Description of Organization:
In 1967, Shunryu Suzuki invited his student Sojun Mel Weitsman to find a place to sit zazen with people in Berkeley. Later the doors opened for daily morning and afternoon mediation. The sangha grew, and eventually opened a new property that included a zendo, a community room, kitchen, and residences for the nine students who live on the property. Berkeley Zen Center (BZC) continues to offer multiple daily mediation periods. The practice includes priests, lay students and participants from around the country and across the world, including an affiliate sangha in Germany and an Ambedkar group of Buddhists in India who regularly attend lectures and zazen periods. BZC offers both hybrid periods (in-person and online) and online meditation 2 – 3 times daily, in addition to regularly scheduled sessions, classes, and volunteer activities in the community.
In 2022, a grant in the amount of $10,000 was awarded to support the new program: “Many Communities One Sangha”, a ‘community of practice program’. After the death of George Floyd, (BZC) began a process to address racism in its many forms. Over a two-year period in collaboration with various groups and individuals, the curriculum: “Many Communities One Sangha” was developed. The curriculum includes didactic videos, reading, and a discussion prompt with facilitation guidelines for small groups of 8 – 10 people to study together with each group meeting every other month. The entire group will meet monthly for a video/discussion of the curriculum to explore vision, goals, and concerns. Together with experiential learning, the program will offer practical, hands-on skill development. Fifty people are projected to participate over a two-year period.