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

View the CHZC Google Calendar of Events.
Download the November-December 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.

Half-day Sitting

Saturday, December 5

On Saturday morning, December 5, there will be a Zoom Half-day Sitting from 6 AM until 12:15 PM. The schedule will be similar to that used for the morning of in-person All-day Sittings. Please sign up in advance at info@chzc.org for the link or if you have questions.

Holiday Schedule

There will be no Zoom zazen on Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 26, or on Friday, November 27. The regular Sunday morning program on November 29, will be held as usual.

There will be no Zoom zazen offered from Wednes-day, December 23, through Friday, January 1, except on Sunday morning, December 27, when the usual zazen will be held at 9 AM. The ongoing schedule will resume on Sunday, January 3. Also, the Study Groups will not meet during this time.

Buddha's Enlightenment Service

Sunday, December 6

On Sunday morning, December 6, we will have a special service to commemorate Buddha's Enlightenment, following Zoom zazen at 10:20 AM.

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 CHZC Announcement listerv where opportunities, including Zoom Study Groups and Dharma Talks on YouTube are posted.

To sign up, please type "Subscribe" in the subject line of a message from your email account and send to CHZCannounce-subscribe@ yahoogroups.com.

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.
Via computer: www.zoom.us
Via phone: (646) 558-8656
Meeting ID: 856 598 045 26#

Sangha News

Steve Pickett, who has been the gardener for the front entry garden since 2017, is stepping down. We are very grateful to him for his care of the garden which brings so much beauty to those coming to zazen.

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 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.

Children's Program

Meetings postponed until further notice.

At the end of the year, the Zen Center's Children's Program invites kids to create their own version of the year-end Fire Ceremony. If you would like to do something similar in your own family this New Year's Eve, since we can't yet meet in person, here's what we have done in past years. We consider the things we want to leave behind, to say goodbye to things that made us sad or uncomfortable or angry, for example. We write or draw them on pieces of paper, and then tear the paper into many little pieces and lay them in a basket (the papers could be buried, or burned later). We chant a short version of the Lovingkindness Metta Sutta, sounding out the beats with one or two or more mokugyos or wooden blocks or clappers. We talk about new intentions and wishes while we eat our snack. If you would like a copy of the sutta, or a year-end story or craft activity, please email Maura at maurahigh@gmail.com. Wishing you and your families a very happy 2021.

Thank you,

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 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.

Living with Impermanence

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

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

Please write the contact peoples to find when Zoom Meetings are scheduled.

The Eco-Dharma Discussion Group explores Buddhist teachings of the natural world, caring for the Earth as an expression of the Bodhisattva Vow, and our responses to current environmen-tal issues. The next Eco-Dharma Discussion Group general meeting will be scheduled once it is deemed safe to return to the Zen Center in some capacity. May the Sangha take this opportunity to develop new thought patterns and behaviors to live more sustainably and harmoniously with all life on the planet. For more information, please contact Zenki: chzc.zenki@gmail.com or Chris: ccensullo@yahoo.com.

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).

More Sewing Needed to Make Masks

Several of us have been sewing face masks since the quarantine began and have donated about 500 to local organizations. Recently we joined forces with a local network called Mighty Mask Brigade who distribute about 500 masks a week to local organizations including NC Farm Workers, Meals On Wheels, and East Durham Out-reach. If you would like to join us with the sewing or have cotton fabric or sheets to donate please contact Kris at krisgarvin@gmail.com or Senmyo at jeffsherman3333 @gmail.com.

If you need masks for yourself or friends, we are happy to supply you.

Voting Information

It is time to make plans for the 2020 elections. Make sure you are registered to vote at your current address. You can now request a mail in/absentee ballot, plan to do early voting October 15-30, or vote at your assigned polling place on November 3. The nonpartisan organization, You Can Vote, has an excellent website: www.YouCanVote.org, with resources about how to register, voting options, and sample ballots. They are recommending early voting as the best method to ensure that your vote is counted. Please contact Carol at (919) 259-5995 to research any questions you may have.

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 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.

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.

Sojun Roshi, Mel Weitsman

On October 24, my teacher, Sojun Roshi, stepped down as Abbot of the Berkeley Zen Center and stepped into the position of Founder of Shogaku-ji, the Berkeley Zen Center. This past year, his health has deteriorated due to biliary cancer.

With sadness, gratitude, and many bows,

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.

Being Alive for This Life

Dharma Talk by Josho Pat Phelan Rōshi

Cherry Pie

Dharma Talk by Jakuko Mo Ferrell

Soto Zen Buddhism in North America

An introduction to the history of Soto Zen Buddhism in North America. This short was filmed by Tsuneo Azuma and edited by Yoko Okumura.

Some Thoughts on Silence

Dharma Talk by Zenki Kathleen Batson

Developing Awareness

Dharma Talk by Josho Pat Phelan Rōshi

The Buddhist View on
Perception and Misperception

Dharma Talk by Josho Pat Phelan Rōshi

The Subtle and Profound
Meaning of Self-nature

Dharma Talk by Josho Pat Phelan Rōshi

Fearlessness, the Paramitas
and Batman

Dharma Talk by Zenki Kathleen Batson

Practicing with Fear

Dharma Talk by Josho Pat Phelan Rōshi

Dharma Talks

Jakuko Mo Ferrell will give a Dharma Talk which will be available online Sunday morning, August 9.

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.

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
Study Group on the Lankavatara Sutra, two translations by Red Pine and D. T. Suzuki, meeting Tuesday evenings from 6:45 to 8 PM. Please contact info@chzc.org for handouts.

Thursday Evenings
We are currently reading White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo from a Buddhist perspective. We will meet on the following Thursday evenings, 6:45 to 8 PM:

  • Thursday, December 3
    Prepare by reading in advance through Chapter 5 (page 87).
  • Thursday, January 7
    Prepare by reading in advance Chapters 6-9 (pages 89-122).
  • Thursday, January 28
    Prepare by reading in advance Chapters 10-12 (pages 123-154).

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).

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.

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:

  • The Unborn: the Life and Teaching of Bankei 1622-1693, by Norman Wadell (translator)
  • Opening the Lotus: A Woman's Guide to Buddhism, by Sandy Boucher
  • If You're Lucky, Your Heart Will Break: Field Notes from a Zen Life, by James Ishmael Ford
  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness, by Jon Kabat-Zin
  • Sky Flowers on the Day Before: My Life Guided by Zen Buddhism, Kazumitsu Wako Kato
  • Total Freedom: The Essential Krishnamurti, by Jiddu Krishnamurti
  • No Self No Problem: How Neuropsychology is Catching up to Buddhism, by Chris Niebauer
  • The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-Chi, by Burton Watson (translator)
  • The Light of Discovery, by Toni Packer
  • The Light Inside the Dark, by John Tarrant
  • Toward a Psychology of Awakening, by John Welwood
  • Essential Kanji (reference book), by P.G. O'Neill
  • Shattering the Great Doubt: the Chan Practice of Huatou, by Shen Yen
  • BuddhaDharma (quarterly journal)

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 November-December 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.

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.