday night, June 12 through
Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Daitsu Tom Wright will lead a 5-day Teaching Sesshin which 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 may be possible to sit part of the sesshin, but priority will be given to those sitting the full sesshin. The sesshin day will include zazen, beginning at 6 AM, kinhin, two talks a day, a work period, and formal meals served in the zendo. Dokusan, an individual meeting with Daitsu Rōshi, will be available. The day will end around 9 PM. Fees are $60 per day for Participating Members, and $70 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. Partial scholarships are available. If you would like to request a scholarship, please contact Ken 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 June 1, with a $40 deposit.

Click here to download the
2020 Summer Sesshin Registration Form

You are welcome to sleep in the zendo, and there will 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. It is also helpful to have an older wash cloth to clean your feet with throughout the day. Opportunities for bathing are limited. For more information, please contact Zenki at info@chzc.org. The Zen Center emergency phone is (919) 933-0776.

Daitsu Rōshi will be talking about why we practice and what motivates us to practice, by looking at the teachings of our Founder, Eihei Dogen Zenji. He will also look at connections between what our Hwa-yen ancestors discovered centuries ago and what scientists are discovering today about what we call the "universe" we're living in, or, actually creating, as well as looking at the bodhisattva as the next step in the evolution of humankind.

Daitsu Rōshi met Uchiyama Rōshi in 1968, and was ordained by him in 1974. Daitsu continued practicing with Uchiymam Rōshi for 24 years, until Uchiyama Rōshi passed away in 1998. Daitsu translated Uchiyama Rōshi's teachings in Approach to Zen, which was later reedited as Opening the Hand of Thought; Uchiyama Rōshi's commentary on Dogen's Tenzo Kyōkun, Refining Your Life, now called How to Cook Your Life; and Deepest Practice, Deepest Wisdom, a translation of Dogen's texts, Living Time and Refraining from Evil, with Uchiyama Rōshi's commentaries. Daitsu Rōshi considers practicing zazen and translating Dōgen Zenji, along with Uchiyama Rōshi's commentaries to be his lifework. He said that zazen is the practice of giving up trying to get ahead, or trying to make money or gain power. It is the purest practice of becoming our true self, prior to all the nonsense that goes on in our heads or in our society.

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.
  • 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.

Click here to download the
2020 Summer Sesshin Registration Form

A Moment of Eco-Dharma

"What happens to the old shirt?" the King of Kosala asked Ananda. "It becomes a coverlet." "The old coverlet?" "Becomes a mat." "The old mat?" "A towel." "And what about the old towel?" "Sire, it is not permitted to waste the gifts of the faithful; so we chop up the old towel, and mix the bits with clay, which we use for mortar in building our houses. We destroy no gifts, but all are used somehow." (Jataka Tales, no. 157)

Vowing to see all things as gifts, we can reduce consumption, reuse various items, and recycle many items locally. The following hazardous household wastes can be disposed of safely and locally: aerosol cans, antifreeze, batteries (alkaline, car, lithium-ion, etc.), cooking oil, electronics, fluorescent light bulbs, garden chemicals and fertilizers, gasoline and petroleum-based products such as motor oil, household cleaners and chemicals, paints.

Durham County
Household Hazardous Waste Center

2115 East Club Blvd., Durham, NC

Orange County
Solid Waste Convenience Centers

1514 Eubanks Road, Chapel Hill, and
3605 Walnut Grove Church Road, Hillsborough, NC

Wake County
Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility

6150 Old Smithfield Road, Apex, NC

For things not in this list and for other answers about solid waste, check the county websites:
Durham County
Orange County
Wake County

This message is brought to you by CHZC's Eco-Dharma group. Stay tuned for more useful information you can use to take care of this dewdrop world. (Issa).

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.

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.

CROP Hunger Walk: No Longer a Walk,
Just an Important Opportunity to Give.

Walk canceled, but your online donations are needed.

