Category Archives: Featured Events

Buddha’s Birthday – April 14

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Please Join Us for Buddha’s Virtual Birthday Celebration

We will celebrate Buddha's Birthday on Tuesday, April 14 at 7pm during the regular Tuesday night sit; socializing to follow. See Virtual Programming webpage or GBZC calendar for Zoom details.

Everyone is invited, as you are able, to have the following items available during the ceremony:

  • Buddha statue that can get wet and a container that it can fit inside to hold the water. We will make an offering of bathing the baby Buddha. If you don’t have a Buddha statue, you can use three stacked stones as a Buddha image if you like, or even a flower.
  • A cup with water or tea and a ladle or spoon for bathing the baby Buddha
  • A flower--real, silk, imaginal, or in the form of incense--to make as an offering.
  • A treat of your choice to make as an offering and then enjoy during socializing after the ceremony

We look forward to celebrating together!

Turning Toward Group

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Turning Toward: White People Working to Dismantle White Supremacy

Turning Toward is a group for white-identifying dharma practitioners to hold each other accountable and encourage each other in doing the inner and outer work of dismantling racism and acting in alliance with people of color in a white supremacist society. Attendees have read at least one of the following three books: So You Want to Talk About Race (Ijeoma Oluo), Awakening Together (Larry Yang), or Mindful of Race (Ruth King). Because of the relational and intimate nature of this group's work, attendees are asked to commit to attending 4 once-monthly sessions.

Sponsors: Liz Roemer, Rebecca Behizadeh

Time and Dates: The following are Sundays from 5-7pm: April 5, May 10, & May 31, 2020

Location:
Greater Boston Zen Center or via ZOOM (depending on COVID guidance)
552 Massachusetts Avenue #208
Second Floor
Cambridge (in Central Square), MA 02139

How you can join: Turning Toward is open to new members 3 times throughout the year. Coming to the first meeting of each session isn’t a commitment, it’s an exploration to see if this group is a good fit. 

Questions/Comments:  Please contact email,  [email protected]

 

Precepts Discussion Group

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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)

The Precepts of Skillful Action are the heart of what it means to practice Zen off the cushion--and their study is an endlessly rich, ever-unfolding practice.

For the 2020 season, the Precepts Discussion Group will be led by Rev. Diane Shoshin Fitzgerald, Sensei, resident teacher of the GBZC Affiliate group, Zen DownEast, in Pembroke, ME. This discussion group is offered by conference call. These calls are a half-hour long and each call is devoted to discussing one of the sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts. The conference calls are open to all, regardless of where you may practice, and do not commit you to participating in Jukai (the formal ceremony of receiving the Precepts). Sometimes people simply want to learn more about the moral and ethical teachings of Zen.

Participants are asked to read two books: Reb Anderson’s Being Upright and the Bodhisattva Precepts and Robert Aitken’s The Mind of Clover: Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics.

The Precepts Study Group occurs on Tuesdays 6:45-7:15 pm. Join via conference call beginning April 7, 2020. Contact Diane Fitzgerald at [email protected]

If you are interested in formally receiving the Precepts, you can inquire about this with any of our transmitted teachers, and you can find more information here.

Buddhist Responses to Climate Change

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Thursday, February 18, 6 - 8:30 pm, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi and BoWZ Dharma Teacher and GBZC sangha-mate, Dr. Julie Nelson, will make presentations at the Harvard Divinity School's RPP Colloquium: Buddhist Responses to Climate Change. 
Dr. Julie Nelson will present "Beyond 'Small is Beautiful': Buddhism and the Economics of Climate Change." and Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, chair of Buddhist Global Relief and president of the Buddhist Association of the United States (BAUS), will present "The Four Noble Truths of the Climate Crisis." Space is limited and RSVP is required.  Get the details and RSVP.

Zen Movie Night

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The Dhamma Brothers
Thursday September 24th, 2015
Start Time 7:15PM

Dhamma-BrosGreater Boston Zen Center’s Zen movie night continues in September with an exploration of the Dharma through the eyes of those incarcerated in the American Prison system.

“An overcrowded, violent maximum-security prison, the end of the line in Alabama's prison system, is dramatically changed by the influence of an ancient meditation program. Behind high security towers and a double row of barbed wire and electrical fence live over 1,500 prisoners, many of whom will never again know life in the outside world.

But for some of these men, a spark is ignited when it becomes the first maximum-security prison in North America to hold an extended Vipassana retreat, an emotionally and physically demanding program of silent meditation lasting ten days and requiring 100 hours of meditation.”

While Vipassana practice differs somewhat from Zen practice, there are many similarities. After the film we will have a discussion, sharing our impressions of the film and reflecting on insights into our practice, the dharma, and the prison system.

Hosted by Harry Gordon
Runtime 1 hour, 16 minutes. Unrated. Inmates describe their past criminal acts, some of which are violent sex crimes. Some crime reenactments.

STAY TUNED — MORE ZEN MOVIE NIGHTS WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON!

Liturgy Study Group 2015-2016

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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. This group will use Kazuaki Tanahashi's book ZEN CHANTS: THIRTY-FIVE ESSENTIAL TEXTS WITH COMMENTARY, as our main text to explore chants in Boundless Way Liturgy.

GBZC offers a Liturgy study and discussion group on
THIRD THURSDAY EVENINGS at 7:15 PM. Drop-ins are welcome!

For 2015-16, this group will be taught by Josh Bartok and Senior GBZC dharma teachers. John Vetrano will be the practice leader for the group.

