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Classes & Extended Courses

(Scroll down for individual class listings.)
Classes are organized around a core six-root curriculum.

  • Root I: Buddha's Life and Early Texts
  • Root II: Buddhist Psychology
  • Root III: Buddhist Wisdom
  • Root IV: Ethics and Compassion
  • Root V: Zen
  • Root VI: Contemporary Buddhism

In Roots I through V, the study is text-based. Our emphasis is on understanding the material for its relevance to Buddhist insight, practice, and living. Root VI, Contemporary Buddhism, is concerned with issues relevant to us as Buddhists living in a complex and diverse culture.

Mountain Gate Study Center

Class series start at different times of the year.

Registration

For class and workshop registration, please use the ticket table or the Register Online button on the event page, or call our toll free number (888.743.9362) or our local number (415.475.9362). We accept Visa or Mastercard.

Refund Policy

15 days or more: $20 service charge
14 - 8 days: 50% of the total fees
7 days or less: no refund
(minimum cancellation fee: $20)

Fees

Fees vary based on number of class meetings, but the basic fee is $20 per class meeting, with a reduced fee for members and those with limited income; see each class for fee information.

Voices of Compassion: How Awakened Beings of the Past Can Inform Our Lives Today (Class), CC 1/27 - 3/17
with Anshin Rosalie Curtis and Jisan Tova Green
Mondays, January 27 - March 17
(9 classes)
7:30 - 9 pm

The qualities we admire in awakened beings (bodhisattvas) of the past and present can inform and enliven our lives.


A History of Awakening (Class), CC 1/28 - 3/18
with Jeffrey Schneider
in the City Center dining room
Tuesdays, January 28 - March 18
(8 classes)
7:30 - 9 pm

Nirvana, enlightenment, awakening, satori, kensho—all of these terms have been used to describe the ideal result of Buddhist practice. And yet, the cessation achieved by arhats in the early scriptures has seemingly nothing to do with the awakening described in the stories of Zen. Can we speak of them as having anything in common other than the designation “Buddhist”? And how might these various understandings of the goal define our own practice?


Yoga for Freedom within Interdependence (Class), CC 1/29 - 3/19
with Shosan Victoria Austin
in the Conference Center at 308 Page Street
Wednesday mornings, January 29 - March 19
(8 classes)
7:30 - 8:20 am

In this morning class, we will practice series of yoga asanas, or postures, that meet specific needs in body and mind, and explore the ways in which these needs and processes interact to experience freedom.


Are You Turning the Flower or Is the Flower Turning You? A Personal Exploration of the Wheel of Dependent Co-Arising (Class), CC 1/30 - 3/20
with Beata Chapman
Thursdays, January 30 - March 20, 2014
(8 classes)
7:30 - 9 pm

As Zen practitioners, we all want to end suffering for ourselves and others. In this class, we will explore in-depth the 12-fold chain and its implications for everyday practice of the Bodhisattva Way.


Accessing Ease in Practice: Working with the Five Hindrances (Class), CC 1/30 - 3/20
with Keiryu Liên Shutt
in the City Center Buddha Hall
Thursdays, January 30 - March 20, 2014
(8 classes)
7:30 - 9 pm

The Five Hindrances are typical mind states which can impede development of concentration and mindfulness. In this class, we will explore classic and contemporary teachings on how to become aware of and work with these states, as well as cultivate their antidotes.


Meditation Training: Establishing a Meditation Practice in Four Short Weeks (Class)
with Liên Shutt
in the City Center Buddha Hall
Four Thursdays, 7:30 - 9 pm
Classes in April or July

Want to learn how to meditate? Or, have you tried at different times but just can’t quite figure out how to make it work for you? This four-class series is geared just for you.


As It Is: Direct Experience as a Field of Blessings (Class), CC 5/19 - 6/16
with Shosan Victoria Austin and Shinki Mark Lancaster
Four Mondays: May 19 and June 2, 9 and 16, 2014
7:30 - 9 pm

How can we learn to live in response to our direct experience of ourselves and the world, rather than in habitual reaction to preconditioned, fixed views?


Living with the Tenzokyokun (Class), CC 5/19 - 6/16
with Shundo David Haye
Four Mondays: May 19 and June 2, 9 and 16, 2014
7:30 - 9 pm

How does a book written for the head cook at a 13th century Japanese monastery have relevance to our lives today?


Being Alive with Our Many States of Bodymind: Seven Zen Practices for Living in Wonder (Class), CC 5/20 - 6/17
with Hobu Beata Chapman
Five Tuesdays: May 20 - June 17, 2014
7:30 - 9 pm

In this class we will explore in depth seven Zen practices for continually opening to wonder in joyous and difficult states of bodymind.


Yoga to Go In (Class), CC 5/21 - 6/18
with Shosan Victoria Austin
in the Conference Center at 308 Page Street
Five Wednesdays: May 21 - June 18, 2014
7:30 am - 8:20 am

When the fluctuations of the mind settle down, one's own body becomes the seat of direct experience leading to awakening.


Suzuki Roshi's Lectures (Class), CC 5/22 - 6/12
with Rinso Ed Sattizahn
Four Thursdays, May 22 - June 12, 2014
7:30 - 9 pm

In this class series, we will study selections from Not Always So and unpublished lectures of Suzuki Roshi that exemplify his teaching. Not Always So is framed in Suzuki Roshi's own inimitable, allusive, paradoxical style. We will engage one another in a rich discussion of his often-unexpected insights.


The Heart Sutra, An Introduction (Class), CC 5/22 - 6/12
with Kyoshin Wendy Lewis
Four Thursdays, May 22 - June 12, 2014
7:30 - 9 pm

The Heart Sutra, chanted daily in Zen Center’s three locations, is a Mahayana wisdom (prajnaparamita) teaching dating from about the 5th century CE.


Mindfulness and Zen (CC Class)
with Keiryu Liên Shutt
Spring or Summer classes in 2014 (beginning 5/22 or 8/7)
Four Thursdays, 7:30 - 8:30 pm

“Mindfulness” is part of our everyday lexicon now. But what does it mean in the context of Buddhist teachings and practices? And, how is it a part of Zen?


Zen Ritual: A Practitioner’s Perspective on the Expressions of Forms (Class), CC 6/24 - 7/22
with Konin Melissa Cardenas
Five Tuesdays: June 24 - July 22
7:30 - 8:50 pm

Zen practice is grounded in the embodied experience of the present moment as it is. Yet the tradition of Zen has embraced a variety of forms of ritualized expression. What is the meaning of this?


What Buddha Taught (Class), CC 8/4-25
with Anshin Rosalie Curtis
Four Mondays: August 4 - 25, 2014
7:30 - 9 pm

Join us to learn the basics of Buddha’s teaching.


Now What? How to Be (and Stay) a Beginner (Class), CC 8/5 - 9/9
with Zachary Smith
Six Tuesdays: August 5 - September 9, 2014
7:30 - 9 pm

Suzuki Roshi famously claimed that the difficult part of Zen practice was not sitting, or even enlightenment. Instead, he suggests that it is the way we entangle and hinder ourselves with ideas and expectations.


Sewing Buddha's Robe

This class is to assist those who have received permission from their teacher to sew a rakusu or okesa in preparation for receiving precepts and a robe in Jukai or Shukke Tokudo.



Transforming Depression and Anxiety: Drop-in Classes
Thursdays
6 to 7:30 pm
Practice classes are facilitated by Lee Lipp, PhD
Conference Center, 308 Page Street

For those who have participated in the Transforming Depression and Anxiety basic introductory workshops. These 1½-hour practice classes are offered to those who are interested in fine-tuning the practices introduced in the basic skills workshops taught throughout the year at SFZC and at other venues.


Contemplative Caregiver Course 2014
January 31 - December 6, 2014

A yearlong certificate training program in contemplative practices and care methods, offered in collaboration with Beyond Measure School for Contemplative Care, founded by Jennifer Block.


Establishing the Path of Practice
One-Year Non-Residential Training Program

with Ryushin Paul Haller and other Zen teachers

This one-year, experiential training program is designed to help participants develop a sustainable daily meditation practice and mindfulness of body, mind and emotions during everyday activities and relationships.