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

View the CHZC Google Calendar of Events.
Download the May-June 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.

June Practice Intensive

Dear Sangha Members,

I invite you to join the Chapel Hill Zen Center's June Practice Intensive, May 31 through June 26. It would be very helpful if you could sign up by May 28, by writing Zenki at info@chzc.org. More information can be found below, including links to the Zoom activities of online zazen and study groups which are open to everyone. Please contact us if you have any questions. I look forward to practicing with you.

With palms together,
Josho Pat Phelan

June Practice Intensive Events


Sunday Teas

Participation in the Practice Intensive requires attendance at a minimum of 3 of the 4 Sunday Teas. This helps support a cohesive and consistent group for conversations, which should be kept confidential. Teas will take place via Zoom and begin shortly after 10:30 on Sunday mornings May 31, June 7, 14, and 28. There will be no Tea on June 21, which is Father's Day.

Teas will last about an hour, depending on the number of participants. At our first tea, we will each briefly introduce ourselves, speak briefly about our practice history, and why we are participating in the Practice Intensive. Please keep your introduction to about 3 minutes. The following Sunday's topic will be given at the end of each Tea. If you would like to participate please sign up by Thursday, May 28.


Zoom Zazen

We will begin having Zoom Zazen on Sunday, May 31. 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: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85659804526
Via phone: (646) 558-8656. Meeting ID: 856 598 045 26#

Weekday Morning Schedule

6 AM Zazen (sitting meditation)
6:40 AM Kinhin (walking meditation)
6:50 AM Zazen
7:20 AM Robe Chant — please be sure your microphone is off when chanting.

Sunday Morning Schedule

9 AM Zazen
9:40 AM Kinhin
9:50 AM Zazen
After zazen, we encourage you to turn on your camera so we can bow out together. After leaving Zoom zazen, we encourage you to play the Shelter in Place Chanting Service, and chant along. On Sunday mornings we will prepare for Tea immediately after zazen.

Study Groups

The Monday and Tuesday Study Groups will continue reading texts begun in March. You are welcome to join at any time. To find out what page we are reading in the text prior to joining, contact us at info@chzc.org.

Zoom Link for All Study Groups

Via computer: www.zoom.us Meeting ID 821 378 615#
Via phone: (646) 558-8656. Meeting ID: 821 378 615#

Monday Study Group meets from 5 to 6:15 PM and will continue to study Welcoming the Unwelcome by Pema Chodron.
Tuesday Study Group meets from 6:45 to 8 PM and will continue to study the Lankavatara Sutra, transl. by Red Pine, with numerous footnotes. It is recommended, if possible, to read the author's Introduction before joining this group.
Thursday Study Group meets from 6:45 to 8 PM. It will begin Thursday, June 4, and we will read selections from Edward Espe Brown's book, The Most Important Point. Copies can be purchased at Sounds True and Amazon.

Please sign up for this Study Group by emailing info@chzc.org to receive the list of sections we will read and discuss.

Sangha News

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 back here on the Events page of the CHZC website.

If you havent 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.

June Sesshin
The sesshin led by Daitsu Tom Wright, June 12-17, has been postponed indefinitely, but not cancelled. We are hopeful that it may be held in July, August, September, or next year, whenever conditions for a gathering such as this are healthy. As soon as a date is set, we will make an announcement. If those who have sent deposits or fees, would like a refund at this time, please contact Zenki at chzc.zenki@gmail.com.

If you would like to support the Chapel Hill Zen Center through a monetary donation, please mail checks to PO Box 16302, Chapel Hill, NC 27516, or online via MoonClerk.

With palms together,

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

Greetings from Choro

After setting out from Chapel Hill on February 25th, and driving through N. Carolina, Tennes-see and Arkansas, Bunkai and I arrived in Austin, TX, on February 28. We had about two weeks of unpacking, organizing, and orienting, including the new routine of driving to the zendo for morning zazen on weekdays and the public pro-gram which is on Saturdays. We were here in time for the annual membership meeting, a visit from Rev. Tova Green from San Francisco Zen Center, and the monthly Bodhisattva Ceremony. The Austin Zen Center then closed on March 14, due to the Coronavirus. The first Saturday on which we had Zoom zazen was March 21, followed by an inaugural Zoom Dharma talk by me. Since then every activity of AZC — morning and evening zazen, study, discussion, and writing groups, and weekly dharma talks — has been on Zoom. It's not the transition to a life in Texas that we anticipated, but it's what we have to practice with, and we are trying our best.

Bunkai and I are so grateful to the Chapel Hill Zen Center sangha for the very generous gift which has allowed us to bring our beloved birds to our little backyard. We are now visited daily by cardinals, finches, sparrows, doves, chickadees, grackles, and jays. The neighborhood is dominated by great-tailed grackles and mockingbirds. The hummingbirds have not found us but we have hope.

Please let us know if you find yourself in Austin. Someday, it will be possible to be face-to-face again, without Zoom!

With 108 bows,

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.

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.

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 person to find when Zoom Meetings are scheduled.

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.

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).

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.

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

Josho Pat Phelan Rōshi will give a Dharma Talk which will be available online around June 10.

Zenki Kathleen Batson will give a Dharma Talk which will be available online around June 21.

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 selections from Edward Espe Brown's book, The Most Important Point, will begin Thursday, June 4, from 6:45 to 8 PM. Copies can be purchased at Sounds True and Amazon.

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.

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 May-June 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.

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.