Rochester Zen Center

September 30, 2015

Bodhidharma Ceremony Tomorrow Night

Just a reminder that there won’t be dokusan tomorrow night, Thursday, October 1. Instead, we’ll sit for two rounds followed by our annual ceremony for the founder of the Zen school.

Term Intensive

Our fall TI begins on the Thursday after sesshin (October 15). This is an excellent and proven way to harness the support of others to step up your daily sitting and get a solid start on whatever new (good) habits you choose to work on.

Sangha Hike

The Sangha Engagement Committee is hosting an autumn outing to Mendon Ponds, Sunday October 18. We’ll take a leisurely hike from the Nature Center, around Quaker Pond and back (less than 2 hours). We’ll depart from the Center around 11:15 am, following brunch. If you have questions or want to meet at the trailhead, contact Kathy Collina @ 585-775-7165. We hope you can join us!

September 24, 2015

Esther Gokhale Zazen Posture Clinic

Esther Gokhale, the author of the excellent book 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back, will be in Rochester to lead clinics on posture and body mechanics both this weekend and next. She has offered to lead a free session, related specifically to zazen posture, tomorrow morning (Friday, September 25) in the Arnold Park zendo from 9 to 11. Call and let us know if you’d like to come.

Calendar Notes

Both the daisan scheduled for Friday evening, September 25, and the dokusan scheduled for this Saturday morning, September 26, are cancelled.

Flu-shot Clinic

Saturday morning, September 26, from 11 am to noon, we’ll have a flu-shot clinic in the dining room at the Center. Bring your health insurance card or $40, and you can do your part to avoid getting (and then spreading) the flu this winter.

Sangha Dinner and Post-Dinner Concert

Just a reminder that we’ll have a Sangha dinner this Saturday evening. Here are the details from the e-mail two weeks ago:

Please join the Rochester Zen Center community on Saturday, September 26th for a vegetarian dinner.

We will start cooking at 5 pm and will begin eating around 6 pm. Participants may arrive any time before 6 to help cook or just eat. After dinner we will clean the kitchen.

The menu will consist of rice, lentils, and a lightly seasoned salad.

If you plan on attending, please e-mail Devin Wiesner at The dinner is free.

After dinner, everyone’s invited to attend a free performance by the Eastman Philharmonia orchestra at the Eastman Theatre. The concert begins at 8:00 and includes the overture to Weber’s opera Der Freischütz, Mozart’s concert aria “Vorrei spiegarvi, O Dio,” and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2. Information about the concert is posted on the Eastman School of Music website here.

All-day Sitting

We have an all-day sitting scheduled this Sunday, September 27, with Roshi’s teisho during the usual block of sitting from 8:30 to 10:30. You’re welcome to come any of the four blocks of sitting or for all of them. Here’s a full outline of the day:

6:15 am        Zazen

7:30             Breakfast (Center will provide)

8:30             Zazen and Teisho

10:30           Brunch in the dining room

11:00           Zazen

12:50 pm      Lunch break (bring your own)

1:30-3:00     Zazen

We’ll also have a Sangha meeting during the brunch.

Bodhidharma’s Death Day

On Thursday, October 1, Roshi won’t give dokusan, and instead we’ll have two rounds of sitting followed by the annual ceremony that commemorates the death of Bodhidharma, the Indian monk who travelled by sea to China and founded the Zen school of Buddhism. The “Western barbarian” shows up on the zendo altar just once a year, so come meet him!

September 17, 2015

No Dokusan Tonight, Thursday, September 17

Just a reminder that Roshi is in Madison, giving a two-day sesshin, so there won’t be dokusan tonight or teisho on Sunday. Roshi will be back and offer dokusan on Monday evening.

Local Sangha Directories

About once a year, we print up a booklet with a list of local Sangha members and their addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses. The latest issue is hot off the press, with an eye-catching yellow cover. If you’d like one, you can pick yours up at the Center, in the Link.

