Establishing Practice

The purpose of studying Buddhism is not to study Buddhism, but to study ourselves. - Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind Beginner's Mind

Students who have begun a regular sitting practice and have become somewhat familiar with Buddhism, Zen, and San Francisco Zen Center are encouraged to form relationship with one or more practice leaders, attend longer sittings and continue to take classes, as detailed below. The focus is on City Center and Green Gulch, as they are more generally accessible.

  City Center Green Gulch
Participate in the full weekly morning program, which can include oryoki breakfast with guest bowls. Saturdays

Zazen begins at 6:30 am (plan to arrive 10-15 min before to get seated).


Zazen begins at 9:15 am (plan to arrive 10-15 min before to get seated).

Sit regularly at home or come to scheduled meditation periods in the morning or evenings More Info »  
Join Establishing the Path of Practice [program is not offered at this time due to the pandemic], a one-year non-residential training program designed to help participants develop a sustainable daily practice More Info »  
Meet with a practice leader to discuss your zazen practice City Center Practice Leaders Green Gulch Practice Leaders
Join the community in open meals to meet the sangha Weekday dinners & Saturday lunch Sunday lunch
Become a volunteer City Center Volunteer Program Green Gulch Volunteer Program
Take more classes More Info » More Info »
Do a beginners’ sitting More Info » More Info »
Participate in a one-day sitting More Info » More Info »
Explore bringing practice into all aspects of daily life    
Consider becoming a member of San Francisco Zen Center  

More to explore:


Online Zendo

Sitting meditation (zazen) is available live online Monday through Friday mornings at 5:50 am and 6:30 am, Saturday morning at 6:30 am and 9:25 am, and Monday through Friday evenings at 5:30 pm.

Recorded Study Classes

Audio recordings of classes suitable for those ready to go deeper

Finding a Teacher

Regular contact with one or more of the many practice leaders available at each temple encourages students in both establishing a consistent formal practice and bringing practice into everyday life.


Some top recommendations from among the vast assortment of books about Buddhism, Zen, and practice

The 16 Bodhisattva Precepts

Fundamental guiding principles for Buddhists all over world

Services, Sutras, Texts and Songs

Audio files and documents of many of the services and chants used at our temples, as well as a few songs to share.

Oryoki Instruction

Explore this video library presenting the forms of Oryoki, a formal eating practice that cultivates mindful awareness, as taught by Senior Dharma Teacher EIjun Linda Cutts.