Green Practice

City Center Solar Panels on the Roof

San Francisco Zen Center is involved in a continuing exploration and refinement of how the practice of Zen informs and flowers into a concern for how people live their lives. The practices of individuals and communities reveals how their lives are supported by the environments around them, both local and global. From this understanding emerges a concern to tread lightly on the earth and share ideas and practices that may realize the community's and other people’s intention to do the same. This section provides an overview of San Francisco Zen Center's environmental practices and offers access to Zen teachings on environmental issues and to the environmental guidelines that are used within the practice centers.

Video: Celebrating the Living Earth

Wendy Lewis Celebrating the Living Earth


Video: Zen Practice and the Environment

Environmental Practices at Zen Center

City Center brochure (.pdf)
Green Gulch brochure (.pdf)

Environmental Committee

Tassajara Solar PanelsEnvironmental Committee Mission
The mission of the Environmental Committee of San Francisco Zen Center is to help establish consistent policy and guidelines that promote and encourage environmentally friendly practices for all three centers; to share information, practices, resources, and concerns about environmental issues; and to facilitate the organization’s role as a community model for sustainable living.


As Zen practice reveals the questionable assumption that people are separate from the world around them, what steps can they take that challenge and counter that standpoint? As practitioners open to being supported by all things, what actions spring forth to embrace and sustain that which gives life?

Many people meet these questions in their lives and practice. As a forum for these issues and to help facilitate the creation and implementation of actions that express them, San Francisco Zen Center has an Environmental Committee. It has representatives from each of the three practice centers and at least one member of the board of directors. This group meets on a monthly basis to discuss issues of interest and formulate ways of engaging the communities to address them.

One of the roles of the Environmental Committee has been to initiate a series of guidelines that provide clarity, guidance and continuity to people as they move through the various training positions in our centers. These guidelines also provide inspiration for the wider community with practical steps focused on exploring and expressing the relationship with the environment.

Environmental Guidelines

Food purchasing guidelines (.pdf)

Flower purchasing guidelines (.pdf)

Building and maintenance guidelines (.pdf)(by local nonprofit Build It Green, adopted by San Francisco Zen Center)

Composting at Green Gulch Farm