Category Archives: Events

Uji, Being-Time Study Group

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For the 2018-2019 season, the Thursday night book study and discussion group will explore the new book Being-Time; A Practioner's Guide to Dogen's Shobogenzo Uji by Shinshu Roberts.

Shinshu Roberts writes, “In this world we are surrounded by much prejudice and violence born of deep ignorance of our sameness. To understand the truth of mutual identity and mutual interpenetration is not an abstract philosophical idea, it is the dharma gate of compassion and wisdom.” 

All are invited to join us in exploring how Dogen’s teaching Uji, Being-Time can help us actualize our Bohisattva vows in our daily lives. 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 will meet on the SECOND THURSDAY EVENING of the month at 7:15 PM and will be 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: 9/13, 10/11, 11/15, 12/13, 1/31, 2/21, 3/28, 4/18, 5/9

Time: 7:15 – 8:45 PM

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

Readings:

Sep 13
Uji, p. 25 and the first three paragraphs on p. 26
Chapter 1, p. 35 through the top of page 40
Oct 11:
Chapters 2 and 3  
Nov 15:
Pages 72-78
Dec 13:
Chapter 8: Pages 86-90
Jan 31:
TBA
Feb 21:
TBA
Mar 28:
TBA
Apr 18:
TBA
May 9
:
TBA

All-day Sit (Zazenkai)

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Yunmen

"Every Day Is A Good Day"

"We can't do it by ourselves, and no one else can do it for us."
--from the Boundless Way Zen liturgy book

A powerful way to more deeply explore your practice is to attend a zazenkai, an all-day sit. At GBZC "all-day" means 9am-4:30pm. You are always welcome to attend for any portion of an all-day sit, as suits your schedule. The retreat includes liturgy, dokusan/interviews, zazen, walking meditation, and a Dharma talk with discussion.

All-day sits at GBZC are usually led by BoWZ Guiding Josh Bartok and another BoWZ teacher. Everyone will have the opportunity to have interviews with both teachers, and people may even have the opportunity to see each teacher twice.

Please bring a bag lunch to eat oryoki-style.

Schedule: Our all-day sits are on Saturdays
Time: 9 AM - 4:30 PM.  You are welcome to attend any part of the day.
Please note: This schedule is subject to change up to 30 days prior!

2018 Schedule:
12/15 Zazenkai: Led by Josh Bartok, Roshi and Kate Hartland, Sensei

2019 Schedule:
01/19 Zazenkai: Led by Josh Bartok, Roshi and James Cordova, Sensei

Suggested donation:
All day - GBZC members: $25 / non-members: $40
Half day - GBZC members: $12 / non-members: $20

Registration:
Pre-registration is encouraged. You may register online using the "Pay Now" button below, or you may register in person on the day of the event.

Please select option:

Receiving the Zen Precepts

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Recommended books on the Precepts

The Mind of Clover (Aitken)
Waking Up to What You Do (Rizetto)
Being Upright (Anderson)
If You're Lucky, Your Heart Will Break (Ford)
The Heart of Being (Loori)

Recommended Books on the Precepts and Society

The Great Awakening (Loy)
The New Social Face of Buddhism (Jones)
Money Sex War Karma (Loy)
Pavement (Jensen)
Razor-Wire Dharma (Malone)

"Vast is the robe of liberation, 
a formless field of benefaction;
I wear the Tathagata's teaching,
saving all sentient beings."
--from the Boundless Way Zen liturgy book 

The Precepts of skillful action are the moral and ethical teachings of the Zen Buddhist tradition. They're not rules to be followed, but suggestions on how to navigate the difficult and messy business of being human in this human world. They describe how to fully actualize the absolute truth of interconnection and oneness in the relative of world of this and that. Moreover, the Precepts are among the Buddha's clearest suggestions about how to find liberation right in the middle of our everyday lives.

The ceremony of formally receiving the precepts is called Jukai, and takes place twice a year. People who have received the Precepts wear a rakusu (pronounced "rock-su") during zazen, the black bib-like garment that is a miniaturized version of the Buddha's robe, the robe of liberation. In this ceremony, each person receiving the precepts has the opportunity to read a sentence or three about each of the sixteen precepts. In this way, the ceremony is extremely powerful, communal, and inspiring. If possible, you should attend at least one Jukai ceremony before receiving them yourself.

Receiving the Precepts is not something we do when we believe we will never act against them, but is itself an expression of our bodhisattva aspiration to return, again and again, to our intention to let Precepts guide our lives.

The process of aspiring to be guided by the precepts, falling short of our aspirations, and atoning for the harming karma we create is the essence of Zen. This three-part process (aspiring, falling short, and atoning) is the heart of practicing Zen in our everyday off-the-cushion lives.

If you're interested in taking the Precepts, you can inquire about this in dokusan with any of the Boundless Way Zen transmitted teachers. Most people sew their rakusu themselves, and there are sangha members who can help with this, including by providing you with a kit to get started.

You can find two Precepts recitations in the Boundless Way Zen liturgy book.

