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


Our community is dedicated to supporting anyone wishing to experience and share the benefits of Buddhist practice. This year, more than ever, we are committed to strengthening the connection between personal practice and positive action in the world around us, and providing a welcoming and safe place for all those who want to participate. You are welcome here.

If you are not sure where to start, or if you have questions or comments, please feel free to email or call.

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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, Feb 1 through December, 7pm to 8pm — Drop-in Introduction to Buddhist Meditation (see Courses)
  • Sundays and Tuesdays — online meditation (see Weekly Activities)
  • Wed, March 7 to 28, 7pm to 8pm — Sangha Night Dharma Talk Salon (see Sangha Night)
  • Thur, March 29 — Spiritual Friendship Retreat, with Danadasa in Washington State (see Residential Retreats)
  • Sat, March 31, 10am to 4pm — The Heart Sutra, with Viradhamma (see Day Retreats)
  • Tue, April 17 to May 8, 7pm to 9pm — Meditation and Buddhism Course (see Courses)
  • Fri, May 4 to Sun, May 6 — Weekend Meditation Retreat, with Padmatara, at Jikoji (see Residential Retreats)

Introductory Classes and Courses


Weekly on Thursdays, 7 to 8pm  (last class Dec 20 - no classes in January - program resumes Feb 1)

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 4-week courses exploring meditation, mindfulness and buddhism, Tuesdays, 7pm to 9pm. While we recommend taking all four courses, feel free to take them in the order that suits your schedule and preference.

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

Cost for your first 4-week course: $120 ($90 low-income), then $110 ($80) for subsequent courses. 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.

April 17 to 8, 2018: 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.

May 15 to June 5, 2018: 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.

Fall, 2018: 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.

Fall, 2018: The Metta Bhavana - Cultivating Loving-Kindness

In times of uncertainty or difficulty it can be tempting to harden our hearts and lose touch with our natural capacity to include, love and respect all beings and all aspects of ourselves. Cultivating an intention of kind awareness towards whatever arises in our experience, we can learn to interrupt our habitual reactions and respond more effectively, with more wisdom and compassion. This course will focus on the cultivation of Metta, or love, usually translated as loving-kindness or friendliness.

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)

Regular Weekly Classes and Activities


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.


Sundays at 9pm and Tuesdays at 12:15

Join us for a 30 minute class from your home, workplace, or anywhere your phone has a signal. Download the app at  www.nightlight.me for live, interactive, guided meditations with the SFBC every Sunday.


Wednesdays, 7pm - 9 (doors open at 6:45pm - arrive early if you would like a brief orientation)

Our Wednesday Sangha Nights are dedicated to supporting anyone wishing to experience and share the benefits of Buddhist practice. This year, more than ever, we are committed to strengthening the connection between personal practice and positive action in the world around us, and providing a welcoming and safe place for all those who want to participate. You are welcome here.

Most evenings are informal and interactive. Meditation is followed by a talk, workshop or group activity on a different theme each month.

No particular experience is required, though if you have not meditated before we recommend first attending one of our introductory classes. Suggested donation: $10–$5*, or whatever you can afford.

March 7 to 28 - Dharma Talk Salon

We each bring to this mysterious process of transformation our own unique ways of seeing and relating. No two voices are the same, no two perspectives are identical. During March Sangha Nights, four of our community members will be sharing their experiential journeys along the Buddhist path. By listening to others speak about their practice, we may develop a clearer sense of the unique shape of our own paths.

March 7 - Brad: Flexibility with Practice

March 14 - Pete: the I of Impermanence

March 21 - Micheala: Interbeing: Embodiment and the Sangha

March 28 - MJ: The Taste of Freedom

Day Retreats


Usually the third Saturday of each month, 10am to 4pm

These monthly day retreats are a great opportunity to experience the benefits of retreat without leaving the city. Each month, through meditation, reflection and discussion we will explore a different aspect of practice 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. ($50 or $25 for a half-day.) 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, March 31, 10am to 4pm, with Viradhamma

The Heart Sutra is one of the most famous summaries of Budhhist teachings. For two thousand years it has been recited, chanted and studied by Buddhists all over the world.  Despite its short length it contains some of the most important and inspiring Buddhist teachings, and eloquently describes a path towards ‘wisdom beyond wisdom’ – the experience of Awakening.  The workshop will combine meditation, presentations and opportunities for discussion and creative interpretation. 

Open to all.

Residential Retreats


Only Kindness

Fri, May 4, 6pm to Sun May 6, 3pm, with Padmatara, at Jikoji

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where, like a shadow or a friend. (From Kindness, by Naomi Shihab Nye)

This retreat aims to provide a space to reconnect with beginner's mind - our natural capacity to see through expectations and prejudice and respond to our inner and outer worlds with gentle curiosity and wisdom. People with many years of experience as well as actual beginners are invited to give your practice a refreshing boost, surrounded by the quiet, natural beauty of the Santa Cruz mountains. Meditating together and supporting each other, away from our usual schedule, gives us the chance to go deeper and refresh our perspective on life.

This year our focus is on kindness, refreshing our understanding of what it really means and why it is such an important and unique friend.

Sliding scale*: $265-$200 plus optional dana for the teachers. Please pay what you can afford within the sliding scale. 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 $100 deposit: Wed, April 25.


Sat, Aug 4, 4pm to Sat Aug 11, with possible option to leave Mon Aug 6,
at Lake County Property

A week of meditation and supporting each other in our practice. The retreat will focus on Anapanasati and Sangharakshita's "Living with Kindness".

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 area.

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*: $700 - $550 (Sat to Sat) plus optional dana for the teacher (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.

Register here

Registration deadline with $100 deposit: Sun, July 22.


Fri, Nov 9, 6pm to Sun Nov 11, 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 with meditation. Mid morning and afternoon sessions will include instruction, guided, mindful dialogue, and more meditation. There is space for hiking, yoga, nature gazing, or relaxing in the afternoon. In the evenings we will have some ritual practice. Silent periods will encourage the deepening of experience. 

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 dorms, 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. Deadline with $100 deposit: Wed, Oct 31.

More Retreats

Spiritual Friendship Retreat, at Camp Samish, north of Seattle

Thurs, March 29 to Sun April 1st,

Join Danadasa and Sanghas from Vancouver, Seattle, Tacoma, Missoula at this retreat in Washington State. Follow this link for more information.

Summer Retreat, August 4 to 11 (To be confirmed)

Winter Meditation Immersion Retreat - Dec 22 to 29

More information will follow shortly.

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

These occasional meetings invite us to take a look at how the choices we make have an impact on ourselves and the wider world. Events include meditation, dharma discussion, dinners, and hikes. Feel free to bring your own ideas! Email to join the mailing list for this group.


Occasional 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.