I was planning on going to the Berkeley Zen Center in the morning today when, looking through their newsletters and calendar, I realized that they are beginning a three day sesshin at 5:00 AM in the morning. Their normal Saturday zazen/kinhin session followed by a lecture and tea is off this weekend.
The Berkeley Zen Center is just over a mile from my new house and I’ve been wanting to sit with a group at least once a week for a while now. Generally, I sit or do my other practices alone at home. This can be a bit isolating. Since my own temple and teacher are in Ohio, I don’t have a normal option of sitting with them or even of participating directly in classes and weekly practices.
(As an aside, I should be patching holes and painting a bit this weekend to finally get our home temple space set up complete as a clean and new space…which beats using my living room or library, as we have been.)
The Berkeley Zen Center is one of the places founded as a result of Suzuki Roshi. Sojun Mel Weitsman Roshi is the teacher there and has been since it was founded over 20 years ago. He is formerly the co-abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center.
It definitely seems to be the place for me to go given the location, the history, and the long practice background of the teacher. From what I’ve gathered, there is an active community. Since they are busy through Monday evening, I’m going to aim to make it there this coming Wednesday, when people get together for discussion and class along with sitting.
On another somewhat related note in regards to zendos, I just found an article on the zendo that was near my camp at Burning Man this last year. The place is quite distinctive in appearance, being made from recycled materials turned into beams as the pictures below show.
I hadn’t realized that it had been built locally in the Bay Area as it was attached to a larger set of structures, Entheon Village, which was where I attended lectures by Alex Grey and others. This is the kind of thing that I would like to see more of at Burning Man. They maintained a regular daily zazen schedule throughout the week.