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)
  • Sat Oct 29 — 10am to 4pm Day Retreat: Life, the Universe and Everything - What's that all about? (Day Retreats)
  • Sun Oct 30 — 2pm to 4pm Day of the Dead meditation and shrine building (Special Events)
  • Wed Nov 2 to Nov 30 7pm — Sangha Night Series: Change. Nov 2 - Day of the Dead - Reflecting on change and remembering those who have died. (see Sangha Night)
  • Fri to Sun, Nov 4 to 6Women's Weekend Meditation Retreat - register by Oct 24 (see Retreats)
  • Sat Nov 5 10am to 2pm — Young Sangha Practice Morning (Affinity Groups)
  • Wed Nov 9 7pm — Social Change - remembering Dr. Ambedkar (see Sangha Night)
  • Wed Nov 16 7pm — Commitment and Change - Celebrating Sangha Day and Mitra Ceremony (see Sangha Night)
  • Sat Nov 19 — 10am to 4pm Day Retreat: Meditation and Refletion Outide, with Vimalamoksha (Day Retreats)
  • Wed Nov 23 7pm — Gratitude for Change (see Sangha Night)
  • Tue Nov 29 to Dec 20 7pm to 9pm — Meditation and Buddhism - part of our Fall Meditation Training series, 4 week course (see Classes and Courses)
  • Wed Nov 30 7pm — Visiting Order Member - Lokesvara (see Sangha Night)
  • Thur Dec 22 to 29 7pm — Winter Meditation Immersion Retreat (see Retreats)

Introductory Classes and Courses


Weekly on Thursdays, 7 to 8pm  (no class November 24)

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.


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.

Each module is four Tuesday evenings, 7pm to 9pm - see below for upcoming dates.

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.

Nov 29 to Dec 20: 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 meditation. 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.

2017: 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.

2017: 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.

2017: 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.

Regular Weekly Classes and Activities


Continue throughout January and the holidays. On Nov 8 (election day!) the SFBC will be a polling station and meditation will be upstairs - so it might not be quite as peaceful as usual.

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- OPEN TO ALL - 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.


Reflecting on change in ourselves, in others and in the world around us.

Nov 2 - Day of the Dead

Join us to reflect on change in our lives, particularly remembering and celebrating those we have lost. Please bring photos or other reminders for the shrine. Afterwards some of us will head to Garfield Park to visit the altars there.

Nov 9 - Social Change: Dr. Ambedkar Celebration

On post-election day we take time to remember the radical life of Dr Ambedkar, who was born a Hindu but died a Buddhist and spent his life working for social justice for millions of people in India.This event will mark the 60th anniversary of the occasion on which 400,000 people converted to Buddhism under the leadership of Ambedkar.

Nov 16 - Commitment and Change: Sangha Day and Mitra Ceremony

In November we celebrate Sangha (Spiritual Community) and reflect on our commitment to change and follow a Buddhist Path together. This week we will also celebrate becoming a Mitra, making a personal commitment to practice with the Triratna Buddhist Community at the SFBC.

Nov 23 - Gratitude in the face of Change

A simple pre-Thanksgiving practice night

Nov 30 -Talk by visiting Order Member - Lokesvara

How is the Triratna Buddhist Community changing in a changing world?

Special Events


Sunday Oct 30, 2pm to 4pm

Join us for an afternoon of active practice: meditate at 2pm then help us make a beautiful shrine and get things clean and ready for Day of the Dead. On Wednesday night we will celebrate and honor our loved ones who have died. Please bring photos or other reminders to place on the shrine.


Sat, Dec 3, 6pm to 9pm

Join us for a great evening of show and tell, good food, and shopping for the holidays at our Silent Auction. Always a fun time, and a wonderful way to support your favorite Buddhist Center. Bring your friends and family!

Suggested donation: $25 to $75.

If you can't make the event in person, you can still help by making a one-off donation - more information here. Thank you!

Day Retreats


Saturdays, 10am to 4pm

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.

Saturday Oct 29: Practice Day with Danadasa

Life, the Universe and Everything - What's that all about?

On this Day Retreat Danadasa will follow up on the theme of Sangha Night this month, looking at ways to find or imagine the central myth that gives our journey and practice meaning. What is the point? What can we rely on? Buddhism talks in terms of going for refuge to, or relying on, the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha - how can this perspective help us to answer these questions?

Meditation, reflection, discussion. Open to all.

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

Pre-registration appreciated and guarantees a place.

Saturday Nov 19: Meditation and Reflection Outside

with Vimalamoksha

A day of collective meditation and reflection outside. Connecting to the deep roots of Buddhist tradition that began out under the shade of trees and huts. We will remember this practice by embodying it. We will meet at the Center at 10am and carpool to the forest for our practice day. Please bring a lunch and away to sit comfortably outside. Open to all.

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

Pre-registration appreciated and guarantees a place.


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

See Affinity Groups

Residential Retreats


Fri, Nov 4, 6pm to Sun Nov 6, 3pm,
at Camp Double Bear, with Padmatara and Viveka

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!

Compassionate Listening

Through meditation, mindful communication and body awareness we will gently explore ways to bring compassion to our internal and external experience. As we learn to listen fearlessly, without an agenda, we can begin to appreciate the full subtlety and richness of our lives. Gradually we can expand our capacity to turn towards all our experience and receive it with kind curiosity, without judging or reacting.

Each day will begin and end quietly with meditation. Mid morning and afternoon sessions will include instruction and guided, mindful dialogue, with free time for hiking or relaxing in the hot tub in the afternoon, and periods of silence. 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. We share cooking and cleaning. Accommodation is in yurts, or there are places to camp if you prefer.

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 24.


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. 


For people in their 20's and 30's

First Saturday of the month, 10am to 2pm. Nov 5, Dec 3

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.

Sat, Nov 5 - taking mindfulness and compassion out into the community

Come join us as we take mindfulness and compassion into the community. We will participate in a mindful oriented act of compassion by volunteering for a deserving community in SF, and as an option, meet afterwards for lunch at Lemonade in Yerba Buena park for a brief meditation and discussion about the day. Please meet at The San Francisco Buddhist Center by 9:30am and we will walk to our destination together. Volunteer activity will be from 10am -1:30pm.

9:30 - Walk to destination (discuss internal dialog about scheduled activity).

10 - 1:30p - Volunteer

1:30 - 3p - Lunch/meditation/discussion about volunteer day.

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.


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)


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


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.