Winter 2018 Practice Period at City Center: Commuter Option

Commuter Participation

Commuter participation is designed for those who live off-site and commit to a level of participation for on-site events that works for their schedule. It is suggested that commuters set up a meditation space at home and commit to a regular sitting schedule; attend the Tuesday class on-site or view later online; participate in home study and practice assignments as offered; join the dokusan or practice discussion rotation; and attend Dharma talks on-site or online.

Deepening Practice through the Six Perfections

Led by Tenzen David Zimmerman, Kyoshin Wendy Lewis, and Jisan Tova Green
January 24 – March 24, 2018
Applications for commuters due January 22

Participants can engage in the practice period in one of three ways:

About the Winter 2018 Practice Period

A Practice Period is a traditional intensive training period common in the schools of Buddhism and is six to twelve weeks in length. There are three practice periods offered onsite each year at our City Center temple—Winter, Spring, and Fall.

The focus of this nine-week practice period is the six perfections or paramitas, which are essential guides for Zen and Mahayana Buddhist practice. These virtues or ideals of human character—generosity, morality, tolerance, energy, meditation, and wisdom—serve as a basis for spiritual training. When cultivated, they strengthen practice and guide practitioners towards awakening. It is said that Bodhisattvas—those whose concern is the ultimate happiness of all living beings—are models of “enlightened beings” whose practice of the six perfections is highly accomplished. The perfections provide concrete guidance for developing character toward living our lives through deepened awareness and responsiveness. They provide an ethical context that focuses on daily life while offering clear purpose and direction.

Through readings, dharma talks, and discussions, as well as taking up active practices related to these areas, we will explore the meaning and expression of this teaching and how it may be applied to current personal and cultural concerns. The primary text for the practice period will be The Six Perfections: Buddhism and the Cultivation of Character by Dale Wright.

This Winter Practice Period is a chance to develop and deepen your practice together with others in a supportive environment and through activities including daily sitting, study, practice discussion with the teachers, and weekly sangha discussions. Weekly events include an oryoki meal, classes, ceremonies, dharma talks, and Wednesday afternoon teas with the practice period leaders. During the nine weeks students will have the opportunity to meet individually with the practice period leaders and/or other practice leaders.

Practice period tea is scheduled every Wednesday, 5:30 – 6:30 pm, beginning Wednesday, January 31, and ending Wednesday, March 14.

There will be two one-day sittings, on January 27 and February 24. The practice period concludes with a seven-day sesshin, March 18 – 24. All events other than the Practice Period Tea must be registered for and paid for separately.

As part of the practice period, Wendy Lewis and David Zimmerman will teach a seven-week class, Experience & Investigation: Studying the Six Paramitas, on Tuesdays, 7:30 – 9 pm, January 30 – March 13. Tova Green will teach a separate class, Bringing Down the Walls that Separate Us: Practicing with the Precepts, on Mondays, 7:30 – 9 pm, January 29 – March 12 (registration and payment for Tova’s class is not included in the practice period fee).

The commuter option includes:

  • The Tuesday on-site practice period class, Experience & Investigation: Studying the Six Paramitas.
  • Access to the Tuesday class web page which contains videos of each class.
  • Weekly Wednesday practice period tea and dharma discussion.
  • An invitation to join the dokusan or practice discussion schedule.
  • All temple Dharma talks, ceremonies, and daily zazen periods.

*The one day sittings, oryoki meals, and sesshin are available at an additional cost.

Commuter Participation Fee: $169 general; $152 current members; $135 limited income.

Commuter Practice Period Application Process:
  1. Download the Commuter participation practice period application [Word]/[PDF].
  2. Email your completed application to
  3. Pay your participation fee by phoning the SFZC Reservations Office at 888.743.9362 or 415.475.9362. Or fill out this online form to have the Reservations Office contact you by phone or email to assist your registration.

Inquiries and comments may be directed to