Member Resources

Welcome to the Member Resource Page. We’re glad you are here. Please see below for news and events specific to members, and please let us know if you have any questions:


Do You Want to Start a Book Club?

Are you interested in starting a dharma book club with other members in your region? This is a wonderful way to study together. Let us know if you’d be willing to host a monthly gathering or coordinate a Google Hangout for other members in your area. Book Clubs are a lovely way to meet your dharma neighbors, grow your sangha, and build local community. Order a book from the SFZC bookstore or use your Wisdom Publications membership discount to get started. [As a member of SFZC you are now eligible to receive 10% off all purchases at Just enter the discount code SFMC05. This code is valid through December 2015. Check back here for a new one after that date.]

Wisdom suggests one of the following books:
The Way of Tenderness, by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel
Zen: The Authentic Gate, by Koun Yamada or
Inside the Grass Hut, by Taigen Dan Leighton

Members’ Activities, 2015

Members Garden Day
Please join us for an afternoon of gardening on Saturday, August 29th! If you will be near San Francisco, we'll be hosting an Urban Garden Day at City Center following the dharma talk. Drop by before or after lunch, but do be sure to RSVP so that we bake enough cookies for the day. We will work until 4pm and focus on the sidewalk gardens along Page Street and Laguna. We plan to loosen the soil, amend the beds, install new plants for fall, and prepare the downward slope beds for the rains that El Nino will hopefully bring this winter.

A brief history of the sidewalk gardens at City Center:

Members who will not be in San Francisco on August 29th, please consider hosting a community garden day for members in your area. We'll share garden day photos in December's newsletter.

Also, there are several Watershed Work Party dates remaining this year at Green Gulch: October 11th, November 15th, and December 13th.

Membership Meeting

The annual membership meeting will be hosted on October 23rd in the conference center at City Center. We will offer video/teleconference this year for all members. Feel free to join us in person or via your computer. Please RSVP if you plan to stay for dinner at City Center:

Member Appreciation

Sejiki is a long-standing tradition at San Francisco Zen Center, and many members already plan well in advance to join us at City Center for the Sejiki ceremony followed by our Harvest Meal. Please bring your kids, dress up! and join the kids from our neighbors at Clara House for Trick or Treating throughout Zen Center following dinner. Membership will host an appreciation table and be scooping ice cream with your favorite sprinkles in the courtyard. RSVP, please, by emailing

The Sejiki ceremony is the traditional Japanese Zen Buddhist ceremony for the spirits of departed ones. This powerful ceremony summons forth all restless spirits and pacifies agitation and violence within and without. It includes a reading of the names of close friends and family members who have died. If you would like to have a name included, please let the front office know one week prior to the ceremony. More information

Community Outreach

A group of Zen Center volunteers preparing to serve breakfast to the homeless at St. Boniface one morning in July.

"First of all, a sincere—our practice—sincere practice—our sincere practice is not, you know, practice just for himself. This is not so difficult to understand. Bodhisattva practice is not just to help himself, but to help others. We put more stress to help others. That is bodhisattva practice."

—Suzuki Roshi: May 2nd, 1970 Dharma Talk

From the identifiable beginnings of Zen, working together has been an integral part of our practice. Work is the way we bring this practice out of the meditation hall and into the world. It is one of the most important ways in which practitioners come together and begin to know one another intimately, forging the Sangha (community), which is one of Buddhism’s Three Treasures.

We invite you to engage in our Community Outreach program if you live near San Francisco or contact membership if you would like to start a similar program with members in your area! If you already have a community outreach practice, please consider sending us stories and pictures. Sharing our experiences is a great way for members to support one another’s community service practices. Below are a few upcoming City Center volunteer opportunities:
November 26th: Stay tuned for Thanksgiving volunteer opportunities.

December 19th: For many years, Zen Center has hosted a holiday party for the children of Clara House, which provides shelter and services for families in transition. We will be looking for volunteers to provide presents for the children and help with the party itself. Trimming the tree, lighting the candles for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, hearing the story of the Buddha’s Enlightenment, playing games, decorating cookies….it’s always a wonderful time for the children, their parents, and us!

January 17th and February 21st: SF Interfaith Council provides housing and meals for homeless San Franciscans during the winter months. Larger congregations which have the space offer overnight shelter.

Smaller groups, such as Zen Center, provide meals. As in past years, we will be involved in cooking and serving dinners as part of this program. Closer to the dates, we will be inviting our members to volunteer, either with the cooking, the serving, or both.

2015 Election of Board Officers

For the second year in a row, SFZC will utilize an online ballot system to reduce our environmental impact and make the process quick and easy. You will receive your ballot instructions by email unless you have opted out, so please keep us up to date on your current email address by emailing if you’ve changed email accounts. If you have opted out of email, you will receive a ballot by mail. Ballots will be sent in early October for a November 1 finish. Visit the Sangha News page this fall for more information about the candidates.

2016 Member Activities

We are planning to partner with Sierra Club and Surfrider in April 2016 to organize regional Earth Day member community work days.

We’re also looking forward to hosting an Evening at the Asian for all members in the Bay Area next summer. Please let us know if you’d like to plan a member museum outing in your area.