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

View the CHZC Google Calendar of Events.
Download the March-April 2021 CHZC Newsletter in PDF format.
Sign up for email updates via the Chapel Hill Zen Center Mailing List.


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

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 new CHZC Email Mailing List where opportunities, including Zoom Study Groups and Dharma Talks are announced.

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.

Joining Zoom zazen
Via computer: www.zoom.us
Via phone: (646) 558-8656
Meeting ID: 856 5980 4526

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

With no-mind, the flower invites a butterfly
With no-mind, the butterfly visits the flower
When the flower opens, the butterfly comes
When the butterfly comes, the flower opens.

Over the last several months, some of the CHZC Eco-Dharma Group participants have been participating in Ecosattva Training offered by One Earth Sangha. In these conversations, we examine how the climate crisis affects our hearts and minds and how to see ourselves in relationship to the natural world through the prism of Dharma. We have engaged in exercises such as eco-biography, or "writing the self in nature", to express the ways our relationship with special places and experiences in the natural world have shaped us. Please visit the Ecobiography website for more information.

How do we deepen our consciousness and build resilience in the face of an ecological crisis? What actions can we take to oppose ecological disaster that are consistent with the bodhisattva vows? The general Eco-Dharma Discussion Group takes on these and other everyday topics, such as:

  • Composting
  • Recycling
  • Waste management
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Eco-friendly and sustainable products

Looking ahead, the Eco-Dharma Discussion Group will be holding the next gathering in March 2021 for all those interested in delving into these environmental concerns. All are welcome to join!

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.

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

Questioning Our
Assumptions about the World

Vasubandhu's Twenty Verses
on Mere Cognizance
A Workshop with Kokyo Henkel

Saturday, March 27, 10:30-3:30 EST
Although Vasubanhu's 30 Verses is more well-known, his 20 Verses offers another interesting angle on Yogacara. In this short workshop, Kokyo will focus on just a few verses and go into them deeply. This Zoom event will begin with a period of zazen followed by an hour and a half Talk with Q&A. There will be an hour lunch break, which will end at 1:30, followed by a second session of zazen and a Talk with a Q&A.

The Workshop is being offered by donation and the suggested donation is $20-$50. Donations can be made electronically through MoonClerk. Please indicate "Workshop Donation."

To register, please contact info@chzc.org by Wednesday, March 24. After registering, the Zoom link and reading materials will be sent to you.

Kokyo Henkel was ordained as a Zen priest in 1994 at the San Francisco Zen Center by Tenshin Reb Anderson Roshi, and received Dharma Transmission from Tenshin Roshi in 2010, becoming a lineage-holder authorized to guide others on the path. Kokyo was head teacher at the Santa Cruz Zen Center from 2010-2017. He has also been practicing with the Tibetan Dzogchen, the "Great Perfection," Teacher Tsoknyi Rinpoche since 2003, in California, Colorado, and Kathmandu. To learn more about Kokyo's practice and teaching see his website.

Winter Practice Intensive by Zoom

Sunday, January 31 through
Sunday, February 28, 2021

... even if just one person sits zazen for a short time, this zazen is imperceptibly one with each and all myriad things, and completely permeates all time, so that within the limitless universe, throughout past, present and future, it performs the eternal and ceaseless work of guiding beings to enlightenment. Zazen is equally the same practice and same realization, for both the person sitting and for all dharmas. ...Not only that, but each and every thing, in its original aspect, is endowed with original practice which cannot be measured or comprehended.
From Bendowa, by Eihei Dogen

I warmly invite you to join this four-week Zoom Practice Intensive, a time of more practice opportunities and sangha exchange. The on-going Zoom zazen schedule will continue, Monday-Friday mornings 6 to 7:20 AM, Monday and Friday at 1 PM, Sunday mornings at 9 AM. During the Practice Intensive there will be a period of zazen on Tuesday nights from 7 to 7:30 PM. On Wednesdays there will be zazen at 7 PM, using the Zoom link posted on the Richmond Zen website. This will be a joint Practice Intensive for the Richmond Zen and Chapel HIll Zen Center sanghas, and everyone is welcome.

Participants are asked to commit to the three Sunday morning "Teas" held on January 31, February 14 and 28, at 10:30 AM after zazen. There will be Dharma Talks on the other Sunday mornings at 10:30 AM, following zazen. Way-seeking Mind talks will be on Tuesday nights, February 2, 9, 16, and 23, at 7:40 PM, following a period of zazen at 7:00 PM. There will be a Half-day Sitting on Sunday morning, February 7, from 6 AM to 12:15 PM.

On the four Thursday evenings in February, we will begin reading Norman Fischer's Training in Compassion, as part of Study Group during the Practice Intensive. Please read the Introduction before class begins. We plan to read the first three chapters during these four weeks.

Please fill out the registration form, saying what periods of zazen and Talks you will be able to attend. These can be sent by email to info@chzc.org, or mailed to P.O. Box 16302, Chapel Hill, NC 27516.

With a bow,

Download the
Winter Practice Intensive Registration Form

Sojun Rōshi, Mel Weitsman
has Passed Over

With great sadness the sangha of Berkeley Zen Center announced that Hakuryu Sojun — White Dragon / Essence of Purity — Mel Weitsman peacefully passed from this world to the Pure Land of Buddhas and Ancestors at home, at 5:30 PM on Thursday, January 7. He was ninety-one years old.

Sojun Roshi is survived by his wife Liz Horowitz Weitsman, their son Daniel, and uncountable disciples and students across the United States and around the world. Cards and letters can be sent to Liz, Daniel, and the BZC sangha c/o Berkeley Zen Center, 1931 Russell Street, Berkeley, CA 94703.

Memorial Service
We will continue having a short Memorial Service to support Hakuryu Sojun Mel Weitsman's transition right after Zoom zazen on Thursday mornings through February 25.

The service will including three floor bows before and after chanting, and we will chant the Heart Sutra and the Dai Hi Shin Dharani. The chants are on pages 1 and 22 of CHZC Chant Book. It might be helpful to print out the chants before the service.

With a bow,

Zoom Dharma Talks

Josho Pat Phelan Rōshi will give a Dharma Talk after Zoom zazen Sunday morning, March 21.

Zenki Kathleen Batson will give a Dharma Talk after Zoom zazen Sunday morning, April 18.

There are also private YouTube videos of Dharma Talks by Josho, Jakuko and Zenki available on the Talks on Zen Practice sections of the CHZC website.

Half-day Sittings

Sunday mornings, March 21, and April 18
There will be Zoom Half-day Sittings from 6 AM until 12:15 PM. The schedule will be similar to that used for the morning of in-person All-day Sittings. For information and to sign up write info@chzc.org.

Bodhisattva Ceremony

Sunday mornings, March 28, and April 25
The Bodhisattva Ceremony, a renewal of vows and precepts, is a pre-Buddhist ceremony with its roots in ancient India. The Bodhisattva Ceremony will be held on Sundays, March 28, and April 25, after zazen at 10:30 am.

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.

Practicing at Home: Ryaku Fusatsu —
The Bodhisattva Ceremony

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
The Tuesday evening Study Group will not meet in February during the Winter Practice Intensive, and will resume March 9.

Thursday Evenings
On the four Thursday evenings in February, we will begin reading Norman Fischer's Training in Compassion, as part of the Practice Intensive. Please read the Introduction before class begins. We plan to read the first three chapters during these four weeks.

Beginning Thursday, March 18, we will be reading, Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out by Insight Meditation teacher, Ruth King. If you would like to join this study group, please contact Zenki at chzc.zenki@gmail.com.

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:

  • A Blueprint of Enlightenment: A Contemporary Commentary on Dogen Zenji's Gakudo Yojinshu by Gien Inoue
  • A First Zen Reader by Trevor Leggett
  • Visions of Awakening Space and Time by Dan Taigen Leighton
  • The Art of Purring, The Four Paws of Spiritual Success, and The Power of Meow novels by David Michie
  • Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa by Diana Mukpo
  • A Pali-English Glossary of Buddhist Technical Terms by Bhikku Nanamoli
  • Tantric Buddhism in East Asia by by Richard Payne
  • A Survey of Buddhism: Its Doctrines and Methods Through the Ages by Sangharakshita

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

CHZC Newsletter in PDF Format

Download the March-April 2021 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.