Watch: Berkeley Zen Center abbot Hozan Alan Senauke gives first talk after heart attack

In his first dharma talk since being hospitalized last year, Hozan Alan Senauke shared his gratitude and insights on the value of practice in difficult times with the Berkeley Zen Center community.

Rod Meade Sperry
12 June 2024
Hozan Alan Senauke. Screenshot via YouTube.

In December 2023, Hozan Alan Senauke, the celebrated dharma teacher, musician, author, and abbot of California’s Berkeley Zen Center suffered cardiac arrest following complications from surgery and was put immediately into the Intensive Care Unit. Now, after all that time, a smiling, appreciative Senauke has appeared among his Zen community to share a dharma talk and some updates on how he’s doing. 

Via Zoom from the post-acute-care facility he’s been at for a couple of months now, Senauke began his dharma talk, titled “Avalokiteshvara’s Thousand Hands & Eyes”: “I want to express gratitude for all the support I’ve received,” he said, which he’s found “incredibly moving — I can just barely stop the flow of tears.” 

Senauke reports he is undertaking physical therapy, that he has reason to expect that his mobility will keep improving, and that he expects to be back among the Berkeley Zen Center community, “theoretically,” by June 18.

Asked by a community member of the value of practice during this difficult episode of Senauke’s life, Senauke replied that practice makes the difference “when you’re tested” as he has been. 

“I feel I have work to do in the world,” Senauke added, “and that I have to look at what my capacity is while I am capable, while my mind is working well…

“I’m used to serving, and doing.”

To keep up with Hozan’s healing journey, you can visit the “Journal” section of his Caring Bridge site

Rod Meade Sperry. Photo by Megumi Yoshida, 2024

Rod Meade Sperry

Rod Meade Sperry is the editor of Buddhadharma, Lion’s Roar’s online source for committed Buddhists, and the book A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation: Practical Advice and Inspiration from Contemporary Buddhist Teachers. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with his partner and their tiny pup, Sid.