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

View the CHZC Google Calendar of Events.
Download the January-February 2023 CHZC Newsletter in PDF format.
Sign up for email updates via the Chapel Hill Zen Center Email Announcement List.

Chapel Hill Zen Center is open for in-person zazen on
Sunday mornings at 9 and 9:50 AM, on
Tuesday evenings at 7 and 7:50 PM and on
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at 6 and 6:50 AM.
Please see announcement details below for more information.

Zoom zazen is offered Monday through Friday mornings at 6 and 6:50 AM, and on
Monday and Friday afternoons at 1PM.

Dharma Transmission

It is with much joy that I write to announce that Jakuko Mo Ferrell, Zenki Kathleen Batson, and Kuden Paul Boyle have completed Dharma Transmission over the Winter Holidays at the Chapel Hill Zen Center.

With a deep bow,
Josho Pat Phelan

Celebrating 100 Years of
Soto Zen in the US

During five days in November, I was invited, along with about 40 other American priests, to help staff and support a five-day precept retreat for Lay people at Zenshuji Temple in Los Angeles — the first Soto Zen temple in the US. For this ceremony, Westerners were being trained by Japanese priests to take many of the major roles, as part of the transmission of Zen in the West.

I served on the Ryoban which represents the Sangha during many chanting ceremonies on the ordination platform. For the first several days, the ceremonies invite the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to support our intention to be awake and compassionate, to formally open the ordination platform, and to honor deceased founders and Sangha members lay and ordained. The last two days were devoted to renunciation and avowal, receiving the precepts, and formally closing the platform.

It was a moving experience to be with Zen Buddhists from all over the United States, priests and lay people, working together in our shared intention to wake up for the benefit of all beings.

With a deep bow of appreciation,

Sangha News

Josho Pat Phelan will have knee replacement surgery at the end of January. For about 6-8 weeks after this, Zenki Kathleen Batson will be overseeing all the programming at the Center while Josho is recuperating. Zenki can be reached at

2023 Board of Directors

We are pleased to announce that the Chapel Hill Zen Center Board of Directors for 2023 are: John Paredes, President; Alex Fine, Vice President; Kenneth Wilson, Treasurer; Daniell Bouchard, Secretary; Al-Nisa Berry and Lance Ashdown, Members-at-Large; Josho Pat Phelan, ex officio. We offer deep gratitude to Tripp Spivey who served as Treasurer for the past three years, Chris Censullo who served as Secratary, also for the past three years, and to Craig Adamski who served as Member-at-Large this past year.

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.

Dokusan & Practice Discussion

If you would like to make an appointment, please write to

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 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, and
Zenki at

Small Groups

The small groups at the Zen Center came out of Zoom discussions that we had at Practice Intensive teas during the pandemic. People were hungry for that kind of interaction, and wanted to continue it after the Practice Period was over. So we formed small groups of six members maximum where people could get together and informally discuss their practice. Since practice includes all of life, we found ourselves discussing everything. These really act as support groups for people who are trying to live their lives according to Buddhist principles.

We meet once a month, both in person and by Zoom. All members have an equal opportunity to share. We don't try to fix or correct each other, just to sit and listen. It's a wonderful feeling to be heard, and to talk about practice in an informal setting. If you're interested in joining a small group, or would like more information, contact David Guy at

Recovery Meeting

by Zoom Tuesday Evenings at 7 PM
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:

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:

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, Kris Garvin at, or Senmyo Sherman at, if you would like more information. Everyone is welcome, regardless of age.

Eco-Dharma Group

The Chapel Hill Zen Center Eco-Dharma Group informally explores together Buddhist teachings on the natural world, and caring for the natural world as an expression of the Bodhisattva Vow. Please contact Chris at or Zenki at to be added to the CHZC Eco-Dharma mailing list.

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

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.

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:

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

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

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 If you are interested in serving as a flower arranger about once a month, please contact Jane at

Dharma Talks

Sunday, February 19, 10:30 AM
Zenki Kathleen Batson, in person at the Zen Center

Thursday, March 9, 7 PM
Chimyo Atkinson Sensei by Zoom

Outdoor Half-day Sitting

Saturday, February 11

On the brisk and invigorating morning of December 17, six adventurous forest bathers sat zazen outdoors under the trees during our last Outdoor Sitting of the year. Our next Outdoor Half-day Sitting will be Saturday, February 11, 6 AM to 12:15 PM. You are welcome to participate for all or any part of this event. Email for more information or to sign up.

Bodhisattva Ceremony

Sunday morning, January 29
Tuesday evening, February 28

The Bodhisattva Ceremony is a monthly renewal of vows and precepts. We are returning to having the Bodhisattva Ceremony in person at the zendo on Sunday morning, January 29, at 10:20 AM, and on Tuesday night, February 28, at 7:40 PM instead of the second period of zazen.

All-day Sittings

Sundays, February 19 and March 19

In-person sittings are planned for Sundays, February 19 and March 19 from 6 AM to 5 PM at the Chapel Hill Zen Center. This will be for people who are fully vaccinated, including a booster, and who can wear a mask indoors. Orientation will be at 7:30 PM on Saturday night, and we ask that everyone attend. The day will include zazen, a Dharma Talk, dokusan and a work period, as well as breakfast and lunch. The 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 is appreciated.

Please sign up by the Wednesday before the sitting begins, at 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:

The Sunday morning program of zazen at 9 and 9:50 AM, and the Dharma Talk at 10:30 AM, are open to the public, for those who are fully vaccinated and wearing an N95 or KN95 mask.

Study Group

Thursday nights, 6:45 to 8 PM.

We are reading Jakusho Kwong's new book, Mind Sky, Zen Teaching on Living and Dying. Kwong Roshi was a disciple of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, and he is founder of Sonoma Mountain Zen Center.

A new Study Group will begin February 2, on the Heart Sutra. We will read Shohaku Okumura's commentary in the book, Living by Vow, found on pages 131-205.

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:
Via phone: (646) 558-8656
Meeting ID: 821 378 615

In-Person Zazen

Sunday mornings at 9 and 9:50 AM
Tuesday evenings at 7 and 7:50 PM
Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 6 and 6:50 AM

You are welcome to join both periods of zazen or either one. Those who are vaccinated, including at least one booster, and who can wear an N95 or KN95 mask while indoors are welcome to attend zazen in person.

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

Zoom Zazen

Monday and Friday afternoons, 1 to 1:40 PM
Monday through Friday mornings at 6 and 6:50 AM

The CHZC continues to offer zazen via Zoom. 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:
Via phone: (646) 558-8656
Meeting ID: 856 5980 4526

Dress Guidelines for Zoom Zazen

To support our practice together during zazen and Dharma Talks, please wear respectful clothing. Pants and skirts that come below the knee are appropriate. If you are wearing Buddha's robe, the rakusu, please wear long pants or skirts, rather than shorts. Please do not wear pajamas, bath robes, hoods, or bring refreshments, especially to Dharma Talks — please treat Zoom practice events with respect as you would in the Zendo.

Your presence and bearing in this way can support all of us in feeling connected and not slipping into a casual attitude toward our practice or the teaching efforts of others.

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: Look under the "Videos" section to find them.

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, and for workshop schedules see 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 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

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, 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 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

Zen Center Library

These books have been added to the Members' Library:

  • Seeing with the Eye of Dhamma by Buddhadasa Bikkhu
  • The Essential Tao, Chuang Tzu tr. Thomas Cleary
  • A Buddha from Korea: The Zen Teachings of T'aego tr. J. C. Cleary
  • Inside Vasubandhu's Yogacara by Ben Connelly
  • Readings of Dogen's Treasury of the True Dharma Eye by Steven Heine
  • The Selected Poems of Tu Fu tr. David Hinton
  • Whole Hearted by Koshin Paley Ellison
  • A Bird in Flight Leaves No Trace by Huang Po
  • Seeking Sakyamuni by Richard Jaffe
  • Twenty Jataka Tales by Noor Inayat Khan
  • Death by Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross
  • Mind Sky by Jakusho Kwong
  • Fragrant Palm Leaves by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • At Personal Risk by Marilyn R, Peterson
  • Selected Poems of Su Tung-p'o tr. Burton Watson
  • Heaven My Blanket, Earth My Pillow by Wan-Li Yang
  • Sutra and Bible: Faith and the Japanese American World War II Incarceration ed. Duncan Williams and Emily Anderson

The library catalogue is online at

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, Senmyo Jeff Sherman at, or Carol Klein at

CHZC Newsletter in PDF Format

Download the January-February 2023 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 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 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. has 238 merchants registered with them, including LandsEnd, L.L. Bean, and After logging on to, 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 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

CHZC Facebook Page

The Chapel Hill Zen Center is on Facebook! Please follow or like our official Facebook page at 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 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: