Author Archives: Laura Wallace

October 2019 Residential Sesshin

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Bright Sea/Greater Boston Zen Center 7-day October 2019 Sesshin


When: October 18-25, 2019
From 8:00 pm Friday evening through noon the following Friday

Where: Cedar Hill Retreat Center on Kingston Bay
346 Standish Street
Duxbury, MA 02332

Cost: $450 (U.S.) fee for full-time
Pro-rated fees for part-time
Scholarships available
(details below)

Space is limited. Priority is given to those who plan to attend the entire sesshin.


Josh Jiun Bartok, Roshi is the abbot at the Greater Boston Zen Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is a Soto Zen priest. He is a Dharma heir to James Myoun Ford, Roshi in two lineages: the ordained Soto transmission through Jiyu Kennett, Roshi and the lay koan-teaching lineage through John Tarrant, Roshi. Josh also works as a Buddhist pastoral counselor in private practice, and as the executive editor of Wisdom Publications, where he has edited more than 200 books from all Dharma traditions. He’s the co-author with Ezra Bayda of Saying Yes to Life (Even the Hard Parts), and the authoring editor of four anthologies of Dharma quotes, including most recently Daily Doses of Wisdom. His writing has appeared in Shambhala Sun, Lion’s Roar, and Buddhadharma magazines, as well as The Handbook for Zen and Mindfulness for Behavioral Health Practitioners.

Kate Kagen Hartland, Sensei is the Resident Teacher for Bright Sea Zen Sangha and a Spiritual Director for the Greater Boston Zen Center. Before coming to Boundless Way she had studied with both Philip Kapleau (Rochester Zen Center) and Toni Packer (Springwater Center) and has been practicing for a total of about 25 years. Kate received Dharma transmission (Denbo) from Josh Mu’nen Bartok, Roshi, in 2017. Kate is retired from the non-profit Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge.


Applications are now being accepted for the Bright Sea/Greater Boston Zen Center October sesshin. The sesshin begins at 8:00 pm on Friday evening, October 18, and ends at noon on Friday, October 25. This sesshin will be held at the Cedar Hill Retreat Center in Duxbury, MA.

The total fee for the sesshin is $450. Scholarships are available, so please do not let financial considerations affect your decision to apply. We do ask everyone to make some contribution no matter how small. For part-time attendance there is no fee for Friday evening, but the fee for any or all of each remaining day is as follows:

One day $120
2-3 days $100/day ($200-$300)
4-5 days $90/day ($360-$450)
6 days $70/day ($420)

Space is limited. Priority is given to those who plan to attend the entire sesshin.

The fee schedule and cancellation policy are as follows:

Payment in full is made upon arriving at the sesshin, via check or cash.

We request that you notify us as soon as possible if cancellation is necessary so that we can offer the opening to a waiting-list registrant.

Important Notes

  • Registration will be open until October 10; however, priority will be given to those who register within 2 weeks. Verbal requests for a reservation are not accepted.
  • We offer easy-to-use online registration. This application is a streamlined and secure process. The link to the online form is below.
  • You need only complete and submit the online application form, there is no payment at this time.
  • At the end of the 2-week registration period, a lottery system will be used to choose participants. You will be notified of your status shortly afterward.
  • Although registration will remain open through October 10, priority will be given to completed registration requests for full-time, residential attendance received within the first two weeks of the registration period. If more requests are received by October 10 than there are spaces available, a lottery system will again be implemented. The sesshin is open to all, regardless of previous retreat experience or financial considerations.
  • Payment will be made upon arriving at sesshin, via check or cash.

Registration is limited. The final date to register is October 10. If you have any questions please contact the sesshin registrar, Kate Hartland, at [email protected].

We hope to see you there!

LGBTQIA+ Zen Group

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The community at GBZC invites you to participate in a monthly sitting practice where our focus is on LGBTQIA+ issues. Our aim is to create a safe space for Zen meditation and dialogue for LGBTQIA+ people and allies.

What to Expect
This is a shortened Zen Buddhist service that will include chanting, seated meditation, walking meditation, and discussion. We will also seek to bring in teachers from the Zen community that can speak to topics affecting the LGBTQIA+ community. No RSVP required.

This is an opportunity to cultivate a diverse community rooted in inclusivity, justice, and compassion. This group is meant to be both an entry point to discovering and practicing Zen and an exploratory practice for LGBTQIA+ people and allies already familiar with Zen.


Greater Boston Zen Center
552 Massachusetts Avenue #208
Second Floor
Cambridge, MA 02139

When: Every 4th Sunday from 7:00-8:30 P.M. starting September 22, 2019.

Approximate program schedule:
6:30 pm - Early arrival for newcomers that would like an orientation
7:00 pm - Sutra Service (15 min), Walking Meditation (5 min), Sit (20 min), Walking Meditation (5 min), Discussion/Talk (30 min), Walking Meditation (5 min), Closing Service (5 min)
8:30 pm - Out for the evening

Who: All LGBTQIA+ people and allies are welcome.

Questions/Comments: Please contact the group's facilitator, Caroline Murphy, at [email protected]

Writing as Spiritual Practice Group

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Greater Boston Zen Center (GBZC) member Rebecca Doverspike invites all to join her in this new, monthly sitting group.

