Upcoming Event Listings

All upcoming events at the San Francisco Buddhist Center:

This Month :: Classes and Courses :: Regular Weekly Classes :: Special Events :: Day Retreats :: Residential Retreats :: Affinity Groups


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Coming up (in date order)

This section lists special events, course start dates, registration deadlines and other announcements. For a summary of upcoming events, see the calendar. You can sign up for our email list to be notified of upcoming events.

  • Weekday Mornings 7:30am to 8:15am — Meditate with others any weekday morning (see Weekly Activities)
  • Thursdays through December 2016, 7pm to 8pm — Drop-in Introduction to Buddhist Meditation (see Courses)
  • Tue June 21 to July 12 7pm to 9pm — Metta Bhavana, Cultivating Loving Kindness 4 week course (see Classes and Courses)
  • Wed June 22 7pm — Meditation and discussion on bearing witness and compassion (see Buddhist Action Month)
  • Sat June 25 10am to 4pm — Giving Food to those who need it a Buddhist Action Month Practice Day with Prasadachitta (Day Retreats)
  • Wed June 29 7pm — Compassion, energy, and equanimity (see Buddhist Action Month)
  • Thu June 30 11:45pm — Last day to register for July Meditation Immersion Retreat with Paramananda (see Retreats)
  • Sat July 2 10am to 2pm — Young Sangha Weekend Retreat (see Affinity Groups)
  • Sat July 16 to July 23Meditation Immersion Retreat with Paramananda (see Retreats)
  • Sat July 30 10am to 4pm — Day Retreat, open to all: Still Life: Stillness and the Archaology of Self, with Special Guest Artist - Paramabodhi, from the UK (Day Retreats)

Introductory Classes and Courses

DROP-IN INTRODUCTION TO MEDITATION

Weekly on Thursdays, 7 to 8pm  (no class November 26)

Each Thursday we offer a brief introduction to meditation and lead through one of two main practices: Mindfulness of Breathing and Loving Kindness (Metta). This is a very good place to get a feel for meditation, meet our teachers and discuss what you might do next. No experience necessary. Drop in as often as you like. Suggested donation: $10-5.

MEDITATION AND MINDFULNESS TRAINING

Four month training course: Four 4-week modules, 7pm to 9pm

Would you like to experience the many benefits of meditation and mindfulness in your daily life? This year we are offering a comprehensive four-month training that aims to provide the necessary tools and support for a consistent and deepening practice of mindfulness, kindness and wisdom.

The training is divided into four 4-week modules that will be repeated throughout the year. Take them all in one go, or spread them out, depending on your schedule and preferred pace.

Each module will explore meditation and the benefits of kind attention through a particular doorway, delving into different practices and the wisdom behind them to discover their full potential. Each will include instruction, guidance, practice and plenty of time for discussion and questions, plus optional individual practice reviews. Open to complete beginners and anyone wishing to refresh, support and deepen their practice.

June 21 to July 12: The Metta Bhavana - Cultivating Loving-Kindness

Even as a mother at the risk of her life, watches over and protects her only child, so with a boundless heart let one cherish all living beings. (From the Metta Sutta)

This may seem a tall order, but a boundless heart, responding to the world and all beings (including the being we call "me") with unconditional love, is both an expression of freedom and the key to it, and is well within our human capacity. Cultivating an intention of kind awareness towards whatever arises in our experience, we can interrupt our habitual patterns of insecurity and begin to experience the liberating qualities of love, compassion, joy and equanimity known as the brahma viharas or illimitables. This course will focus on the cultivation of Metta, or love, usually translated as loving-kindness or friendliness.