Jukai Ceremonies in which the precepts are given and received are held twice a year.  One in Spring at the BWZ Temple in Worcester, and one in Autumn at GBZC. It is suitable to invite friends and relative to this ceremony.

Jukai Schedule for 2018 and 2019

  • November 17, 2018 -- GBZC, Cambridge
  • April 6, 2019 -- Boundless Way Temple, Worcester
  • November 9, 2019 -- GBZC, Cambridge

Our next Jukai ceremony at GBZC is scheduled for November 15th, 2014 at 4:30 PM.

Dogen Study Group

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Recommended Dogen books:

Realizing Genjokoan (Okumura)
Living by Vow (Okumura)
Opening the Hand of Thought (Uchiyama)
Moon in a Dewdrop (Tanahashi)
How to Raise an Ox (Cook)
Eihei Dogen--Mystical Realist (Kim)
Treasury of the True Dharma Eye (Tanahashi)

Eihei Dogen Zenji, the founder of Soto Zen in Japan, is one of the most influential Zen teachers who has ever lived. He is a peerless master of Dharma expression, and the study of Dogen is essential for anyone who practices shikantaza. And yet his writings are, to almost everyone who starts to read them, exceeding difficult to penetrate. We have found that a group study of his work is a wonderfully effective way of entering into these teachings. Some members of the study group refer to it as a "support group" for readers of Dogen.

GBZC offers a Dogen study and discussion group on
FOURTH SUNDAYS at 3:30 PM. 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.

For 2018-19, this group will be led by Josh Bartok, Roshi and Steve Wallace, Sensei.
We will be using Kaz Tanahashi's translation of Dogen's Shobogenzo "Treasury of the True Dharma Eye".

We'll be meeting each month, September through May. Please note that there are some exceptions to our typical schedule of meeting on the fourth Sunday of the month.  The dates below are underlined if they are NOT the fourth Sunday.
Dates: 9/9, 10/28, 11/25, 12/23, 1/27, 2/24, 3/24, 4/28, 5/19

Time: 3:30 - 5:00 PM

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

Readings

Sep 9:  Chapter 10 - Valley Sounds, Mountain Colors
Oct 28:  Chapter 11 - Refrain from Unwholesome Action
Nov 25:  Chapter 28 - The Point of Zazen, pp 303 - 309
Dec 23:  Chapter 28 - The Point of Zazen, pp 309 - 314
Jan 27:  Chapter TBA
Feb 24:  Chapter TBA
Mar 24: Chapter TBA 
Apr 28:  Chapter TBA 
May 19:
 Chapter TBA 

Liturgy Study Group

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The Liturgical texts of Zen are powerful and provocative teaching tools. They can be pointers to practice, words of encouragement, and transformative acts-in-themselves.

GBZC offers a Liturgy study and discussion group on the FOURTH THURSDAY EVENING of the month at 7:15 PM. Drop-ins are welcome! 

For 2017-18, this group will be taught by our abbot Josh Bartok assisted by our co-heads of practice Steve and Laura Wallace. John Vetrano will be the practice leader for the group.

We'll be meeting each month, September through May, except January.
Please note that there are some exceptions to our typical schedule of meeting on the fourth Thursday of the month.  The dates below are underlined if they are NOT the fourth Thursday.
Dates: 9/21, 10/26, 11/30, 12/21, (no meeting in January), 2/22, 3/22, 4/26, 5/24
Time: 7:15 – 8:45 pm

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

Reading will be:

This year we will be discussing a selection of texts that have been newly added to our BoWZ liturgy book.  The liturgy book is available for download here.

  • September
    1. Healing is Situated in Love, by angel Kyodo williams
    2. Compassion Unbound, by Koun Yamada
    3. The Fruit of the Bodhisattva Way, by Mazu Daoyi
  • October
    1.  Buddha Nature, by Eihei Dogen
    2.  The Way I Must Enter, by Izumi Shikibu
  • November
    1. Nothing to Do, by Linji Yixuan
    2. There is No End, by Dainin Katagiri
    3. Aspiration Prayer, by Larry Yang
    4. Your True Self Is The World, by Kosho Uchiyama
  • December
    1. The Heart of True Entrusting (“Xinxinming”), by Jianzhi Sengcan

  • February
    1. Receiving the Marrow by Bowing, by Eihei Dogen, p. 51
    2. Body and Mind, Ocean and Waves, by Keizan Jokin, p. 55
    3. Realizing the Zen Way, by Muso Soseki, p. 19
  • March
    1. Sending-and-Receiving, by Norman Fischer, p. 74
    2. Hope in the Dark, by Rebecca Solnit, p. 71
    3. Fourfold Commitment to Social Justice, by GBZC Racial and Social Justice Group, p. 66
  • April
    1. Observing the One Who Is Dim and Dull, by Da Hui, p. 19
    2. This Moment is the Koan, by Keizan Jokin, p. 57
    3. Great Doubt, by Hakuin Ekaku, p. 18
  • May
    1. Who Owns the Weather? By Joan Tollifson, p. 73
    2. Ocean-Mudra Samadhi, by Eihei Dogen, p. 54
    3. Do Your Best from the Record of Linji, p. 20

Zen and the Art of Daring to Live the Life You Want

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A workshop
 with Lizabeth Roemer, PhD
 and Josh Bartok, Sensei

Sunday June 12th from 1:00 - 4:30 p.m.
(See Registration details below)

In this newly developed workshop you will:

  • Learn how to clarify what is important to you, including identifying and addressing barriers to this clarity (such as mistaking goals for values)
  • Explore how the tools of the Zen tradition in the form of the precepts and the Bodhisattva Vows can function as a frame for clarifying values
  • Learn how to take actions that are consistent with how you want to be living your life, no matter what you are feeling in the moment.

