Category Archives: Featured Events

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:

  • January 17-19, 2020
    Led by Josh Jiun Bartok, Roshi & Dharma Holder, Laura Yushin Wallace

Click here for more information and to register for the January 2020 Non-residential sesshin

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.

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.

GROUP INFO:

Location:
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
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.

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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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.

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

Readings:

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:
TBA
Feb 13:
TBA
Mar 12:
TBA
Apr 9:
TBA
May 14
:
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 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:
12/21 zazenkai

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:

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 2019-20, 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 third Sunday of the month.  The dates below are underlined if they are NOT the fourth Sunday.
Dates: 9/15, 10/27, 11/17, 12/22, 1/26, 2/23, 3/22, 4/26, 5/31

Time: 3:30 - 5:00 PM

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

Readings

Sep 15: Chapter 66 - Spring and Autumn
Oct 27:  Canceled
Nov 17:  Chapter 39 - Within a Dream Expressing the Dream
Dec 22: Chapter 45 - Old Buddha Mind
Jan 26: TBD
Feb 23: TBD
Mar 22: TBD
Apr 26: TBD
May 31:
TBD

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 2019-2020 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. The first conference call in this series begins Monday evening, November 18, 2019. 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.

If you're interested in studying the Precepts with Diane, please contact her 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!