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

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

Masks Are Now Optional at Chapel Hill Zen Center

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.

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

New Virtual Peer Group

Ananda knew that having good and encouraging friends was very important for the path.
He even wondered whether having good friends is half the path.

"No, Ananda," the Buddha told him, "having good friends isn't half of the Holy Life. Having good friends is the whole of the Holy Life." (Meghiya Sutta)

The Chapel Hill Zen Center plans to start Virtual Peer Group sessions coordinated by Al-Nisa Berry and Maura High in Spring 2023. These online meetings will give sangha members an opportunity to share their individual experiences, receive encouragement, and offer compassion in a safe, supportive environment. Our goal is to build a thriving virtual community based on Soto Zen principles and help one another deepen our practice in daily life.

The CHZC Peer Group was created as a spinoff of the Small Groups meetings which follow the Practice Period Tea format. This new group will differ from Zen Center's existing Small Group Meetings by allowing all members an equal opportunity to share their experiences while also engaging in respectful, inclusive, and candid conversations.

If you're interested in joining
the CHZC Virtual Peer Group meetings,
please complete this form
to indicate your availability.

For more information, please contact Al-Nisa Berry at or Maura High at

Beginning Zen Practice

A Class with David Guy

March 13 to April 17
Six 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.

We will begin on the first night 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.

The class will meet at the Chapel Hill Zen Center on Monday nights for six weeks, from 7:30 to 9:00, from March 13 to April 17. The cost is $60, payable the first night, and will be contributed to the Zen Center. Partial scholarships are available. Masks are now optional at Zen Center. For more information, or to sign up, please contact David Guy at 919-641-9277 or

Please share this announcement with others who might be interested.

David Guy has been practicing meditation since 1991, and regularly gives Zen meditation instruction at the Chapel Hill Zen Center. 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, and is author of two novels with Buddhist themes. David's Blog is at

Sangha News

We are happy to announce that Craig Adamski has begun serving as Ino, training and scheduling doans, planning services, and much more than we can say here. Many thanks to Zenki Kathleen Batson who has served as Ino for so many years.

Josho Pat Phelan Roshi had 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

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

Looking Ahead

Kessei Ango
I am pleased to announce that the Richmond Zen sangha is planning to have a 90-day Practice Period, with Eden Kevin Heffernan as Shuso or Head Monk. Eden will be leading practice, giving Dharma Talks, and meeting with members individually. Since the CHZC is a registered temple with the Soto Zen Registry, the Opening Ceremony will be held at the CHZC on Saturday, April 15, around 1:00pm. The Evening Tea and Shuso Dharma Inquiry ceremonies will be held on Friday night, and on Saturday around noon, on July 15. Everyone is invited these ceremonies. There will also be a Zoom Study Group reading Uchiyama Roshi's teaching in the book, How to Cook Your Life, on Monday evenings at 7:00. For more information, see:

5-day Sesshin
We are planning to have an in-person 5-day Sesshin, or meditation intensive, June 16-21, led by Josho Pat Phelan Roshi.

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

Outdoor Half-day Sitting

Saturday, April 1, 6AM to 12:15PM

Our next Outdoor Half-day Sitting will be Saturday, April 1, 6AM to 12:15PM. You are welcome to participate for all or any part of this event. Please bring a bag breakfast which you can either keep at your place or store in the annex refrigerator. Coffee and tea will be available on the back deck. Also, bring a flashlight and a blanket or yoga mat to place on the tarps available (We do not bring the zabutons outside.) Zafus, chairs, and benches will be available. Dress in layers.

For More Information or to Sign Up:

Email Zenki at or Chris at If you would like to join us for only a portion of the morning, please let us know when signing up.

Bodhisattva Ceremony

Tuesday evening, April 25, 7:40 PM

Following one period of in-person zazen at 7 PM, we will have the Bodhisattva Ceremony, which has its roots in the oldest Buddhist Ceremony. This is a monthly ceremony of renewing the vows and precepts. Everyone is welcome to join all or any part of this program. You can read more about the ceremony in this talk by Shosan Victoria Austin.

Buddha’s Birthday Celebration

Sunday morning, April 30

Buddha’s Birthday celebration will be held on Sunday morning, April 30, following two periods of zazen at 9 and 9:50AM.

At 10:30AM we will gather in the backyard for the ceremony which will begin with a procession. At the outdoor altar we will offer incense and bathe the Baby Buddha.

Afterwards there will be a vegetarian potluck picnic. Beverages will be provided. If you would like to bring birthday cake, please let us know ahead of time.

Children, families, and friends are welcome! Families with children should arrive between 10:20 -10:30 (after zazen ends).

If you plan to bring children, please RSVP at:

Work Morning

Saturday, April 29, 10AM to noon

There will be a work period Saturday morning, April 29 to clean the grounds and prepare for the outdoor celebration of Buddha’s Birthday. Everyone is encouraged to come to the work period, either for the whole session or for any part of it. Please bring flowers if you can, either on Saturday, or by 9AM on Sunday.

2023 CROP Hunger Walk

Sunday, June 4 at 2:30 PM

Keep a thought for those less fortunate... Walk for all of them and walk for all of us across the world. We walk together.

—Bonita, CROP Hunger Walk volunteer, NC

Please join fellow sangha members for the Chapel Hill/Carrboro CROP Hunger Walk. This is an opportunity to join other religious congregations in our area to help hungry and impoverished people locally and around the world.

The 2023 CROP Hunger Walk is scheduled for Sunday, June 4 at 2:30 PM, beginning and ending at the Carrboro Town Commons, 301 W. Main Street in Carrboro. Registration begins at 1:30 PM

You can make a donation, walk with us, or both! You can also request donations from friends and family. And your offering can be handled easily online by going to the Chapel Hill Zen Center team's CROP Walk page:

Study Group via Zoom

Thursday nights, 6:45 to 8 PM.

We are studying the Heart Sutra, reading together Shohaku Okumura's commentary in his 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.

Please note:On March 9th, instead of our usual Study Group class, Chimyo Atkinson Sensei will give a Dharma Talk, beginning at 7PM. Everyone is welcome. Please log on 5-10 minutes before the talk is scheduled to begin, using our regular Study Group Zoom link.

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. Masks are now optional at Zen Center.

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 Kübler-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 March-April 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

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.

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:

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.