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Classes & Extended Courses

Classes are organized around a core six-root curriculum.
  • Root I: The life of the Buddha and early texts
  • Root II: Buddhist psychology
  • Root III: Buddhist wisdom
  • Root IV: Ethics and compassion
  • Root V: Zen
  • Root VI: Contemporary developments in 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.

Classes are offered on Sunday morning and Monday and Tuesday evenings. An ongoing sewing class is offered on Sunday afternoon.

Fee for six-week class series: $120 nonmembers, $108 current SFZC members, $72 limited income.

To register for a class, use the ticket table or Register Online button on the event page, or call our toll free number (888.743.9362) or our local number (415.475.9362).

Cancellation policy for classes, events and workshops:
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)

The Jewel Mirror Samadhi (Class), GGF 4/27 - 6/1
with Yo-on Jeremy Levie
Six Mondays: April 27 - June 1, 2015

The Jewel Mirror Samadhi is an important Zen poem chanted as a sutra in many Soto Zen monasteries.


Buddhism in Japan (Class), GGF 4/28 - 6/2
with Jiryu Mark Rutschman-Byler
Six Tuesdays: April 28 - June 2, 2015

As we develop our unique "American Buddhism" at places like Green Gulch, it is useful to look back to past transformations the Buddhist tradition has undergone in its long history of encounter with new cultures.


Introduction to Buddhism (Class), GGF 5/3 - 6/7
with Shokuchi Carrigan
Six Sunday mornings: May 3 - June 7, 2015

This class will unfold some of the essentials of Buddhism, including the core teachings, basic practices and historical evolution of the tradition.


The Perfection of Practice in the Zen Tradition (Class), GGF 7/5 - 8/9
with Monshin Albert Kutchins
Six Sunday mornings: July 5 - August 9, 2015

It can be one thing to study Zen, and quite another to actualize it in how we live our lives.


Dharma Gate of Repose and Bliss: A Playful and Practical Exploration of Zazen Posture (Class), GGF 7/7 - 8/11
with Erin Merk
Six Tuesdays: July 7 - August 11, 2015

Exploring a variety of perspectives on posture through texts, visual tools and our own present-moment attunement, we will engage in a series of weekly body-mind inquiries, including at-home explorations, to invite sensitivity and awaken the mysterious and inconceivable experience of harmonious posture.


Embodying the Heart Sutra: All Five Skandhas Are Empty (Class), GGF 7/13 - 8/10
with Furyu Nancy Schroder
Five Mondays: July 13 - August 10, 2015

In this class we will use the Buddha's teaching on the division of the "self" into five "heaps," or skandhas, as a framework for studying the "self," as we learn to see how there really isn't any such thing at all . . . or is there?


Coming of Age Program 2014-2015

For 7th and 8th Grade Boys and Girls
September to May



Contemplative Caregiver Courses 2015
with Jennifer Block and other teachers
A collaboration between Beyond Measure School for Contemplative Care and San Francisco Zen Center.

New: Three Separate Courses in 2015
January 23 to April 18, 2015 May 22 to August 8, 2015 September 11 to December 5, 2015


Sewing Buddha's Robe

Instruction in sewing a rakusu, Buddha’s robe, is offered for those who are preparing for the Bodhisattva Initiation Ceremony with a Zen Center or affiliated teacher.