New Year’s Eve 2019-2020

black mountain sunset

Black Mountain at sunset, by Karolyn Cooper

Moment after moment we should renew our life, we should not stick to old ideas of what life is, or what our way of life is. Especially at the end of the year we should completely renew our feelings and completely clean even our cars. If we always stick to old ideas and always repeat the same thing over and over again, then we are confined in our old way of life. Some excitement or some occasion is necessary to encourage us along.” – Suzuki Roshi

As the year winds down, join us in our year-end ceremony of traditional Soto Zen practices:

  • Temple cleaning
  • Toshikoshi noodles (symbolizing “year bridging”)
  • Creating an intention to carry with you into 2020
  • Two periods of sitting and walking zazen
  • Ringing in the New Year with 108 bells (to ward off the 108 delusions of mind!)

8:00 pm – Bow-in together and work circle
9:00 – Vegetarian “year-bridging” noodles
9:45 – Sitting together around the table to write down our intention for the coming year
10:30 – Han begins for zazen
10:40 – Zazen
11:10 – Kinhin
11:25 – Zazen with 108 bells
12:00 – Year end, hugs, and celebration

Make this New Year’s Eve a joyful occasion of rededicating ourselves to practice, wisdom and compassion for all!

Come sit in stillness and presence amidst the raucous energy of the city. Program begins at 8 pm and lasts until after midnight.

Please let us know if you’re coming so we know how many people to plan for; email us here.
Suggested donation: £5 (No one turned away for lack of funds)

May all beings live with the joy of an open heart!

Congratulations to New Priest Myles Cowherd


Myles and Paul in the San Francisco Zen Centre courtyard after the ceremony. Photo by Elliot Charney

Great congratulations to our friend and dharma brother Myles Cowherd, who was ordained as a priest on September 14 in San Francisco Zen Centre by our teacher Paul Haller. Myles lives in San Francisco Zen Centre but travelled to Benburb in May 2017 to sit sesshin with us and do jukai with a group of Paul’s other students. We hope he will visit again soon to show us his new robes. In the meantime, please enjoy these photos.


Paul ritually shaves Myles’s head during the ceremony, while Abbot Ed Sattizahn looks on. Photo by Elliot Charney


Myles and Paul share a laugh. Photo by Elliot Charney

myles jukai

Myles with Paul and the others taking the precepts at Benburb in May 2017. Photo by Shundo David Haye