July 26 to Aug 16: Meditation and Buddhism

Meditation is the cultivation of an attentive and kindly mind. It goes without saying that Buddhist tradition is not the only place where we find this expressed. It can be found throughout humanity both implicitly and explicitly in myriad beautiful forms of practice that stretch back for many millennia. Nevertheless, the Buddhist tradition shows us how we can effectively engage with and transform our mind in a distinctive way, by looking at how we interpret ourselves and the world we experience. A serene, warm and engaging aspect of mind can be recognized and nurtured through meditation, but our interpretations and feelings can confuse, undermine and potentially reverse this process. Clarifying our understanding about the method - what makes our effort effective and what undermines it - can give us the confidence and inspiration to keep it up.

This course will include meditation with periods of reflection and discussion about what we are doing in medit ation. We will look at meditation as one part of a holistic approach to being in the world in a more engaged, effective and happy way.

Aug 23 to Sep 13: Mindfulness in Everyday Life

Mindfulness is the ability to give our undivided attention to the present moment and to wholeheartedly engage with what needs doing. It enhances all experience. In this course we will learn how to apply mindfulness to our day-to-day activities and bring greater joy, depth, and spaciousness into our lives. No experience necessary. The course is based on the book: Life with Full Attention: A Practical Course in Mindfulness, by Maitreyabandhu.

Sep 20 to Oct 11: The Mindfulness of Breathing

Exploring the Mindfulness of Breathing practice, using the sensations of breathing to ground our awareness in the body, allowing us to meet the stresses of everyday life with more kindness and stability, to create a more intimate inner connection, and to be mindful of the beauty, the habits, and the wonder available in each day.

Each module is four Tuesday evenings. 7pm to 9pm.

Cost for the first 4-week module: $120 ($80 low-income), then $110 ($70) for subsequent modules. You can pay by check (to FWBO, 37 Bartlett St, SF, CA 94110), or through just give or paypal here.*

Please register by sending an email with your name and the course title.

Regular Weekly Classes and Activities

MORNING SITS: MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY, 7:30 -8:15am

Continue throughout January and the holidays

Group sits open to anyone with a meditation practice. No instruction. Doors open by 7:25 for a 40-minute sit starting at 7:30. If you arrive late and the door is locked please do not interrupt the meditation — come back next time! Also see Introductory Classes.

SANGHA NIGHT- Wednesdays, 7pm - 9 (doors open at 6:45pm and close at 7pm when the meditation begins)

Our Wednesday Sangha Night welcomes anyone with an interest in Buddhist practice and a desire to explore ways to bring more wisdom and compassion into our way of being in the world. Most evenings are informal and interactive. Meditation is followed by a talk or workshop and discussion or group activities. No experience is required, but if you have not meditated before we recommend first attending one of our introductory classes. Suggested donation: $10–$5*,

Weekly Program:

Doors open at 6:45pm. Our meditation space is open if you'd like to sit quietly, or help yourself to tea in the reception area. If you are new to Sangha Night please arrive early for a brief orientation. The program begins with introductions and a check-in, followed by meditation and a talk or other activity.

The Path of Freedom: Tools for Applying Ancient Wisdom to Modern Life

The Buddha was clear that we should use his teachings as a raft - or a set of tools - to transform ourselves and our world. His instruction was to try them out for ourselves, rather than taking them on as a belief system. Over 2000 years later, in a world with very different challenges, it's perhaps more important than ever to remember this instruction, and to keep our practice relevant.

Our Sangha Night focus this year is to explore our personal path or journey in the context of today's world.

JUNE 1 to 29: BUDDHIST ACTION MONTH

Transforming ourselves through transforming the world. https://thebuddhistcentre.com/BAM/

Throughout June at Sangha Night the SFBC will celebrate Buddhist Action Month (BAM) through collective social action. The essence of BAM is to invite sangha members to collectively take any action they wish that benefits the environment, other people, our local communities or society. These actions can take the form of volunteering for a worthy cause, going vegan for a week, buying less stuff, reducing our carbon footprints, etc. The possibilities are limitless.

What can we do together to make this world a better place? What can we do together to reduce the suffering in this world and bring greater peace and kindness into this world?

BAM was started in 2013 by the Network of Buddhist Organizations (NBO) in the United Kingdom. The Triratna Buddhist Order and Community is a member of NBO and Triratna centers across Europe started participating in BAM in 2015.

June 1

Meditation followed by conversation with James Tracy, a long time San Francisco affordable housing organizer and activist. He is a writer and recently release his new book Dispatches Against Displacement. Affordable housing has become a great concern in our community over the last few years with the skyrocketing costs of market rate housing. But what can we do as individuals to help support a more affordable and livable city? And how can we support ethical housing development? James Tracey will be sharing his success and challenges in addressing these issues, and help to inform our community about ways in which we may contribute to ethical housing development.

June 8

Meditation followed by conversation on engaged Buddhism with sangha member and local activist Ethan Davidson.

June 15

Meditation followed by conversation with Order member Vimalamoksa on how he came to work on housing access and build tiny houses, and how that work informs and is informed by Buddhist practice.

June 22

Meditation followed by discussion on how to bear witness, compassion and its near enemies, and what it means to shine one corner of the world. With Mary Salome

June 29

Compassion, energy, and equanimity, with Danadasa. The problems of this world can often times feel overwhelming and insurmountable. How can we creatively engage with the world as agents of positive change? This evening we will explore ways of nourishing and revitalizing ourselves for the sake of the world and for the sake of all beings.

JULY 6 to 27: TAPPING THE RESOURCES OF FEAR AND PLEASURE

Vimalamoksha, Padmatara and Prasadachitta will lead this 3 week series (skipping July 20), looking at ways to work with fear and pleasure on the path and harness their positive aspects.

Special Events

SPECIAL 2-DAY WORKSHOP: DEATH AND THE ONLY BEAUTY THAT LASTS, WITH SIDDHISAMBHAVA

Sat, Sep 17, 10am to 5pm, and Sun, Sep 18 1pm to 5pm: Special 2-day Workshop, open to all

See Day Retreats for more information

LIT CRAWL

Thirst

Saturday Oct 15, 8:30pm to 9:30pm

Once again the SFBC is participating in this extraordinary event in San Francisco's Mission District. More information will follow nearer the time.

Day Retreats

MONTHLY DAY RETREATS AND PRACTICE DAYS

Saturdays, 10am to 4pm, April 30, May 21, June 18, July 30

These monthly day retreats are a great opportunity to experience the benefits of retreat without leaving the city. Our theme this year is The Path of Freedom: Tools for Applying Ancient Wisdom to Modern Life. Each month, through meditation, reflection and discussion we will explore a different aspect of the path and see for ourselves how it relates to living well today. They are open to anyone interested in the topics, and no particular experience is required, though if you haven't meditated before you might consider taking on of our introductory classes.

Cost: $75 ($35 low income) or whatever you can afford. You can pay by cash or check on the day, or in advance through just give or paypal here. *

Pre-registration appreciated and guarantees a place.

GIVING FOOD TO THOSE WHO NEED IT - A BUDDHIST ACTION MONTH PRACTICE DAY, WITH PRASADACHITTA

June 25: Meet at the Center at 10am to meditate.

The daily activity of eating is as necessary as breathing and connects us to all living beings. Sharing food can make us more mindful of our connections with others and can be nourishing and liberating. Giving in general is a great way to practice mindfulness - observing the thoughts and feelings we have as we give, and the effects of the reactions of those we give to, learning a lot about ourselves in the process. Do our expectations cause us suffering? Are we self-conscious? Can we find a place of warmth to give from that genuinely lets go of expectations?

In the morning we will meditate and prepare sandwiches. Then in small groups we'll spread out through the city to hand them out. After that we'll meet back at the center to discuss our experience and share what we have learned. We will end with a meditation and a ceremonial transfer of merits. All welcome. Any donations will go towards cost of food or to benefit the hungry or homeless. Please email to sign up.

