Soto Zen Buddhism International Center

San Francisco
United States

The Soto Zen Buddhism International Center or Sokoji is a place for the community to practice meditation and offers Buddhist services, traditional Japanese ceremonies and events such as Hinamatsuri and Shichigosan, among other activities. Soto Zen Center is widely known with the Japanese American community but everyone is welcome to attend and join their practice.

Tradition & Practice
Kind of Place

Practice and Meditation

Sokoji provides multiple Buddhist ceremonies and activities. They organize monthly memorial services, and annual services, along with several cultural events throughout the year. These services are offered in English and Japanese, and are open for everyone.

Zazen, or sitting meditation is to sit without seeking enlightenment. Within this practice, members sit down and allow everything to be as-it-is. This practice leads to  awakening to the truth of nature and the realization of our innate with peace of mind. Zen practice is to eliminate the sense of separation and find unity with all beings.

  • Zazen Meditation
  • Ceremonies
  • Dharma Talks

The Place

Reverend Hosen Isobe along with Japanese American volunteers, purchased a Jewish synagogue at 1881 Bush Street. The Soto Mission of San Francisco, Sokoji, was founded in December 1934. During World War II the temple closed its doors but re-opened for services in 1948 by Reverend Rien Takahashi.

The construction of the new temple began in 1980, and the interior and exterior were based on Japanese architectural style. The Center has continued to be a place not only limited to the Japanese American community, but for all people coming from different backgrounds to practice their Soto Zen beliefs and Zazen meditation.

Lineage and

Soto Zen is one of the major practices of Zen Buddhism and emphasizes the practice of zazen, or sitting meditation. By learning how to be still, we are able to realize our original nature and carry that experience into daily life. The founder of Soto Zen is Dogen Zenji from Japan and the lineage of teachers trace back to the the 6th Century Chinese Chan/Zen founder Bodhidharma.

Furthermore, teachers of this lineage descend from the historic Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, in India over 2500 years ago.

Contact 415 3467540
1691 Laguna
San Francisco
CA 94115
United States

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Simon Ester

Simon is the founder and designer of Relight. Born and raised in Germany Simon grew up with a passion for human potential and spirituality. Obsessed with the study of human nature, Simon is currently studying as a guest student at universities in San Francisco and Bonn (Germany). Integrating insights from his studies in psychology, philosophy, spirituality and anthropology into creating impactful organizations.

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