Category Archives: Featured Events

Eco-Anxiety and Pandemic

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Beginning Monday, August 3, the EcoSattva group is offering a free interactive 9-week Zoom course called Eco-Anxiety and the Pandemic.  Worrying about climate change and the pandemic can feel overwhelming, but there are ways to help reduce this anxiety and climate breakdown at the same time.  Speakers will include David R. Loy, Newell Lewey, Ivan Fernandez, and more! 

Visit this website for more information, and register here for all or part of this incredible series of classes.

Introduction to Zen Buddhism Class

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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: Karen McCormack, GBZC Practice Leader and Harry Gordon, GBZC Practice Leader

When: Monday 7/6, 7/13, 7/27, and 8/3 from 7-8:30pm via Zoom

Registration Fee:  $20 for all four sessions (or pay whatever you can)

To inquire, email [email protected].  To register, fill out this Introduction to Zen Registration Form.

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.


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
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 and follow the instructions on the payment page.


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
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.


Being a Bodhisattva in the Modern World

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The Greater Boston Zen Center is co-sponsoring an event with the Natural Dharma Fellowship.  More details can be found on the Natural Dharma Fellowship web site.

Tuesday Night Teachings: Transforming Self, Transforming Society
Being a Bodhisattva in the Modern World
with David Loy, Sensei Josh Bartok, Lama Willa Miller
Tuesday, May 5 7:00 pm
Cambridge Friends Meeting House, Longfellow Park, Cambridge, MA 02138

The Mahayana path encourages us to transform the self as a path to transforming society. While the archetype of the bodhisattva has been an inspiration for generations of an engaged, compassionate activist in the world, the practice of meditation requires a commitment to examining the inner life, a slowing down and staying put, a commitment to apparent non-action. How can we gracefully reconcile these two directions—outer and inner—as spiritual practitioners engaged in the world? Join David Loy, Sensei Josh Bartok and Willa Miller as they reflect on these questions individually and in dialogue.

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.