STILL LIFE, STILLNESS AND THE ARCHAOLOGY OF SELF, WITH SPECIAL GUEST FROM THE UK - PARAMABODHI

July 30, 10am to 4pm

A Day retreat featuring drawing and meditation.

Please bring along one or two personal objects to work with. The day will take place within the overall context of Mindfulness and a sense of Stillness. We will work with mindfulness of the body, of the breath and of our chosen objects. This will include drawing our objects, reflecting upon them and their significance in our lives. However no experience of drawing is necessary.

A sense of stillness in our often busy lives can be of great benefit in many ways. We find in Buddhist practice the words: 'With Stillness, Simplicity and Contentment, I Purify my Body'. This is within the positive ethical precepts, though their significance can have much broader ramifications. We will have these words in mind throughout the day.

Paramabodhi is one of the co-founders of the SFBC and worked here for 6 years during the 90's. He is revisiting for the second year running. He currently works full time as an artist and teacher in London.

DEATH AND THE ONLY BEAUTY THAT LASTS, WITH SIDDHISAMBHAVA

Sat, Sep 17, 10am to 5pm, and Sun, Sep 18 1pm to 5pm: Special 2-day Workshop, open to all

The only beauty that lasts is the beauty of the human heart, Rumi

A rare opportunity to explore this inevitable and mysterious feature of our lives and help us relate to it in a healthy way.

Sessions include exploring our views on death; looking at our experience of loss; practical, emotional & spiritual preparation for our own death; how to support the dying; the dying process; where meditation and reflection practices 'fit in'; short films & more.

Siddhisambhava has 14 years experience of running these events (in both a buddhist and public context), am a trained bereavement counsellor and a member of the UK 'Dying Matters'. She currently lives in Wales. For more information see her website: http://www.janparker.co.uk

Suggested donation: $120 ($60 low income), but please pay whatever you can afford. You can pay by cash or check on the day, or in advance through just give or paypal here. *

Pre-registration appreciated and guarantees a place.

YOUNG SANGHA

Day Retreat for people in their 20's and 30's, First Saturday of each month, 10am to 2pm

See Affinity Groups

Residential Retreats

SUMMER MEDITATION IMMERSION RETREAT, LED BY PARAMANANDA

Sat, July 16 to 23, 6pm to Sat July 23, 2016, 3pm at Jikoji

A week of meditation and supporting each other in our practice. The retreat will focus on trusting the intuitive wisdom of the heart and shifting the center of awareness from the head to the heart.

After the first day most of the retreat will be in silence, apart from periods of instruction and review. We will share mindful cooking and cleaning, and there will be time to enjoy the beautiful trails around Jikoji.

If you would like to attend but cannot stay for the whole week please contact the SFBC (info@sfbuddhistcenter.org) and we will let you know if that becomes an option.

Meditation experience is highly recommended for this retreat. If you have not taken one of our meditation courses please contact us or drop-in to our Thursday classes..

Sliding scale*: $780 - $630 (Sat to Sat) plus optional dana for the teachers (our teachers do not get paid for their time). If you are unable to come because of money please contact us as we are sometimes able to offer reductions, depending on numbers.

Note about costs: we always do what we can to keep our rates low and affordable but this year Jikoji have raised their rent by almost 50% and added a cleaning fee, so we have had to increase our rates accordingly. The low end of the scale barely covers our costs, so we encourage you to pay towards the higher end if you can, to ensure that we can keep offering retreats. Thank you!

Register here

Registration deadline with $200 deposit: June 30.

WOMEN'S WEEKEND RETREAT

Fri, Nov 11, 6pm to Sun Nov 13, 3pm,
at Camp Double Bear

Our annual women's weekend retreat is a wonderful opportunity to spend a weekend practicing together in the relaxing natural beauty of the Santa Cruz Mountains. We hope you can join us!

