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.

Zenki Talks about Green Gulch Farm
& the Practice Intensive

Sunday morning, March 1, at 11:15 AM

You are invited to join us for Tea to hear more about Green Gulch Farm, the San Francisco Zen Center's organic farm and semi-monastic community that opens onto Muir Beach, California.

Zenki attended the 3-week Practice Intensive that is held each January, and she will share her experiences of practice and the environment at Green Gulch.

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

Sangha News

Choro Carla Antonaccio at Chapel Hill Zen Center Choro Carla Antonaccio has been invited to be Tanto at the Austin Zen Center to help lead practice and to teach. The Austin ZC has one priest with a full program of zazen, sesshins, and study groups, and could use some help. Choro began practice in 1999 and has been a resident at the CHZC for fifteen years. She served as Ino, taking care of the zendo and training doans, for four years earlier before becoming Ino again in 2019. She has also offered many hours of support and service as Tenzo, head of kitchen practice, for a number of sesshins and other retreats. In addition, she has taught classes, given Dharma Talks, and served as a model of one who is committed to practice. Choro and Bunkai Tracy will move to Austin, TX, in February, and we wish them and the Austin ZC the best.

Children's Program

Sunday, March 1
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 11:00. Activities begin at 9, but children may arrive anytime from 8:50 to about 9:30. We end at about 11. 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. Our next scheduled meeting is Sunday, March 1.

Eco-Dharma Discussion Group

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 Chris Censullo at ccensullo@yahoo.com.

A Moment of Eco-Dharma:
Ideas for Holiday Giving

To leave flowers to the wind, to leave birds to the seasons, are also acts of giving.
-Dogen, from Bodaisatta Shishobo

Vowing to see the impact holiday gift-giving can have on our environment and our peace of mind, we recently pondered the question of how to give more profoundly, while also considering the effects of our giving on the wider sangha of all living beings. According to Thich Nhat Hanh, "The greatest gift we can make to another is our true presence." We also know that according to Zen teachings, ultimately there is no giver, no receiver and no gift. We live in the relative day-to-day world however, and gift giving is an important way that we express our love, gratitude and appreciation to others.

The following are some ideas from the Eco-Dharma Group, as we wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday:

  • Consider packaging when purchasing: Is there an option with less packaging than the others?
  • Buy handmade gifts from local artists or producers. Visit local holiday art markets such as the Elf Market in Carrboro or the Saxapahaw Holiday Market. Please see Triangle on the Cheap for a good list.
  • Make a charitable gift in honor of someone to an organization that supports work the recipient finds meaningful.
  • Does a loved one volunteer? Offer support by asking if you might volunteer with them or help their work in some other way.
  • Express yourself with your gift wrapping: Use children's unwanted artwork or newspaper sections as wrapping paper; purchase decorative boxes or use scarves, kerchiefs or fabric to place gifts in so the presentation is also a usable gift (Please look up fuRōshiki. Here is a YouTube video of how to use fabric to wrap gifts); reuse wrapping and tissue papers; cut pictures from cards you received to decorate gifts; use flowers, leaves, herbs, or sachets instead of bows to decorate.
  • Give experiences: Attend an event together, buy a ticket to a show, movie or concert; provide a service such as childcare or yard work; give a homemade certificate or coupon redeemable to you for something you will do, provide, or give at another time, such as a homemade candlelight dinner.
  • "Re-gift" an item that could have special meaning to another person.

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 4:30 PM, and Brush Painting from 2:30 to 4:30 PM on January 12 and 26, February 9 and 23, March 8 and 22.

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.

Aging Gracefully, Befriending Death

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.

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 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, 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

Josho Pat Phelan plans to visit the Richmond Zen Group on Wednesday evenings, February 19, and March 18, for zazen at 7 PM followed by a Dharma Talk at 7:40 PM. Everyone is welcome.

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

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.

Home Funerals & Green Burials

Sunday, March 8, at 11:30
by Sara Williams & Anne Weston

Home funerals can be done safely and legally, and many families want to continue caring after a death occurs by having a home funeral and/or a green (natural) burial. During this presentation, you will learn how to care for the body, honor the soul's journey, and create a ceremony to begin the mourning, as well as how to advocate for a burial that may be more in line with your economic, environmental, and spiritual values.

Sara Williams, M.A., of Shrouding Sisters, is a home funeral guide and funeral/memorial celebrant, offering end of life education, counseling, and services throughout the Piedmont.

Sara has been helping families care for their own dead since 2014 and is an emeritus Board member of the National Home Funeral Alliance and past Director of her local Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA-Piedmont).

Anne Weston, M.A., is founder of Green Burial Project, a 501(c)3 dedicated to educating the community on the financial, environmental, and spiritual benefits of green/natural burial. She has been spreading the good news about Green Burial since 2016.

Beginning Zen Practice
A Class with David Guy

January 27 to March 2
Monday nights, 7:30 to 9 PM

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.

Dharma Talks

Josho Pat Phelan will give Dharma Talks on February 16, and on March 15, at 10:30 PM

Study Hall

Monday Mornings at 7:45 AM
We will resume 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
The Study Group meets weekly and it will resume meeting on Thursday evenings from 6:45 to 8 PM. We will begin studying the Bodhisattva Precepts, by reading Returning to Silence by Dainin Katagiri Rōshi, pages 67-95. Katagiri Rōshi assisted Suzuki Rōshi in the early days at the San Francisco Zen Center, and later he founded the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center. Copies of the book are for sale in the entryway. Everyone is welcome and there is no charge.

All-day Sittings

Sundays, February 16, and March 15
All-day sittings are scheduled for Sundays, February 16, and March 15, 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 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 Sensei if this is your first all-day sitting. For more information on the oryoki meal form see: www.kannondo.org/getting-started/oryoki.

The a suggested donation is $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. The regular Sunday schedule, with zazen at 9 and 9:50 AM, and Dharma Talk at 10:30 AM, will be open to everyone.

8 AM Wednesday Zazen - Discontinued

The period of zazen on Wednesday mornings at 8 AM, which started in April, will be discontinued. Many thanks to Lance and Andrea Ashdown for their support in trying out this time for zazen.

Looking Ahead

Precepts Weekend
The Lay Precepts Ceremony, Zaike Tokudo, will be held on Sunday, 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.

Informal Sitting
In preparation for the precepts ceremony, there will be an informal sitting on Saturday, April 18, from 9 AM 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.

June Sesshin
We are honored to welcome back Daitsu Tom Wright to lead a 5-day sesshin, June 12 to 17. Daitsu Rōshi plans to talk on the understanding of zazen practice he developed by practicing with Uchiyama Rōshi for almost 40 years. More information will follow.

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.

Mindful of Race by Ruth King
The World is Made of Stories by David R. Loy
My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte
See, Hear Feel, Mindfulness for Children One Moment at a Time by Emmanuelle Giumelli
Training with Our Mistakes: CD of a Dharma Talk from Shasta Abbey by Rev. Amanda Robertson
The Three Turnings of the Dharma Wheel, CD from talks given at the North Carolina Zen Center by Jay L. Garfield
Natural Pain Relief by Shinzen Young
Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing by Frederick Franck
Asian Religions in America: A Documentary History and The American Encounter with Buddhism 1844-1912 by Thomas Tweed

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.

Board of Directors for 2020

The new 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. Many thanks and deep bows to Andrea Ashdown who served as Member-at-Large for the past two years and continues to lead the Maintenance Committee for the Zen Center and its property up the road at 5206, and to Mike McKillip who served as treasurer of the board for the past three years in addition to a three-year term several years before this.

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.