The campaign to raise funds to feed hungry people is still alive even though the walk itself has been (no surprise) cancelled due to coronavirus.

Many at the Zen Center already know that this is a nationwide annual campaign, involving faith communities from all traditions. Funds raised are split between efforts to combat poverty in more than thirty countries around the world (75%) and, in southern Orange County, the Interfaith Council of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, supported by the Zen Center for many years.

We are living in hard times, and the lower your income the more difficult they are. Even before this crisis, one estimate was that 20,000 people in prosperous Orange County cannot afford a nutritious diet for some period each year!

Please go to www.crophungerwalk.org and make a contribution as soon as you can.

Study Group

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

Monday Evenings
Study Group on Pema Chodron's new book, Welcoming the Unwelcome, which will meet on Monday evenings, beginning March 30, from 5 to 6:15 PM.

Tuesday Evenings
Study Group on the Lankavatara Sutra, transl. by Red Pine, with numerous footnotes, will begin meeting on Tuesday evenings, March 31, from 6:45 to 8 PM. (I recommend reading the author's Introduction before we meet. If you do not have access to this translation, you may use D.T. Suzuki's translation. For Red Pine's translation, click here to see ABE Books where they currently have 7 copies in the US — they also have some that ship from the UK. Amazon has a Kindle version as well as used copies.)

Thursday Evenings
Study Group on Suzuki Rōshi's talks on the Precepts which will meet begin Thursday, March 26, from 6:45 to 8 PM. If you need a PDF copy, please write to info@chzc.org.

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).

Alex Fine very generously set this up. If this will be your first time for a Study Group session by Zoom, please let us know at info@chzc.org so that we will have an idea of how many people to expect. Please also contact us if you have trouble accessing the attached reading material.

With palms together,

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.

Informal Sitting

Postponed until further notice.

In preparation for the precepts ceremony, there will be an informal sitting on Saturday, April 18, from 9 PM to 4 PM. Everyone is welcome to attend any part of the sitting. Please enter and leave the zendo quietly, as you wish. Tea will be available, but lunch will not be served.

Buddha's Birthday Celebration

Sunday, May 3
Buddha's Birthday celebration will be held on Sunday morning, May 3, following regular zazen, beginning at 9 AM. At 10:30 AM, Zenki will give a short talk in the zendo directed to the children. The kids will then have a procession to an outdoor altar where they will offer incense and bathe the Baby Buddha. Following the ceremony, there will be a vegetarian potluck picnic. Beverages and birthday cake will be provided.

Children, families, and friends are welcome! At 9 AM, the kids will decorate the pagoda or "flower house" outside during zazen. Please bring balloons, bubbles, and banners for the procession and flowers for decorating the pagoda for the Baby Buddha.

Work Morning

Saturday morning, May 2
On Saturday, May 2, there will be a work period from 10 AM to 12 PM to clean the grounds and prepare for the outdoor celebration of Buddha's Birthday. Everyone is encouraged to come to the work period, either for the whole session or for any part of it. Please bring flowers if you can, either on Saturday, or by 9 AM on Sunday.

Dharma Talks

Josho Pat Phelan will give a public Dharma Talk on April 19, at 10:30 AM.

Zenki Kathleen Batson will give a public Dharma Talk on Sunday morning, May 31 at 10:30 AM.

Daitsu Tom Wright will give a public Dharma Talk on on June 14, at 10:30 AM.

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.

Looking Ahead

Practice Intensive
We are planning to have a four-week Practice Intensive during the month of June.

New Library Books

The Members' Library has received these recent addition: Seeking Shakyamuni, South Asia in the Formation of Modern Japanese Buddhism by Richard Jaffe and gifted by Richard.

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

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.

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 March-April 2020 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.

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.

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.

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 carollyklein53@gmail.com, Kris Garvin at krisgarvin@gmail.com or Senmyo Jeff Sherman at jeffsherman3333@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.

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.