San Francisco Zen Center is a Soto Zen community where the offerings of zazen, study and work practice are available to a diverse population of students, visitors, lay people, priests, and monks. Our practice flows from the insight that all beings are Buddha, and that sitting in meditation is itself the realization of Buddha nature, or enlightenment.
The City Center Library and Reading Room is currently in need of coverage on Tuesdays, 1:30 – 7 pm. Please consider assisting us in keeping the library and sitting space accessible for residents and other members/visitors for this one full afternoon into the evening.
Photo by Annette Lorenzo
The preferred volunteer shift would cover 2 to 3 hours. Training will be provided. Minimal tech experience required.
Contact the City Center reference librarian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your interest in San Francisco Zen Center and in helping us in this way.
Sunday, June 23, 1 – 5 pm
Led by Wendy Johnson and Chris Fortin
Please gather with us at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center as we set out together on a three-mile meditative walk in honor of the living Earth.
In these times of climate challenge, we will make our way in silence and awareness along the Marin Coastal Headlands pausing to offer prayers, chanting, and meditation for the well being of the Earth. Our afternoon will conclude with tea in the heart of the organic farm fields of Green Gulch.
This is a free, drop-in event. Participants will gather at 1:00 pm by the bell tower on the main lawn of Green Gulch.
On Saturday, April 27, at Beginners Mind Temple / City Center, three initiates received the precepts in a Jukai Ceremony.
Anshin Rosalie Curtis, Judith Rubin (Ju Yu Dai An / Excellent Friend – Great Ease), Arlene Lueck, Janis Cooke Newman (Jo San Sei Gan / Ascend the Mountain – Inconceivable Vow), Keiryu Lien Shutt, Michael Walter (Jinshin Myodo / Benevolent Heart-Mind – Luminous Way)
Reception: Friday, May 3, 7:30 pm
In the Art Lounge at City Center/Beginners’ Mind Temple, 300 Page Street, SF
This new work explores themes of memory, symbolic and abstract language, freedom, imprisonment, embodiment. The work uses disparate mediums, yet oil painting and mixed media are kindred in the same way our bodies and minds work together. The abstract oil paintings come from the body, a language of mark making that is without much thought, a sensing and groping in the dark or a lead and follow process. The artist leads and then the painting speaks and you follow, a dialogue of sorts. I experience painting coming from sensing and feeling deeply within and giving form, out onto the canvas.
The photographic image transfers and mixed media are realistic images that engage the mind with clear references and legibility, using paint to create another layer of language to convey a feeling or mood.
The image transfers are born from photographs I’ve taken, as well as re-used images of past paintings. I draw on my work in the jails, a personal encounter with the social injustice of mass incarceration, to speak to social and political concerns. In these works, the zafu is a symbol of the need to look deeply at these issues and work towards better solutions. Through repeated symbols and icons (images of the American flag, mass incarceration, the zafu, lips, the brain), the works imagine freedom and imprisonment, both personal and collective.
Friday, May 10, through Saturday, May 18. In the main hallway at City Center/Beginner’s Mind Temple, 300 Page Street in San Francisco.
Photo by Shundo David Haye
City Center’s biannual book sale is coming up soon and we are asking for book donations. They can be brought to City Center during office hours: Monday through Friday, 9:30 am – 4 pm; Saturday 11 am – noon.
Fiction and non-fiction (on any subject); books in good repair and unmarked
Cannot accept: trade paperbacks, periodicals, textbooks, or technical books
April 1 through 30
City Center Art Lounge and main hallway
300 Page Street, SF 94102
John Muir Elementary Watercolor Paintings
Kindergarten – Third Grade
Art Teacher: Sarah Allison
For the third year in a row, the young artists of John Muir School (kindergarten through third grade) will be exhibiting their work at San Francisco Zen Center’s City Center location. The work on display will be watercolor paintings created after practicing breathing exercises as well as using music as meditation while painting. While listening to music students painted emotional responses to the rhythm and lyrics.
In the first series of watercolor paintings, students practiced their usual three deep breaths at the hit of the art basu bell before starting. Students explored the bleeding technique by wetting the entire paper then letting colors bleed as the water moved the paint.
For the second set of paintings, students practiced deep belly “balloon” breathing along with theta wave sounds. Music was the facilitator of their painting meditation. Students were completely in the moment, quiet, and letting the brush dance across the paper. The music selection started with deep theta waves by Stephen Halpern for the breathing exercises and moved into the study of African American musicians to pay tribute to their great influence on pop culture, civic action, beauty, and love. The paintings were done as a quick study emotional exploration, each only for the duration of the song. Songs included The Freedom Singers’ “Woke Up,” Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World,” Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed and Delivered (I’m Yours),” and Whitney Houston “My Love Is Your Love.”
To practice the kid-friendly deep belly balloon breathing as taught by the Chopra Center:
Think of your favorite color and picture a giant balloon of that color in your mind.
Take a slow, deep inhale through the nose, filling up your belly with air as if trying to blow up a giant [favorite color] balloon. As an option, you can also stretch your arms open and overhead to represent expansion and the big balloon.
When your balloon is totally full, hold your breath at the top, and then you can “pop the balloon” (gesture finger to belly) and you can fall down as you exhale.