While you’re at it, we have a stack of quarterly calendars as well, so take one if you’d like hard copy.

Caring for I-490

We’ll be setting out tomorrow (Friday, September 18) for “our” section of Interstate 490, leaving from the Center around 10:15, picking up all the roadside trash we can, and returning for lunch at 12:30. If you’d like to join in, give us a call or show up by 10.

Son of Suddhodana

From the imaginative minds of co-writers Ryan Barclay and Karsten Brooks – alongside visual artist Cordell Cordaro, who provides live painting on stage – comes a musical interpretation of Buddha’s story. Beginning with his renunciation, following his struggles, and resolving with his enlightenment, this story is told through an eclectic mix of world percussion, electronic music and spoken word. (A link to the poster for the show is here.)

Ticket Price: $10.00

Venue: MuCCC Theatre (142 Atlantic Avenue by University Avenue)

Ages: All Ages

Friday, September 18th, 2015

10pm Showtime 

Order tickets at:

A portion of the proceeds are donated to the Rochester Zen Center

Youth Sunday

This Sunday is our first Youth Group meeting for the fall. Any Sangha members with children, of any age, are welcome to bring them to the group. We will meet at 9:20 by the 5 Arnold Park entrance. We’ll do a little chanting, play games, and make crafts. Please email Cat to let us know you are coming or if you have any more questions. (

Conversation on Race

As mentioned last week, the Committee on Seeing through Racism will be hosting a Conversation on Race in the Buddha Hall this Sunday, September 20, from 4 to 6 pm. Here’s a link to information or contact Jim Thompson ( to learn more.

Office Space for Rent

Center member, Dale Goldstein, has part-time office space available. Here’s a link to details on Craigslist.

September 10, 2015

Conversation on Race

The Seeing Through Racism Group is organizing a “Conversation on Race” to be held in the Buddha Hall on Sunday, September 20, from 4 to 6 pm. A link to the poster is here, and Jim Thompson has written a bit more about the program:

Initially, the idea behind bringing a “Conversation on Race” to the Zen Center was that it would help our largely monochromatic Sangha to “see life through a larger lens” than before. However, to be most effective, a “Conversation” should be a racially diverse gathering; thus we decided to expand our closed group and reach out to our neighbors throughout the area. In this way, a Conversation could help integrate the Sangha into the larger community. Rochester is one of the most segregated cities in the United States – with the fifth highest poverty rate – so a “Conversation” could help tune our ears to the cries of those suffering around us. A third benefit could come from this: Our neighbors would get to see us, to work with us, and to remove some of the mystique that surely is attached to the Zen Center, as we worked together to remove the barriers between us.

Usually we have 10-30 people at these Conversations, which are usually held in public libraries. We are advertising all around and frankly have little idea how many folks will show up. But even with a large group, a lot of our conversations are done in small groups of two to five.

Our Sangha is filled with people dedicated to the noble task of walking the Way. Still, we think there are many White people even in our Sangha who feel that race is a non-issue, or is an artificial issue. Especially if you feel that way, we invite you to experience this simple, safe, two-hour conversation.

Sangha Dinner

Please join the Rochester Zen Center community on Saturday, September 26th for a vegetarian dinner.

We will start cooking at 5 pm and will begin eating around 6 pm. Participants may arrive any time before 6 to help cook or just eat. After dinner we will clean the kitchen.

The menu will consist of rice, lentils, and a lightly seasoned salad.

If you plan on attending, please e-mail Devin Wiesner at The dinner is free.

Abbot’s Fund Fundraiser: George Eastman House Photo Finish 5K

The Special Events Committee is still seeking Sangha members to participate in the George Eastman House Photo Finish 5K run/walk on Saturday, October 3, at 8:00 am. Our goal is to raise $1,000 for the Abbot’s Fund, which provides financial assistance to those who can’t afford to attend sesshin or enroll in training. If you’re interested in running/walking with the RZC team, please email Donna Kowal at as soon as possible.

