Category Archives: Other

Survey 2016

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Dear Sangha,

It’s the Greater Boston Zen Center’s goal to offer programming that serves the needs and wants of the GBZC community as best we can, and we’ve put together a brief survey to help us get a sense of how we might do this.

I want to encourage you all to, please, spend a few minutes (probably around 5-7 minutes) filling out this survey.

Part of what’s leading us to send out this survey is the fact that over the past year, we’ve seen a significant decrease in the registration numbers for our commuter retreats and all-day participants for our all-day sits. Attendance at the study groups, though not decreasing, is also not huge. And we’d like to get a better general sense of what causes and conditions give rise to this state of affairs.

with deep appreciation to each and every one of you,

Josh Jiun Bartok, Roshi


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.

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!

Zen Forms

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Chanting, bowing, offering incense, ringing a bell, playing a drum,
leading kinhin -- h
ow do these traditional Zen forms
support and guide us in our practice?


Please join us on Saturday, August 23rd (during our regular Saturday morning sit) for an opportunity to explore and deepen your connection to the various aspects of practice in the zendo (meditation hall).

We'll be talking and learning about playing instruments used in our sutra service, being time keeper (jiki) and leading walking meditation, being chant leader (ino), bowing, and offering incense.  We'll explore how we do them, the spirit in which we practice them, and the many different ways in which we may meet these forms -- none of which is a problem! 


Saturday, August 23rd, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Liturgy service
Exploring Zen Forms Discussion
Hands-on Learning & Practice

Whether you are brand new or have been sitting with us for years, everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend!

Obon Ceremony

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Please Join Us for Obon Ceremony & Lantern Making

Obon, as celebrated at Greater Boston Zen Center, is a very special Buddhist ceremony to honor one's ancestors as well as all the people who have been important in our lives.

Obon is a special time to come together in support of one another as we sit upright amid the many different types of losses that occur in our lives, such as deaths, injury and illness, divorce, and job loss. During Obon we remember our ancestors, give thanks to all who have supported us in our lives, and entrust ourselves to Sangha for support and healing.

To celebrate Obon, we will be offering a special liturgical service and two ways to make ceremonial lanterns.

Obon Photos Combined

Obon Ceremony
At GBZC on Saturday, August 30th, at 11:15 AM at the end of the regular Saturday morning sit. Family and friends are welcome! If you have made a ceremonial lantern, please bring it to place on the altar.

Making Ceremonial Lanterns - 2 options
As a community: We will gather at GBZC on Thursday, August 28 from 6:00 to 8:30 PM.
Materials and instructions will be provided.

Solo: Materials and instructions will be available at GBZC (beginning on Tuesday evening, August 5th) to take home and do on your own or with family and friends.

Releasing Lanterns
Traditionally in ancient Japan, Obon ceremonial lanterns were illuminated and then set afloat on a river. Today, due to safety and environmental concerns, we encourage you to release your lantern in spirit and enjoy it at home or set it afloat in a way that cares for our environment.

Mark your calendar and don't miss this very special opportunity to be with one another in loss and remembrance of all those that have touched our lives.