Sitting Meditation & Sesshins

If you are new to Zen practice, see For Beginners.


See below for descriptions of introductory, half-day and one-day offerings, as well as longer sesshins.


Sesshin means to collect the heart/mind. We spend 3, 5, or 7 days meditating, eating, and working in silence, devoting every aspect of the day to the realization of the Buddha Way. Sesshin meals are generally served and taken in the traditional oryoki style.

Sesshin always begins with an orientation the evening before at 7:30 pm in the Buddha Hall near the entrance to 300 Page Street. There is also an oryoki instruction and refresher training offered the evening before at 5:00 pm. (If you would like to stay for dinner that evening, dinner is at 6:30 pm; cost is by donation.)

To sign up for a sitting or sesshin, call our toll free number (888.743.9362) or our local number (415.475.9362).

All members of San Francisco Zen Center receive a 10% discount on sesshins and one-day sittings. Members donating $125 per month or more are invited to attend one-day sittings free of charge. To learn more about becoming a member, visit this link.

Saturday One-Day Sittings at City Center

One-day sittings offer traditional Soto Zen all-day meditation practice. We ask those who attend one-day sittings to commit to participating in the complete schedule.

Sunday Beginners’ Sittings

9 am – 4:00 pm
This sitting is for new students and those who wish to participate in a gentler schedule.

Saturday Half-Day Sitting to Open the Intensive, CC 1/25

Led by Kyoshin Wendy Lewis
Saturday, January 25, 5:40 am – 2 pm
Register by 4 pm on Tuesday, January 21

Five-day Sesshin, CC 2/11 – 2/15

Zen and Work Three-day Sesshin, CC 3/26 – 3/28

Led by Susan O'Connell and Marc Lesser
Thursday, March 26 – Saturday, March 28
Register by Saturday, March 21

Seven-Day Rohatsu Sesshin 2019, CC 12/1 – 12/7

The seven-day Rohatsu Sesshin commemorates Buddha's enlightenment and closes the Fall Practice Period.

Thursday Meditation, Conversation, and Tea, CC

Thursday Meditation, Conversation, and Tea, CC

Thursdays, 7:30 pm
Open to all. This weekly 35-minute meditation is followed by optional Q&A time.

Saturday Introductory Afternoon

1:30 – 5 pm
Ideal for those who have attended the Saturday morning meditation instruction and wish to learn more about the details of practice at City Center.

Zazenkai, CC

9:30 am - 12:30 pm
With Urban Temple Dharma Teacher Ryushin Paul Haller

Interims at City Center

During the interim break the regular schedule is optional for residents. The zendo (meditation hall) will continue to be open for meditation, staffed by volunteers. Sign up on the volunteer sheet near the zendo or contact the ino if you would like to volunteer to be doan or doorwatch in the morning or evening during the interim. Thank you.