Each day will begin and end quietly with meditation. Mid morning and afternoon sessions will include instruction and guided, mindful dialogue. All activities are optional and while we invite you to enjoy the flow of the schedule and stretch your comfort zone just a little, we also encourage you to listen to your body and participate in whatever way is most helpful.

Food Work Periods: Vegetarian food and simple menus are provided and cooking and cleaning are shared by everyone on the retreat. If you have a preference please let us know in advance.

Open to all levels of experience, but if you have not taken one of our meditation courses please contact us or drop-in to our Thursday classes.

Sliding scale*: $265-$200 plus optional dana for the teacher. If you are unable to come because of money please contact us as we are sometimes able to offer reductions.

Register here

Registration deadline with $100 deposit: Oct 31.

WINTER MEDITATION IMMERSION RETREAT

Thur, Dec 22, 6pm to Thur Dec 29, 3pm, at Camp Double Bear (option to leave Sat 24)

Our annual winter meditation retreat is a priceless opportunity to spend a week away from our normal conditions, in silence, supporting each other and being supported by the natural beauty of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Open to all levels of experience, though some meditation experience is recommended - if you have not taken one of our meditation courses please contact us or drop-in to our Thursday classes.

Sliding scale*: $700 - $550 (Sat to Sat) or $265-$200 (leaving Sat 24) plus optional dana for the teachers. If you are unable to come because of money please contact us as we are sometimes able to offer reductions, depending on numbers.

Register here

Registration deadline with $200 deposit: Dec 8.

More information about retreats.

Retreat calendar and registration here.

More information about retreats.

Retreat calendar and registration here.

Affinity Groups

Affinity groups allow individuals to gather on a basis of a shared interest, identity, or ideals. 

YOUNG SANGHA

First Saturday of the month, 10am to 2pm. Aug 6, Sep 3, Oct 1 (July 2 will be a residential weekend retreat - see below)

These monthly meetings invite us to take a look at how the choices we make have an impact on ourselves and the wider world. There will be opportunities for quiet reflection as well as discussion.

Instead of the usual Young Sangha Day in July we are hosting an informal retreat. It will be held at our property in Lake County. There is a house with limited sleeping options so camping is encouraged. Rides and meals will be arranged. Vimalamoksha and Hridayashri will be organizing - more info to follow for those who register, but feel free to email with any questions. Costs will be low and depend on our numbers, but plan for around $75 a night to include meals and accommodations. (Also expect to pitch in for gas and tolls.) And if funding is difficult for you, let us know and we can work something out.

Suggested donation: sliding scale $40 to $20. You can pay by cash or check on the day, or in advance through just give or paypal here. *

Pre-registration appreciated and guarantees a place.

DHARMA DYKES

Occasional montly meetings, usually Thursday evenings

An opportunity for those who identify as Queer Women to meditate together and explore our unique experiences in applying the dharma to all aspects of our lives. We are currently taking a break but please email us if you're interested or if you have suggestions. Donation based. *

PEOPLE OF COLOR SITTING GROUP, Sunday every few months, 1-3pm - no class currently scheduled.

If you are a person of color with a meditation practice or with an interest in developing one, then these gatherings would be of benefit. Instruction is offered by Viveka . Donations welcome. * (more information)

STEPS TO RECOVERY

Occasional meetings and day retreats for people in recovery from addictions of all kinds.

*NOTE ABOUT FEES AND DONATIONS

Unless otherwise stated, all fees and donations go toward operating costs of the San Francisco Buddhist Center, a nonprofit organization. Teaching at this Center is done by volunteers.

For events with a sliding scale, please pay what you can afford within that range, or contact us in advance to arrange a further reduced rate.

The suggested donation given for most of our regular events is there as a guide and you should feel free to pay more if you can and less if you need to. Make checks out to the "FWBO" (Friends of the Western Buddhist Order - this is still our bank account name). Please give your name and the reason for your donation. Thank you! To pay online by credit card go here for just give, or here for paypal.