Mission and Vision

San Francisco Zen Center Mission Statement

The purpose of San Francisco Zen Center is to express, make accessible, and embody the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha.

These ideals are based on the example of Shakyamuni Buddha and guided by the teachings and lineage of the Soto Zen school as conveyed by the founder, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, and other Buddhist teachers.

San Francisco Zen Center's central value is to express the non-duality of practice and awakening through the practice of Zen and the sixteen bodhisattva precepts, acknowledging and valuing equally the expression of the practice in formal settings and in daily life, thus affirming both lay and monastic practice as expressions of the bodhisattva way.

Vision and Guiding Principles

Continuing Suzuki Roshi’s Way

We will ensure the strength and vitality of the Zen Center’s core Zen practice offerings, maintaining our ability to train and establish Zen teachers by continually enhancing our ability to provide a supportive and effective residential training environment. In this way we will embody and express the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha and carry on Suzuki Roshi’s vision of Zen practice, for the benefit of all beings.

Creating Access, Connection, and Opportunity

Over the course of the coming years we will build on our nearly 50 years of Buddhist teachings by responding to the needs of an increasingly volatile, uncertain, and complex world by developing Zen programs and extending our ability to be a quiet, yet powerful force for a better world. We will continue to find new ways to offer Zen practice to an ever-widening circle of practitioners, providing improved access, opportunity, connection and support.

Committing to Long-Term Sustainability 

To continue to offer the practice of Zen Buddhism and to extend access to these teachings, creating practice opportunities for future generations, will require that we provide for Zen Center’s long-term facilities, infrastructure, and systems needs in ways that are sustainable, efficient, and in alignment with our core values. As stewards of three practice centers and a large residential practice community, we will need to take consistently practical, appropriate and far-sighted steps to secure the long-term financial well-being and stability of the organization.

GOAL #1. Clarify Zen Center’s Teacher Training Program

GOAL #2. Create an Inclusive, Effective, Diverse and Sustainable Employee and Residential Environment

GOAL #3. Enhance our Ability to Provide Zen Buddhist Practice to a Wider Audience of Practitioners

GOAL #4. Secure Long-Term Financial Well-Being of the Organization

GOAL #5. Steward our Land, Buildings, Facility Infrastructure, and IT Systems in harmony with the earth and our environmental values.