Category Archives: Events

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). For the first meeting, please bring a creative piece (partial or complete) of your own or another’s (even a quote from an author you like) to share and writing implements from computers to pens. Or, if you want to listen in to simply gauge interest, please be welcome.

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

GROUP INFO:

Location:
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. First meeting: June 27th.

Who: All are welcome for any of the meetings.

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

Introduction to Zen Buddhism Class Confirmation

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Greater Boston Zen Center
552 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA in Central Square
Four Mondays in July: 7/1-7/22
TIme: 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Thank you for registering for the Introduction to Zen Buddhism Class, co-led Josh Bartok Roshi, Spiritual Director of GBZC and Karen McCormack, a practice leader at GBZC. A spot has been reserved for you.

This four-session class is a perfect way to connect to the vibrant and welcoming contemplative community at the Greater Boston Zen Center and learn what Buddhism is all about. Through a mixture of history, philosophy, context, hands-on practice, and direct experience, you’ll learn about the Zen tools for finding peace—right in the middle of our busy, complicated lives.

Cost This class is made available on a sliding scale, according to means. Please see below for suggested donation. Please do not let money keep you away.

Please enter donation amount and click Pay Now button.

  • Circumstances of financial challenge: $ as you can afford (Please never stay away due to financial reasons. Your presence itself is valuable!)
  • $80 for all four session

With bows,
Karen McCormack

Introduction to Zen Buddhism Class

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Introduction to Zen Buddhism Class
>> REGISTRATION NOW OPEN <<

Curious about Zen?
Want to learn more about Buddhism?
Looking for guidance in starting a meditation practice?
Wondering what goes on at the Greater Boston Zen Center?
Hoping to understand Zen forms and practices more deeply?

 

This four-session class is a perfect way to connect to the vibrant and welcoming contemplative community at the Greater Boston Zen Center and learn what Buddhism is all about. Through a mixture of history, philosophy, context, hands-on practice, and direct experience, you’ll learn about the Zen tools for finding peace—right in the middle of our busy, complicated lives.

 

Classes led by Josh Bartok Roshi, Spiritual Director of GBZC and Karen McCormack, GBZC Practice Leader
Four Mondays in July: 7/1–7/22
Time: 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Registration Fee: $80 for all four sessions (or pay whatever you can)

To inquire, email: [email protected];
To register: please use our
online registration form.

Non-Residential Sesshin

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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 our liturgy book

Non-residential sesshins at GBZC are a wonderful opportunity to deepen our practice by joining together as a sangha (community) in either 2 or 2.5 days of intensive Zen practice.

You can sign up for the multi-day sesshin or you can sign up for any combination of full and half-days. Non-residential sesshins are scheduled from 8am-6pm over either one regular or one long holiday weekend and include up to 8 hours of zazen (seated meditation) per day, liturgy, oryoki (traditional Zen meal ceremony) and dokusan (private meetings with the teachers).

The non-residential sesshin format allows us to practice together during the day and still spend the evening at home. While we will be chanting and eating together during our lunch meal service, we do not serve food at the Center. We will provide hot water for tea. We ask that participants plan to eat breakfast and dinner at home and plan to bring a bag lunch, a teacup, and whatever snacks they may need.

GBZC Non-residential sesshins are led by Josh Bartok, Kate Hartland, Laura Wallace, and others, and are scheduled for:

  • September 20-22, 2019
    Led by Josh Jiun Bartok, Roshi & Diane Shoshin Fitzgerald, Sensei

Click here for more information and to register for the September non-residential sesshin.

  • January 13-20, 2020
    Led by Josh Jiun Bartok, Roshi & TBD

Lunch: Please bring a brown-bag lunch and teacup 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. It is our policy that no one is turned away from sesshin because of financial circumstances. And we really mean this. Because it costs money to run the Zen Center and to support our teacher's time, we do ask that everyone make a contribution in some amount to our shared work. We encourage you to donate what you can, and know that your contribution of any amount is gratefully received.

Right Use of Power Workshop Confirmation

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Greater Boston Zen Center
552 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA in Central Square
Saturday, May 18th from 9-5pm
full event description

If you are viewing this page, you should have received a confirmation email confirming your spot will be reserved to attend this workshop. Space is limited, so confirmed reservations are required.

If you did not receive an email confirmation or are unsure if you are on the list, please be in touch with [email protected].

Cost Thank you for supporting this event and the dharma! This event is made available on a sliding scale, according to means. Please see below for suggested donations. Please do not let money keep you away.

Please choose donation level, fill-in amount and click Pay Now button.

  • Circumstances of financial challenge: $ as you can afford (Please never stay away due to financial reasons. Your presence itself is valuable!)
  • Basic community member cost : $50
  • Supporting community member : $100
  • Collaborating community member : $150
  • Sustaining community member: $150+

Lunch A boxed vegetarian lunch will be provided to attendees. Please fill out this google form if you would like us to order you lunch. There will be a space to include any special dietary restrictions, which we will do our best to accommodate. If we are unable to accommodate, we will let you know.

With bows,
Karen McCormack & Rebecca Behizadeh, Workshop Registrars

Persons of Color Monthly Sitting Group

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Greater Boston Zen Center (GBZC) member Leilani Diaz invites persons of color (POCs) to join her in this new, monthly sitting group. This is an opportunity to cultivate a diverse community rooted in inclusivity, justice, and compassion; it is also a chance to open our hearts and eyes to the history of Western convert Zen Buddhism, which has historically been quite white. This group is meant to be both (a) an entry point for POCs new to Zen and (b) an exploratory practice for POCs familiar with Zen. This is a shortened Zen Buddhist service that will include chanting, seated meditation, walking meditation, and discussion (with tea and cookies). No RSVP required.

POCs GROUP INFO:

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

Dates/Time:
Held the third Monday each month, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Please note the following exceptions:
June 24th
July 29th
Newcomers please try to arrive at 6:30 p.m. for a brief orientation and warm welcome.

Questions? Please email Leilani at [email protected]

About Leilani Diaz: Leilani is a social worker hailing from Somerville, MA. She first started sitting at GBZC in January 2015, and it has been her spiritual home since then. In her free time, Leilani enjoys making mixed media collages, playing the guitar, keeping up with friends and family, and petting the neighborhood cat that sits on her stoop.

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:
Pages 112-117
Feb 21:
Pages 96-102
Mar 28:
Pages 150-155
Apr 18:
Pages 180-185
May 9
:
Pages 210-215

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 our 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 our spiritual director Josh Bartok and another 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!

2019 Schedule:
08/17 zazenkai
11/23 zazenkai and jukai (precepts ceremony)
12/21 zazenkai
Note that there is no zazenkai in September and October.

2020 Schedule:
02/15
Note that there is no zazenkai in January.

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 our 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 our 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 our liturgy book.

Jukai Ceremonies in which the precepts are given and received are held twice a year.  One in Spring, 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 2019 -- TBD
  • November 9, 2019 -- GBZC, Cambridge

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