Liz Roemer is co-author of The Mindful Way Through Anxiety: Break free from chronic worry and reclaim your life and the newly released Worry Less, Live More: The mindful way though anxiety workbook, and a Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She teaches nationally and internationally on the mindfulness- and acceptance-based behavioral treatment of anxiety. She is also married to Josh Bartok.

Josh Bartok is the Abbot of the Greater Boston Zen Center, and the editor of over 175 Buddhist books from Wisdom Publications. He is the co-author of Saying Yes to Life (Even the Hard Parts), and his writings have appeared in Shambhala Sun/Lion’s Roar and Buddhadharma magazines. He's also a Buddhist pastoral counselor in private practice, with a Master's Degree in Mental Heatlh Counseling. He is married to Liz Roemer.

Registration

The cost for the workshop is $30 if you register online in advance, $40 if you pay at the door. Financial aid is available (see below).
Space is limited.
Click here to register.

Financial Aid

We do not want financial circumstances to keep you from attending this event. We do offer a reduced rate to people with limited income. We encourage you to pay what you can truly afford, and know that your contribution of whatever amount is welcome. When registering, follow the financial aid instructions on the payment page.

Help

Contact [email protected] with any questions.

Commuter Retreat

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Yunmen

"Every Day Is A Good Day"

"We can't do it by ourselves, and no one else can do it for us."
--from the Boundless Way Zen liturgy book

"Commuter retreats" are non-residential multi-day intensive practice periods. They are opportunities similar to a day of sesshin. They typically run from 8am-6pm over one weekend. Like the zazenkai, commuter retreats include lunch practice together. We ask retreat attendees to bring a bag lunch and a teacup. We will provide hot water for tea.  Participants should plan to eat breakfast and dinner at home.

GBZC Commuter Retreats are scheduled for:

  • February 16-18, 2019
    Led by Josh Jiun Bartok, Roshi, Steve Wallace, Sensei & Laura Wallace, Osho
  • June 29-30, 2019
    Led by Josh Jiun Bartok, Roshi and TBA

More information is available at our commuter retreat information page.

Lunch: Please bring a brown-bag lunch to eat Oryoki style.

Suggested donation: $50 for each full day; $25 for each half-day
Sliding scale available. Please never let money keep you away. All are welcome, regardless of means.

Dogen Study Group 2015-2016

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Recommended Dogen books:

Realizing Genjokoan (Okumura)
Living by Vow (Okumura)
Opening the Hand of Thought (Uchiyama)
Moon in a Dewdrop (Tanahashi)
How to Raise an Ox (Cook)
Eihei Dogen--Mystical Realist (Kim)
Treasury of the True Dharma Eye (Tanahashi)

Eihei Dogen Zenji, the founder of Soto Zen in Japan, is one of the most influential Zen teachers who has ever lived. He is a peerless master of Dharma expression, and the study of Dogen is essential for anyone who practices shikantaza. And yet his writings are, to almost everyone who starts to read them, exceeding difficult to penetrate. We have found that a group study of his work is a wonderfully effective way of entering into these teachings. Some members of the study group refer to it as a "support group" for readers of Dogen.

GBZC offers a Dogen study and discussion group on
SECOND SUNDAYS at 3:30. Drop-ins are welcome!

For 2015-16, this group will be led by Josh Bartok
We will be using Kaz Tanahashi's translation of Dogen's Shobogenzo "Treasury of the True Dharma Eye" 

We'll be meeting each month, September through May, except January.
Please note the following exceptions to our typical schedule of meeting on the second Sunday of the month: in October we are meeting on the fourth Sunday and there is no meeting in January.
Dates: 9/13, 10/25, 11/8, 12/13,  2/14, 3/13, 4/10, 5/8
Time: 3:30 - 5:00pm

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

Discussion topics and pages

Apr: Shobogenzo - One Bright Pearl, p 34
May: Shobogenzo - TBD

GBZC Annual Meeting

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Saturday, June 3, at 1 p.m.
 
This year's annual meeting will take place at the Center on Saturday, June 3rd, at 1:00 p.m. If you consider GBZC your spiritual home, please consider coming. GBZC Members are strongly encouraged to attend as we will be voting on new Board Members and next year's budget. If you're not a member of GBZC, but interested in becoming one, please talk to a practice leader or see our membership page for more information.