This group will gather to share (and maybe inspire further) creative works with one another and to collaborate in conversation about how those works relate to spiritual practices as a whole. Often, we cannot see alone what we are doing, or could do, with a particular creative piece and readers can help by sharing what they see in it. We will also spend time doing spiritual reading practices and free-writing together.

You are welcome to bring other author’s creative works that relate to spiritual practice for you to share with the group instead of, or in addition to, your own. Work in any language is welcome, as are translations (either of your own work or another’s). Also, if you simply want to listen in to gauge interest, you are welcome to do so.

Quarterly, we will hold an interfaith open mic night for anyone interested in and beyond our


Greater Boston Zen Center
552 Massachusetts Avenue #208
Second Floor
Cambridge, MA 02139

When: Once a month from 7:00-8:30 P.M. on the last Thursday evening of the month unless otherwise noted.

Who: All are welcome for any of the meetings.

Questions/Comments: Please contact the group's facilitator, Rebecca Doverspike, at [email protected]

Persons of Color Monthly Sitting Group

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This affinity group for persons of color (POC), co-organized by Vincent Cho and James Peregrino, serves to affirm and cultivate diversity in our Zen community. It rooted in inclusivity, solidarity, and compassion. The evening consists of a shortened Zen Buddhist service, including chanting, meditation, discussion, and light refreshments. All are welcome, including newcomers to Zen or those hoping to expand their practices.  Newcomer orientations are at 6:40 PM. No RSVP required.


Greater Boston Zen Center
552 Massachusetts Avenue #208
Second Floor
Cambridge, MA 02139

Held the third Monday each month, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. 
Please note the following exception:  April’s meeting will be on April 13, 2020. 

Questions? Please contact Vincent Cho via [email protected]

Realizing Genjokoan Study Group

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For the 2019-2020 season, the Thursday night book study and discussion group will explore the book Realizing Genjokoan; The Key to Dogen's Shobogenzo by Shohaku Okumura. Jisho Warner, co-editor of Opening the Hand of Thought, describes this book as "An unequaled introduction to the writings of the great Zen master Eihei Dogen that opens doors to Dogen's vast understanding for everyone from newcomer to adept."

All are invited to join us in exploring this introduction to Dogen’s teachings and how they can encourage and support us in our practice. Drop-ins are welcome! Prior reading is not required and a few books will be on hand to use during the discussion. Come for one discussion, a few of them, or all of them as your schedule allows.

This book study and discussion group meets on the SECOND THURSDAY EVENING of the month at 7:15 PM and is facilitated by GBZC Practice Leader, John Vetrano.

We'll be meeting each month, September through May. Please note that there are some exceptions to our typical schedule of meeting on the second Thursday of the month.  The dates below are underlined if they are NOT the second Thursday.
Dates: 9/12, 10/10, 11/14, 12/19, 1/9, 2/13, 3/12, 4/9, 5/14

Time: 7:15 – 8:45 PM

Suggested donation - GBZC members: $10 / non-members: $15


Sep 12
Genjokoan Parts 1-4 (page 1) and pages 42-49
Oct 10:
Genjokoan Parts 1-4 (page 1) and pages 51-55
Nov 14:
Pages 75-81
Dec 19:
Page 95 through the top of page 100
Jan 9:
Pages 118-126
Feb 13:
Genjokoan Part 10; page 143, and pages 146-151
Mar 12:
Genjokoan Part 11; pages 158-164
Apr 9:
May 14

Buddha’s Birthday Celebration

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Tuesday Evening, April 12th

7:00 P.M.

You are invited to the Celebration of Buddha's Birthday

During the regularly scheduled Tuesday evening practice period, we will have a special ceremony to celebrate Buddha's birthday.
The ceremony will be followed by a social gathering with our sangha-mates and the chance to enjoy birthday cake.
Looking forward to seeing you there!

Rohatsu Remembrance

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GBZC will have two special opportunities for
you to engage in this deeply held remembrance.

Rohatsu Sit: Fri night, Dec 12th, 8:30 – 10:00 pm

In symbolic observance of the Buddha's own all-night sitting, the Center will be open Friday night from 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm for zazen. Come for all or part of this special opportunity to sit together.

"This zazen is not meditation practice.
It is simply the Dharma gate of joyful ease, the
practice-realization of totally culminated enlightenment.”
- Fukanzazengi


Rohatsu Commemoration: Sat, Dec 13th, 9:00 am – Noon
(during the weekly Saturday morning program)

In addition to the regular Saturday morning program of zazen and interviews, there will also be a special Dharma talk and ceremony to commemorate Buddha’s awakening and the awakening of all beings.

How has this practice changed your life? Let’s sit together and honor the gift of Buddha’s enlightenment.

Zen Forms

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Chanting, bowing, offering incense, ringing a bell, playing a drum,
leading kinhin -- h
ow do these traditional Zen forms
support and guide us in our practice?


Please join us on Saturday, August 23rd (during our regular Saturday morning sit) for an opportunity to explore and deepen your connection to the various aspects of practice in the zendo (meditation hall).

We'll be talking and learning about playing instruments used in our sutra service, being time keeper (jiki) and leading walking meditation, being chant leader (ino), bowing, and offering incense.  We'll explore how we do them, the spirit in which we practice them, and the many different ways in which we may meet these forms -- none of which is a problem! 


Saturday, August 23rd, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Liturgy service
Exploring Zen Forms Discussion
Hands-on Learning & Practice

Whether you are brand new or have been sitting with us for years, everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend!