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

View the CHZC Google Calendar of Events.
Download the May-June 2022 CHZC Newsletter in PDF format.
Sign up for email updates via the Chapel Hill Zen Center Email Announcement List.

The Chapel Hill Zen Center is experimenting reopening on a limited basis.
Please see announcements below for more information.

Summer Sesshin

June 10-15
Daitsu Tom Wright, a disciple of Uchiyama Roshi will lead a 5-day teaching sesshin this June. His talks will be directed to zazen practice, as well as the connection between zazen and daily life, as well as the role of the bodhisattva and how each of us who choose to practice buddhadharma is a bodhisattva, if only small bodhisattvas. This is planned as an in person event. More information and a registration form appear below.

September Sesshin

September 9-14
We are planning to have an in person 5-day Teaching Sesshin with two Dharma Talks a day by Shohaku Okumura, being Zoomed in for participants. Okumura Roshi plans to speak on Dogen's text, Kenbutsu, or Seeing Buddha. More information to follow.

Half-day Sitting

Sunday, May 15, 6AM to noon
An in-person sitting is planned for Sunday, May 15, from 6AM to noon, at the Chapel Hill Zen Center. This will be for people who are fully vaccinated, including at least one booster, and who can wear a mask indoors. Orientation will be at 7:30PM on Saturday. The day will include zazen, a Dharma Talk, breakfast in the zendo and clean up at noon. The suggested donation is $5 for members, and $15 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 is appreciated. Please sign up by Wednesday night, May 11 at info@chzc.org, and if this is your first longer sitting, please speak with Josho ahead of time. For more information on the oryoki meal form see: www.kannondo.org.

Carter Smith

February 21, 1926 - March 16, 2022

Our dear friend and sangha member, Carter Smith passed away on March 16. Carter and Madelyn first visited the Chapel Hill Zen Center in January of 1995, after moving back to North Carolina from southern California where they lived and worked for many years. Carter began his Zen practice with Joshu Sasaki Roshi while living in California.

Carter's undergraduate degree was from what is currently known as North Carolina Central University, where he was senior class President, graduating in 1948. He received his Master's Degree from Howard University in Engineering.

Carter served on the Zen Center board and continued to attend board meetings for many years, advising the Zen Center on projects, repairs, and our two additions and he began the brick walkway from the parking lot to the back entry to the Zen Center. Carter also greeted many new people as Doorwatch on Sunday mornings over the years. When the CHZC received a request to provide Buddhist Services at the Federal Prison in Butner, Carter and I made the first visit together and he continued leading zazen for over ten years.

In May of 2019, Carter and Madelyn moved to northern Virginia to live with their daughter and son-in-law.

I found Carter such an inspiration for both my practice and the way he gave back to the community as a prison volunteer and a mentor to school kids. Before he moved, at age 93, he was still sitting zazen on a cushion.

With a deep, deep bow,

A New Roof for the Zendo

The Zen Center has an almost flat roof, with a venerable history of additions and repairs. The old roof covering had finally, after more than two decades of service, come to the end of its life, and we were beginning to see leaks and damage to timber and insulation. The board chose a local company to replace it with a highly rated modern membrane, and to add extra insulation and improve the roof drainage. The result is a more energy-efficient roof and greater protection for the building overall. The work has now been completed, and we are grateful to Pickard Roofing Company for their work, to Joe Herbert for his expert guidance and time, and to the generous donors who have helped fund this project.

— Maura High, Maintenance Chair

Inter-Faith Council for Social Services

The IFC is looking for volunteers including receptionists and Community Market (formerly known as the Food Pantry) staff (a 3-hour shift, flexible schedule), and volunteers to assist staff with linking people to options such as social services ("Community Navigation"). It is also hiring kitchen staff. More details on their website: www.ifcweb.org.

We also have an updated list of current needs since the IFC has seen quite an increase in numbers recently at both lunch and dinner times, 60-70 for lunch and up to 40 for dinner.

The Community Market most needed items are baked beans, dry or canned pinto beans, pork and beans, peanut and other nut butters, canned chicken, ramen, spaghetti, Mac and Cheese, other pastas, hearty soups such as Progresso, canned vegetables (except corn and green beans, which are in good supply), spaghetti sauce, canned tomato sauce & paste, canned diced & whole tomatoes, canned fruit, cooking oils & fats, butter, grits, oats—including instant packets, baking & cake mixes, cereals, juice both bottles & boxes, coffee, tea, canned milk, powdered milk packets, jelly and other condiments. Personal hygiene items are also need including soap, small tissue packs, toothpaste, toilet paper, shampoo, lotion and moisturizing creams, deodorant, razors, size 4 and 5 children's diapers. For questions, please contact Maura High at maurahigh@gmail.com.

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 Roshi 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 at chzc.zenki@gmail.com.

Recovery Meeting

by Zoom Tuesday Evenings at 7PM
The Zen Recovery Program is planning to resume in-person meetings at the Zen Center soon. In the meantime, for the Zoom link or for questions, please email: ZenAndRecovery@gmail.com.

We start with a 20 minute meditation, followed by a reading about the connection between Buddhist principles and recovery, then there is an opportunity to share. We conclude with a five-minute meditation. We are a small group and open to everyone. There is no requirement to disclose your recovery status or have any knowledge of Buddhism. Most people who attend are part of a 12-Step Fellowship, and we often discuss the Steps, but our meeting is not affiliated with any other group. This is a link to the essays that inspired our meeting here in Chapel Hill: www.sfzc.org/files/buddhism_12steps.

Living with Impermanence

by Zoom Once a Month
Living with Impermanence is an informal discussion group that shares how we experience impermanence in our lives including life changes, illness, aging and death. We usually begin with participants sharing what they are currently thinking of or dealing with. Discussions then usually emerge spontaneously to raised concerns. Silence is frequently a response after someone shares and we trust in that silence. On occasion we've set an agenda in advance to study a topic of interest.

Please contact Carol Klein at carollyklein53@gmail.com, Kris Garvin at krisgarvin@gmail.com, or Senmyo Sherman at jeffsherman3333@gmail.com, if you would like more information. Everyone is welcome, regardless of age.

A Moment of Eco-Dharma

You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Realize you are the Earth and your consciousness is also the consciousness of the Earth. Not to cut the tree, not to pollute the water, that is not enough. — Thich Nhat Hanh

The ecological crises of our day have aroused a global movement. But there were many activists who sounded the alarm long ago. One of these was Thich Nhat Hanh. Even though in exile from his home of Vietnam, at the time being devoured in a war of annihilation, Thich Nhat Hanh and Sister Chan Khong, along with Alfred Hassler, organized a conference on the environment in Menton, France in 1970. It resulted in a statement eventually signed by 2,200 scientists from 23 countries. Throughout his life, Thich Nhat Hanh set an example of "engaged Buddhism". With it, he taught that the best way to work for change with any issue is to first understand that you are not separate from it. Thus, it is best to engage with the climate crisis with the understanding that "the Earth is within us".

Please contact Chris at ccensullo@yahoo.com to be added to the CHZC Eco-Dharma mailing list.

Summer Sesshin
with Daitsu Tom Wright

Friday night, June 10 to Wednesday, June 15, 2022

We are honored to welcome back Daitsu Tom Wright to lead a 5-day sesshin, June 10-15. Daitsu Roshi plans to talk on his understanding of zazen practice and the connection between zazen and daily life, as informed by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi, as well as the role of the bodhisattva and how each of us who chooses to practice buddhadharma is a bodhisattva, if only a small bodhisattva.

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. An individual meeting with Daitsu Roshi will be available. The day will end around 9 PM.

The suggested fee is $60 per day, however if you are able to offer more, it would be very helpful since Daitsu Roshi will be traveling from Hawaii. 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 John Paredes at john@jollyoso.com. 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 May 25, with a $40 deposit.

Download the
Sesshin Registration Form

Daitsu Roshi began practicing with Uchiyama Roshi in 1968, and was ordained by him in 1974. Daitsu continued practicing with Uchiyama Roshi for 24 years, until Uchiyama Roshi passed away in 1998. Daitsu helped edit and translate Uchiyama Roshi's teachings and commentaries in Opening the Hand of Thought, How to Cook Your Life, and Deepest Practice, Deepest Wisdom. For Daitsu Roshi practicing zazen and translating Dogen Zenji, along with Uchiyama Roshi's commentaries, are his lifework. He considers zazen to be the practice of giving up trying to get ahead, as well as the purest practice of becoming our true self, prior to all the nonsense that goes on in our heads or in our society.

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 use for cleaning your feet throughout the day. Opportunities for bathing are limited. For more information, please contact Zenki Kathleen Batson at info@chzc.org. The Zen Center emergency phone is (919) 933-0776.

Download the
Sesshin Registration Form

2022 Board of Directors

We are pleased to announce that the Chapel Hill Zen Center Board of Directors for 2022 are: John Paredes, President; Alex Fine, Vice President; Tripp Spivey, Treasurer; Chris Censullo, Secretary; Al-Nisa Berry and Craig Adamski, Members-at-Large, Josho Pat Phelan ex officio.

We offer deep gratitude to Ken Wilson who served as president, vice president and treasurer in recent years, and to Maura High who also served on the board for many years as member-at-large, and president. Maura will generously continue serving as head of the Maintenance Committee.

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.

In-Person Zazen

Tuesday evenings at 7PM;
Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 6AM

We are still in the midst of a partial opening while taking precautions due to COVID. Those who are fully vaccinated, includin at least one booster, and who can wear a mask while indoors are welcome to attend zazen in person. In-person zazen is now being offered on Tuesday nights at 7 and 7:40PM; and on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 6 and 6:50AM. In order to socially distance, seating is available in chairs and on every other zabuton. So far, we have been opening all the windows.

We will continue to post updates about reopening via the CHZC email mailing list, here on the CHZC website, and on the CHZC Facebook page.

Zoom Zazen

The CHZC continues to offer zazen via Zoom on Monday and Friday afternoons from 1 to 1:40 PM; Monday through Friday mornings at 6 and 6:50 AM; and Sunday mornings at 9 and 9:50 AM. You are welcome to join both periods of zazen or either one. All times EST.

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/j/85659804526
Via phone: (646) 558-8656
Meeting ID: 856 5980 4526

Holiday Closings

On Monday, May 30, there will be no in-person zazen.
On Monday, July 4, there will be no in-person zazen.

Dharma Talks

Josho Pat Phelan Roshi, in person on Sunday morning, May 15, at 10:30AM.

Zenki Kathleen Batson, Sunday morning, June 26, at 10:30AM.

There are private YouTube videos of Dharma Talks by Josho Roshi, Jakuko Mo Ferrell and Zenki Kathleen Batson available on the Talks on Zen Practice sections of the CHZC website.

Study Group by Zoom

Thursday Evenings, 6:45 to 8 PM

We will read together Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi's talks on the Sandokai by eighth-century Zen master Sekito Kisen.

Open to everyone, and there is no charge. Please log on 5-10 minutes before the study group begins so we can start on time.

Joining the Zoom Study Group
Via computer: www.zoom.us/j/821378615
Via phone: (646) 558-8656
Meeting ID: 821 378 615

Five Minute Talks

The Facebook page for Soto Zen Buddhism North America has a number of Five Minute Talks by Soto Zen Teachers from all over America. See: www.facebook.com/SotoZenBuddhismNorthAmerica. Look under the "Videos" section to find them.

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

Organizing Against Racism

The local organization Organizing Against Racism is holding virtual workshops with Racial Equity Institute instructors. For more information, see www.oaralliance.org, and for workshop schedules see www.racialequityinstitute.com. Over several years, some of us have taken this two-day workshop and have found it very informative and beneficial.

Scholarships for Racial Equity Workshops
The Chapel Hill Zen Center has a scholarship fund to help those who would like to take this workshop and other workshops on race who can't afford the full fee. For more information or to request a partial scholarship, please contact John Paredes at john@jollyoso.com. Donations to this fund are also welcome!

Black, Indigenous and People of Color Sitting Group

Meetings postponed until further notice.

We were beginning our meetings with zazen, for those new to meditation or experienced, from 6 to 6:40 PM, with an option to stay for group discussion and community For more information, contact Conal or John at pocsittinggroup@gmail.com.

Children's Program

Meetings postponed until further notice.

This program, like the Zen Center's other programs, has suspended in-person meetings at the Zen Center for the time being. But there are many ways we can still come together virtually. The Children's Program has many books and materials that can be shared — please just ask. Also, we are constructing a new mailing list; if you'd like to be added to it, please contact Maura Hight at maurahigh@gmail.com, or leave a message at (919) 265-7045. Maura will contact you know when the Children's Program will resume its in-person program.

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.

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.

Richmond Zen Group

Richmond Zen is affiliated with the Chapel Hill Zen Center, and Josho Roshi visits regularly. For information, contact Stan at (804) 833-1009 or visit www.richmondzen.org.

Richard Jaffe

Richard Jaffe, a Zen Center member and professor of Religious Studies at Duke University, edited a four-volume work on D.T. Suzuki, which includes both published and unpublished writings and talks given by D.T. Suzuki. Richard donated a copy of each volume to the Zen Center Library, along with his other two books, Neither Monk nor Layman: Clerical Marriage in Modern Japanese Buddhism and Seeking Sakyamuni: South Asia in the Formation of Modern Japanese Buddhism. We would like to express our gratitude for both Richard's study, research and writing on Buddhism as well as sharing of his work through the donation of these books.

Zen Center Library

These books have been added to the Members' Library:

  • Xuanzang: China's Legendary Pilgrim and Translator by Benjamin Brose
  • You Are Still Here: Zen Teachings of Kyogen Carlson edited by Sallie Jiko Tisdale
  • Dogen: Japan's Original Zen Teacher by Steven Heine
  • Squabbling Squashes by Carol Lingman and Shohaku Okumura
  • The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki

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

Sangha Net

The Sangha Net is a network of volunteers who can offer short-term assistance to those in the sangha in need of help due to transitions in one's life such as illness, disability, or death of a loved one. Examples of tasks can include shopping, arranging for meals, or transportation. During the pandemic, we will assist in ways that can allow for mutual safety.

If you would like to volunteer or if you need assistance, please contact Kris Garvin at krisgarvin@gmail.com, Senmyo Jeff Sherman at jeffsherman3333@gmail.com, or Carol Klein at carollyklein53@gmail.com.

CHZC Newsletter in PDF Format

Download the May-June 2022 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.

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 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 Roshi 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.

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.

Members of the CHZC also continue to collect items for the IFC Community Market which provides approximately 1,300 bags of groceries to those in need every month. Both produce and non-perishable food and items such as dish washing soap, shampoo, toilet paper are needed, as well as gently used brown paper bags used to send groceries home. Please leave items on the front deck of the ZC in the large plastic containers. They are picked up about once a week.

IFC Food Needs

As many know, the Zen Center is a long-time supporter of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Interfaith Council for Social Service. One of the IFC's major programs is its food pantry, which offers free bags of groceries to anyone in need. There is much need in these cold, Covid-burdened months, and the Pantry's stocks are running low. Please consider making a contribution. Plastic tubs, marked for the purpose, are on the front deck of the ZC. Here's a list of some sorely needed items: Soups, especially chunky ones, like Progresso; Ramen noodles; pasta and pasta sauce; canned chicken; canned fruit; canned vegetables (other than corn and green beans), baking mixes - especially cornbread; jelly; peanut butter; rice; and standard supermarket paper bags with handles.