March 2020 Intensive: Zen and Work (commuter option), CC 3/3 – 3/28

Practice Center
Date / Time
Mar 3, 2020 / 6:00am - Mar 28, 2020 / 6:00pm
Event Type
Practice Periods

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 Thursday class on-site or view later online; participate in home study and practice assignments as offered; attend the weekly Tuesday tea and dharma discussion; join the dokusan or practice discussion rotation; and attend ceremonies, daily zazen as practicable, and listen to Dharma talks on-site or online.

Zen and Work: How Zen orientation to work can support clarity, purpose, and happiness in our daily activities

Led by Marc Lesser and Zesho Susan O'Connell
March 3 – March 28

Application deadline is February 25

Over 750 years ago Zen Master Eihei Dogen wrote about the importance of being awake and aware in our work. This three-week intensive will focus on his teachings, and how a life that integrates Zen practice and work practice helps to create clarity and joy in our daily activities.

As one of the developers of Search inside Yourself, a mindfulness program he helped create inside of Google, and the former CEO of the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, Marc has been a leader in teaching “mindful work.” He is a Senior Zen Teacher and the author of four books including Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader: Lessons From Google and a Zen Monastery Kitchen. Work practice as Zen practice has been one of Marc's passions for the past 25 years.

Susan O’Connell was an actor and a film producer and entrepreneur for 25 years before moving to SFZC. Since that time she has held many leadership positions at San Francisco Zen Center, and deeply believes that Zen practice is meant to be continuous, and that “work practice” is perhaps one of the strongest teachers.

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

About the March 2020 Intensive – Zen and Work
This is a traditional intensive training period common in the schools of Buddhism. Participants can engage in this training period in one of three ways: as a resident, as a commuter, and online.

This training 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 teachers, and weekly sangha discussions. Weekly events include classes, ceremonies, dharma talks, and Tuesday afternoon teas with the leaders of the intensive. During the three weeks students will have the opportunity to meet individually with the leaders and/or other practice leaders.

Susan and Marc will also teach a class on the theme of the intensive, Zen and Work: How a Zen orientation to work can support clarity, purpose, and happiness in our daily activities. It will meet three Thursday evenings, March 5, 12, 19, 7:30 – 9 pm.

Teas are on Tuesdays, 5:30 – 6:30 pm, March 10 and 17. The intensive concludes with a three-day sesshin, beginning the evening of Wednesday, March 25 and ending on Saturday, March 28.

Three ways to participate in the Intensive

Residential Options

  • Work Practice Apprentice (WPA): For those who want to live and work full-time in the temple.
  • Limited Resident: For those who want to live in the temple but will not participate in the daily work schedule.

Commuter Option: For those who live off-site but can attend all or part of the practice schedule on-site.

Online Option: For those whose schedule or location doesn’t allow for regular on-site attendance of temple events.

The commuter option includes:

Fee Information

Commuter Participation Fee: $85 general; $76 current SFZC members; $68 limited income.*

*The three-day sesshin to close the Intensive is available at an additional cost.

Registration Information

Commuter Application Process:

  1. Download the Commuter participation intensive application Word / PDF
  2. Email your completed application to
  3. Pay your participation fee here:

Register Online

Inquiries and comments may be directed to