Sitting Meditation & Sesshins

If you are new to Zen practice, see For Beginners.


See below for descriptions of introductory, half-day and one-day offerings, as well as longer sesshins.


Sesshin means to collect the heart/mind. We spend 3, 5, or 7 days meditating, eating, and working in silence, devoting every aspect of the day to the realization of the Buddha Way. Sesshin meals are generally served and taken in the traditional oryoki style.

Sesshin always begins with an orientation the evening before at 7:30 pm in the Buddha Hall near the entrance to 300 Page Street. There is also an oryoki instruction and refresher training offered the evening before at 5:00 pm. (If you would like to stay for dinner that evening, dinner is at 6:30 pm; cost is by donation.)

To sign up for a sitting or sesshin, call our toll free number (888.743.9362) or our local number (415.475.9362).

Thursday Meditation, Conversation and Tea

This weekly Thursday sitting is open to all, including those beginning practice or who are unfamiliar with Zen Center forms, as well as those for whom an evening sitting is more convenient. One 35-minute period of sitting meditation in the zendo at 7:30 pm is followed by an optional question-and-answer session with tea upstairs.

Saturday Introductory Afternoon

1:30 - 5 pm
Ideal for those who have attended the Saturday morning meditation instruction and wish to learn more about the details of practice at City Center.

Sunday Beginners' Sittings

9 am - 4:30 pm
This sitting is for new students and those who wish to participate in a gentler schedule.

Saturday One-Day Sittings at City Center

One-day sittings offer traditional Soto Zen all-day meditation practice. We ask those who attend one-day sittings to commit to participating in the complete schedule.


Select Fridays, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
With Urban Temple Dharma Teacher Ryushin Paul Haller

Seven-Day Spring Sesshin 2016, CC 3/19 – 3/26

Saturday, March 19 – Saturday, March 26, 2016
Led by Urban Temple Dharma Teacher Ryushin Paul Haller

Three-Day Sesshin 2016, CC 6/8 – 6/11

Led by Kanzan David Zimmerman and Jisan Tova Green

Seven-Day Rohatsu Sesshin 2016, CC 11/26 – 12/3

Saturday, November 26 – Saturday, December 3, 2016
Led by Abiding Abbot Rinso Ed Sattizahn

Interims at City Center

During the interim break the regular schedule is optional for residents. The zendo (meditation hall) will continue to be open for meditation, staffed by volunteers. Sign up on the volunteer sheet near the zendo or contact the ino if you would like to volunteer to be doan or doorwatch in the morning or evening during the interim. Thank you.