Another way to participate is to make a donation of any amount in support of the Abbot’s Fund. You can donate online at or in person at the Center (or by snail mail). If you choose the latter method, please include a note with your check to indicate that your donation is intended to make a contribution to the 5K fundraiser.

Rooms for Rent:

One single & one double. Rooms are presently furnished but can be unfurnished if preferred. Located in the Neighborhood of the Arts, the house is within walking distance of many establishments, including the Zen Center, the Auditorium Theater, and an array of coffee shops, cafés, restaurants, and the Little Theatre.

For more information, e-mail Gretchen Targee (, putting “room for rent” in the subject box.

August 25, 2015

September 2-day Sesshin

During the upcoming break, there’s a Thursday, September 3, deadline for the 2-day sesshin that will begin Friday evening, September 11, and be led by Wayman Kubicka. Our webmaster will be in Germany on the deadline, but, assuming the internet stretches that far, we’ll send decisions out on Friday the 4th.

Minutes of Board of Trustees Meeting and Annual Meeting

Minutes of the May 16-17 meeting of the Center’s Board of Trustees and of the May 23 Annual Meeting of Members are now posted on the Center’s website here. (These draft minutes are subject to revision and approval by the Trustees.) (Documents such as the Center’s Certificate of Incorporation, By-laws, and Ethical Guidelines are also posted on the Center’s website. They can be accessed by clicking this link: RZC Policies and By-laws.)

George Eastman House Photo Finish 5K: How to Join the RZC Team

The Special Events Committee is coordinating an RZC team for the George Eastman House Photo Finish 5K run/walk on Saturday, October 3, at 8:00 am. Sangha member Axel Kairies will be serving as the team captain. For an overview of the event, see If you’d like to participate, you’ll need to register for the event and the RZC fundraiser (see the instructions below). Our goal is to raise $1,000 for the Abbot’s Fund, a discretionary fund used by Roshi to provide financial assistance to those who could not otherwise attend a sesshin or training program. Of course, if you’re not able to participate in the run/walk, you’re welcome to make a donation to our campaign on the fundraiser website:

To join the RZC team, first, you must register for the run/walk here: Next, in order to join the RZC team fundraiser, go to the CrowdRise website and select the Rochester Zen Center: Upon choosing “select,” you will be prompted to create an account and join our team. Once you’re a member, you can invite friends and family to make a contribution to your campaign in support of the Abbot’s Fund via e-mail, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. We’ll provide team members with additional information about the run/walk next month. If you have any questions, e-mail Donna Kowal at

August 21, 2015

All-day Sitting, Sunday, August 23

In addition to the usual Sunday sitting and teisho that starts in the morning at 8:30, there are three other scheduled blocks of zazen and kinhin.  You’re welcome to come for any or all of those four blocks.  Times and details are here.

A Response to the Recent Shooting in Rochester

This Sunday the Buddhist Peace Fellowship will be doing zazen in Aberdeen Square, a park very close to the site of Wednesday night’s drive by shooting on Genesee Street that killed three people and injured four others. Sitting will start at 7 pm, end around 8, followed by a short discussion about ways to help in efforts already underway to uplift that community. Please bring cushions, blankets, whatever you need to sit on.

Aberdeen Square Park is on the corner of Post Avenue and Aberdeen Street. For directions or info call Alex Comardo (441-2611) or email

Seeing Through Racism Committee

The committee will meet this Saturday, August 22, at 7 pm in Roshi’s quarters.  We’ll follow up on planning a “Conversation on Race”.

End-of-Summer Break

Tuesday evening, August 25, is our last formal sitting before the annual two-week break that ends our summer. Some staff will be here holding down the fort, and members are welcome to stop by anytime during the break to sit in the zendo or use the library. We resume on Wednesday, September 9, with early-morning zazen and dokusan.

