Entering Practice

The practice of Zen mind is beginner's mind. The innocence of the first inquiry—what am I?—is needed throughout Zen practice. The mind of the beginner is empty, free of the habits of the expert, ready to accept, to doubt, and open to all the possibilities. It is the kind of mind which can see things as they are, which step by step and in a flash can realize the original nature of everything. - Shunryu Suzuki; Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

Here are recommendations for those new to Zen practice or new to San Francisco Zen Center, including times for introduction/instruction in zazen, books and classes, and the answers to frequently asked questions. The focus is on what is available at City Center and Green Gulch Farm, due to greater accessibility. 

  City Center Green Gulch
Explore this website for more information For Beginners For Beginners
Attend Introduction to Zazen (general meditation instruction) several times and stay on for lecture and lunch Saturdays Sundays
Attend Zendo Forms instruction after lecture to become familiar with customs particular to attending group meditation in the temple Saturdays  
Participate in an introductory afternoon sitting to learn more about the forms used at San Francisco Zen Center and ask questions More Info » More Info »
Take a class More Info » More Info »

More information to assist newcomers:

Recorded Study Classes

This recommended class series offers listeners an overview of the fundamentals of Buddhism and Zen.


Recommended reading for beginners

Temple Sounds

Audio recordings of familiar sounds heard at our temples

Videos of Suzuki Roshi

Access to a movies showing our founder, who died in 1971

Online Zendo

Sitting meditation is available live online every weekday morning at 6:30 AM.