Guest Student Stays at Green Gulch

Working the landAt this time, the Green Gulch Guest Student Program is open.

Before applying, please review Green Gulch Farm's current Health and Safety Requirements.

Our Guest Student Program offers short-term residency to those interested in beginning or continuing Zen practice with the support of a community. Guest students participate in the daily life of Green Gulch, which includes one morning and one evening period of zazen (sitting meditation), services (sutra chanting and bowing), morning and afternoon work (frequently of a physical nature), informal study and meals. We also offer zazen instruction, a weekly lecture on Zen practice, and the opportunity for meeting with teachers and practice leaders.

Our daily work routine together on the guest student crew is doing dishes, cleaning up after meals, and other cleaning projects to take care of the community spaces. A couple days per week, you will spend part of the day with the farm or garden crew.

Please see this reading for more information on our work practice: When Work is Practice at Green Gulch.

The cost is $35 per day with a 14-day (two-week) minimum. A $70 non-refundable deposit is due once you have received confirmation of your guest student stay. The first two weeks are considered a trial period, even if you book a longer stay, to make sure it's a good fit on both sides. Guest student stays beyond 14 days are without additional charge.

SFZC has a designated fund to support BIPOC practitioners with guest student stay fees. Please indicate to the Guest Student Manager if this applies to you.

For more information please write the Guest Student Manager at

To Apply

Please complete the online application. Please review the Green Gulch Residential Guidelines (Shingi) as well.

Please note there may be a significant delay in responding to your application due to the volume of inquiries. Thank you for your patience.

San Francisco Zen Center welcomes international visitors in the US on B visas to participate in our various offerings, workshops, and retreats. We also welcome students to participate in our Apprenticeship Program. Because the Apprenticeship Program is vocational, we are able to offer M-1 visas to students across the world. For more details about visas, click here.

Green Gulch Farm student farmersPlanning Your Stay

The guest student program begins late Wednesday afternoon with orientation before dinner. A two-week stay (Wednesday to Wednesday) is requested. Longer stays may be scheduled on a week-to-week basis; for longer term stays please see also our Apprenticeship Programs.

Note: For those interested in applying for a work practice apprenticeship (WPA): The guest student stay can be a time for you and the community to assess whether it's a good fit on both sides. The process for becoming a WPA includes a two week guest student stay, conversations with the head of practice and the director, and finally approval by the Practice Committee. Your continuation or return as a WPA following your guest student stay is not guaranteed. You will typically need to leave after your guest student stay and if you are accepted, you would be invited to return at a time determined by housing availability and work crew assignment.

Booking is done in order of applications received.

In the spirit of maintaining the Buddhist precepts, guest students are asked to refrain from drug or alcohol use and from initiating new sexual relationships during their guest student stay. We also discourage the use of tobacco while in residence.

Please discuss any concerns you may have with the Guest Student Manager before entering the program.

Suggested reading: Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki.

Green Gulch zendo


The Guest Student Program includes complete participation in the schedule. It is requested that any exceptions be communicated to the Guest Student Manager.

Typical Schedule*

4:45 wake-up bell
5:20 am Zazen (sitting meditation)
6:20 Service
6:50 Soji (temple cleaning)
7:10 Breakfast (silent)
8:00 Class/Study Hall
8:40 End Class/Study Hall
8:45 Work Meeting or Work Crew bow-in
12:15 End of work
12:30 Lunch

1:15 Work
3:30 End of Work
6:00 Dinner
7:40 Service
7:50 Zazen (sitting meditation)
8:30 End of Day

Personal/rest day but guest students have the option to join morning zazen and/ or help farm and garden crews during the day if interested

Personal/rest day
No zendo schedule

Regular schedule
except guest student tea at 11am

Sunday Morning Schedule
Regular schedule, until
10:00 Public lecture: Hearing assistance available; see the GGF Calendar for upcoming talks and our Dharma talk archive.
11:00 Q&A with lecturer

*The meditation hall (zendo) is usually open daily for meditation in your free time.

During Practice Periods there are additional scheduled periods of zazen in the evenings.