We'll be meeting each month, September through May, except January.
Please note the following exceptions to our typical schedule of meeting on the third Thursday of the month: in February we are meeting on the fourth Thursday, in March on the second Thursday and there is no meeting in January.
Dates: 9/17, 10/15, 11/19, 12/17, (no meeting in January), 2/25, 3/10, 4/21, 5/19
Time: 7:15 – 8:45 pm

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

Reading will be:

Sep 17 -- Introduction
Oct 15 -- Engraving trust in the heart
Nov 19 -- Song of Realizing the Way
Dec 17 -- Ten-line Life-affirming Sutra of Avalokiteshvara
Skip Jan
Feb 25 --- Sutra on the Heart of Realizing Wisdom Beyond Wisdom
Mar 10 --- Maka Hannya Haramitsu from second edition of BoWZ liturgy book
April 21 ---Guidepost for Silent Illumination from BoWZ liturgy book
May 19 --- Fulfilling the Buddha Way from BoWZ liturgy book

Liturgy Study Group 2014-15

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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. This group will use Shohaku Okumura's book LIVING BY VOW: A PRACTICAL INTRODUCTION TO EIGHT ESSENTIAL ZEN CHANTS AND TEXTS, as our main text to explore chants in Boundless Way Liturgy.

GBZC offers a Liturgy study and discussion group on
THIRD THURSDAY EVENINGS at 7:15 PM. Drop-ins are welcome!

For 2014-15, this group will be taught by Josh Bartok and Senior GBZC dharma teachers. John Vetrano will be the practice leader for the group.
We will be using Shohaku Okumura's Living by Vow as our primary text.

We'll meeting each month, September through May, except January.
Dates: 9/18, 10/16, 11/20, 12/18, (no meeting in January), 2/19, 3/19, 4/16, 5/21
Time: 7:15 – 8:45 pm

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

Reading will be:

Sep 18 -- Four Bodhisattva Vows (chap 1)
Oct 16 -- Verse of Repentence / Gatha of Atonement (Chap 2)
Nov 20 -- Three Refuges (Chap 3)
Dec 18 -- The Robe Chant / Verse of the Kesa (Chap 4)
Skip Jan
Feb 19 --- Heart Sutra (Chap 6)
Mar 19 --- Meal Chants (Chap 5)
April 16 --- Harmony of Difference and Unity (Chap 7.)
May 21 --- Gatha for Opening the Sutra (chap 8).

The Zen Way Through Anxiety

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

Sunday June 14 from 1:00-4:30pm
$40 at the door
$30 if you register online at bostonzen.org/workshop
financial aid is available (see below for details)
space is limited

In this newly developed workshop you will:

  • learn how to understand anxiety and stress, recognize early signs of anxiety, and respond differently to anxiety so that your distress is less likely to spiral and interfere with your life
  • learn different practices that you can incorporate into your life to help you strengthen the skills of noticing your experience with curiosity and kindness, so that you can interrupt problematic cycles of responding
  • clarify what is important to you and 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 Professor of Psychology at University of Massachusetts Boston. She teaches nationally and internationally on the mindfulness- acceptance-based 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's also a Buddhist pastoral counselor in private practice, with a Master's Degree in Mental Heatlh Counseling. He is married to Liz Roemer.

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. Please register at bostonzen.org/workshop and follow the instructions on the payment page.

Help

Contact [email protected] with any questions.

Zen Movie Night

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projectorThe Greater Boston Zen Center sponsors an ongoing series of films whose Zen themes range from implicit to non-obvious. Each Movie Night is hosted by a Zen student or teacher who offers a brief introduction to that evening's film. A short break during the film and a brief talk afterwards gives us a moment to ask, listen, and reflect on the Zen threads that emerge as the film tells its tale.

Feel free to invite your partners, family and friends and to bring your favorite snacks!

Thursday August 6th, 7:15 PM
Screening:
A Zen Life: D.T. Suzuki
Hosted by Harry Gordon
Run time 1 hour, 17 minutes.  Appropriate for all ages

Zen movie night at the Greater Boston Zen Center continues this Summer with a look into the life of one of the most important people in the history of Zen.  The spread of Zen Buddhism to the West had no greater broadcaster than Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki and A Zen Life: D.T. Suzuki continues that same tradition long after his death in 1966.

This absorbing visual record presents Suzuki’s journey from a young Japanese boy raised in rural impoverishment, through his Zen training and to his powerful influence on key creative and political figures in the 20th century.

Beyond simply being an advocate and knowledge base for curious Western minds, Suzuki’s command of the English language and Western ways positioned him to become one of the first to introduce Zen to the West. Bridging the cultural divide between East and West, he made Zen and the Eastern mind comprehensible to Westerners. Suzuki authored hundreds of books that remain resources for Western students of Zen, as well as scholars of Japanese religion and culture.

He most famously conducted a series of lectures at Columbia University from 1951 to 1953 filled with audiences who would take his teachings and apply them to their own philosophies and advocacy for cultural change. Featured interviews, spanning from Zen luminary Roshi Robert Aitken to beat-culture icon Gary Snyder. render a view of Suzuki as both a master of this Buddhist school and also as the ideal conveyor of Zen Buddhism to Westerners.

Considered the ultimate celluloid biography of Suzuki, step into the world of no-thinking with us as we come to know the historical facts and the spiritual oeuvre that make up A Zen Life.

STAY TUNED — MORE ZEN MOVIE NIGHTS WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON!