The San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC) is a spiritual organization that is based on the teachings of Zen Buddhism. The organization was founded in the 1960s in San Francisco, California and has centers and affiliated groups around the world. The SFZC has a number of centers and affiliated groups, including its main center, City Center, in San Francisco, as well as Green Gulch Farm and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.
These centers offer a variety of programs and events, including meditation retreats, workshops, and teacher training programs. The SFZC also has local practice groups that meet regularly to practice Zen Buddhism and other spiritual practices. These groups are typically led by ordained monks or nuns, or by experienced lay practitioners who have completed teacher training programs or have been practicing for many years.
In addition to its centers and practice groups, the SFZC also has an online learning platform, Zen Studies Online, which offers a variety of programs and resources for individuals interested in Zen Buddhism and spiritual development. The SFZC also publishes books and other materials related to its teachings and spiritual development. Overall, the SFZC is a spiritual organization that is based on the teachings of Zen Buddhism and that has centers and affiliated groups around the world, as well as online resources for individuals interested in Zen Buddhism and spiritual development.
Sōtō Zen Buddhism is a Japanese school of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition that emphasizes seated meditation and non-conceptual thinking. Popularized by Dogen in the 11th Century, the Sōtō Zen tradition has since grown to attract people practitioners from across the world. Today, Sōtō Zen represents one of the largest unified Buddhist sect, with over 14,000 temples worldwide. In the US, Sōtō meditation centers can be found in most major metropolitan areas.
Sōtō is distinguished from the other major Zen schools, Rinzai and Obaku, by its focus on just-sitting, or shikan taza. Essentially, this approach emphasizes zazen as the key act of samadhi (enlightenment), as opposed to the other schools, which offer supplementary methods like koans as potential routes to the dissipation of the ego.
The San Francisco Zen Center was founded in 1962 by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, a Japanese Zen teacher who came to the United States in the 1950s. Suzuki Roshi founded the Zen Center as a place for people in the San Francisco Bay Area to practice Zen Buddhism and learn about the teachings and practices of the Zen tradition.
Suzuki Roshi was the Abbott (head teacher) of the Zen Center until his death in 1971. He was succeeded by Richard Baker Roshi, who served as Abbott until 1984. Baker Roshi was succeeded by Tenshin Reb Anderson, who served as Abbott until 1995, when he was succeeded by Norman Fischer. Fischer served as Abbott until 2000, when he was succeeded by Myogen Steve Stücky, who served until 2014. The current Abbott of the Zen Center is Tetsugen Bernie Glassman.
The Zen Center is part of the Soto Zen tradition, which traces its lineage back to the Chinese monk Dogen Zenji, who founded the Soto school of Zen in Japan in the 13th century. The Soto Zen tradition emphasizes the practice of zazen (sitting meditation) as the primary means of realizing enlightenment, and places a strong emphasis on the integration of Zen practice into everyday life.
The San Francisco Zen Center is a Zen Buddhist organization with three main practice centers in the San Francisco Bay Area:
City Center, located in San Francisco on Page St, is the main temple of the Zen Center and is home to the Abbott, the head teacher of the Zen Center. It offers daily meditation sessions, classes, workshops, and retreats.
Green Gulch Farm is a residential retreat center located in Marin County, north of San Francisco. It is set on a beautiful piece of land by the ocean and offers a variety of retreats, workshops, and classes, as well as a working organic farm that provides produce for the community.
Tassajara is the Zen Center's remote retreat center, located in the Ventana Wilderness of the Los Padres National Forest, about three hours southeast of San Francisco. It is a place of deep solitude and natural beauty, and is only accessible by foot or by a private road. Tassajara offers retreats and training in the Zen arts, such as zazen (sitting meditation), kinhin (walking meditation), and teisho (dharma talks).
All three centers are guided by the principles of Zen Buddhism and offer a range of programs and practices to support the spiritual development of practitioners. The Zen Center is also affiliated with the San Francisco Zen Hospice Project, a pioneering program that integrates Zen teachings and practices with hospice care.
Below you will find the places around the world, that practice this path.