Submissions to Zen Bow:Adapting to Change”

The deadline for submissions to the upcoming edition of Zen Bow, entitled “Adapting to Change,” has been extended.  If you have something you’d like to contribute (articles or images), you now have until September 15 to fire it off to Donna Kowal and Brenda Reeb (the editors) at Here are details:

While Zen practice and day-to-day conditions are not two, they can sometimes feel like they are, especially when we find ourselves struggling to adapt to new circumstances or balance demanding responsibilities. Your mother becomes ill, you’re promoted to a managerial position, you commit to a couple of years of therapy, you decide to train for a marathon, you fall in love, you have children, you lose your job – these are a few examples of life events or circumstances that have the potential to throw us off-kilter. This issue will explore how Zen practitioners balance practice with life events.

Flu-Vaccination Clinic at the Center

As we did last year, the Center will host a flu clinic, this year on a Saturday, September 26, from 11 to noon.  There’s information here, including a list of accepted insurance plans.

Victoria Korth,

A long-time Center member, would like to announce that she’s published a book of poems, entitled Cord Color, available at Finishing Line Press. It is a chapbook, about 30 pages.  And here’s a link.

August 12, 2015

Founder’s Day

This Sunday, August 16, will be our annual commemoration of Roshi Philip Kapleau, founder of the Rochester Zen Center. The schedule will be much the same as other Sundays – sitting, teisho, and brunch at the usual time – but with a couple of nods, or bows, to our founder.

Sesshin Dates for 2016

Dates for most of the sesshins scheduled for next year are posted on the website here. For various reasons, including the logistics of our 50th anniversary celebration, we won’t have a June sesshin in 2016.

Zen Center Team Participation in the George Eastman House PhotoFinish 5K

The Special Events Committee will be registering an RZC team for the annual 5K run/walk hosted by the George Eastman House. This year the race will take place on Saturday, October 3. If you won’t be attending the October sesshin, please consider joining us! This community run/walk is unique in that it allows non-profits to raise funds for themselves. So we’ll be raising funds to support the Center. Details on how to join the RZC team will be shared in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can take advantage of the $25 “early-bird” pre-registration rate by signing up at After August 23, the registration fee increases to $30.

2016 Public Market Calendar

Zen Center member Margaret Miyake has created a 2016 calendar of the Rochester Public Market. Titled “ABCs at the Public Market: from A to Z and More,” the calendar features the seasons’ changes in the market environment as well as produce and products sold throughout the year. The price is one for $13 or three for $35. Margaret will deliver them to the Center for the buyer to pick up, or other arrangements can be made. If you’re interested in purchasing a calendar, please contact Margaret at Here’s a link to the cover page.

Re-forming EarthVigil

EarthVigil last acted in stellar conjunction with the People’s Climate March, in New York City last September, sitting steadily for most of two days in Central Park, along the beginning of the parade route.

Roshi and a few of the crew will meet Wednesday, August 19, in Roshi’s quarters at the Zen Center, from 5:00 to 6:00 PM. We will begin forming a steering committee and begin developing goals, strategy and tactics. If you have interest and time to dedicate to this urgent matter of climate change, please join us!

August 4, 2015

Dokusan and Daisan Re-jiggering

With participants for the annual meeting of the American Zen Teachers’ Association arriving at Chapin Mill this Wednesday, Roshi will not be giving dokusan that morning. Instead, he’ll give it this evening (Tuesday, August 4), and that will be the last dokusan of the week. Otherwise the schedule tonight will follow the usual Tuesday format, with three 25-minute rounds (and group instruction), followed by chanting. The only change is dokusan rather than daisan (private instruction).

The daisan ordinarily scheduled for Tuesday evening will be offered (by John Pulleyn) this Thursday evening instead. The Friday evening daisan offered by Eryl Kubicka will be as usual this week.

The usual schedule of dokusan and daisan will resume next week with Monday evening’s dokusan.

Coming-to-the-Path Talk and Sangha Meeting This Sunday

Rick Smith will be giving a coming-to-the-path talk this Sunday, August 9, following the usual Sunday morning sitting. The scheduled Sangha meeting will follow Rick’s talk.