For Newcomers

Welcome to the San Francisco Buddhist Center!  The classes and courses below are for people with little or no previous experience of meditation or Buddhism, or anyone wanting a refresher.

Twice a year we usually offer a series of four introductory courses: Mindfulness of Breathing meditation; Metta Bhavana/Loving Kindness Meditation; the Foundations of Buddhism; and Mindfulness in Everyday life.  In September and October 2022 we intend to hold classes in person, though we hope also to offer alternatives online.  

We also have many events open to people with all kinds of experience who are interested in going deeper. Please take a look at our Sangha Night, Retreats and Special Events listings. 

If you would like to know more about the SFBC Sangha, please visit our About Us page.

Courses and classes

4 week meditation course beginning Tues Sep 13, 7pm to 8:45pm
Tue, Sep 13, 2022

In-person Course 4 Tuesday evenings, Sep 13 to Oct 4, 7pm to 8:45pm

This course is now full - please email to be on the waiting list and we will let you know if a space opens up.

Would you like to live more creatively, with more freedom, kindness and wisdom, and less fear, irritation and confusion?  The Buddha practiced and then taught meditation for this very purpose, and the practices are readily available to everyone.  

Mindfulness of the Breathing Body, (or just Mindfulness of Breathing), is a beautifully simple and deeply transformative practice, where we use the sensations of breathing to ground our awareness in the body, so that we can open to the events of everyday life with more spaciousness, clarity and sensitivity. 

Practicing in class and at home, we begin to recognize our less helpful habits without always following them, allowing space for new possibilities to emerge. Gradually our relationship with ourselves and others and the world around us becomes easier, more appreciative and attentive.

This is a friendly, practical, easy to follow four-week course. Ideally you will be able to attend at least 3 of the 4 classes. There will be led meditations each evening with time for questions and sharing our discoveries in a safe and welcoming space. 

Suitable for complete beginners to meditation as well as anyone wishing to refresh their practice.

Since this class is in person we have safety requirements - please check them here. However, as things stand, we plan to make masks optional, at least at least while meditating. 

See also Meditating with Kindness

This course is currently full - please email to be on the waiting list. 

To register: enter the amount you wish to donate in the Event Donation box and click add to cart. Suggested donation is $150 to $110.  Donations are very much appreciated but if you are experiencing financial difficulties please feel free to enter a lower amount or enter 0 and click 'pay later' on the payment page. (If you don't click "pay later" the registration may not go through.)

Thank you!  

4 week course beginning Tues Oct 18, 7pm to 8:45pm
Tue, Oct 18, 2022

In-person Course 4 Tuesday evenings, Oct 18 to Nov 8, 7pm to 8:45pm

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)

The metta bhavana, or cultivation of loving kindness, is a powerful meditation practice that teaches us how to bring a friendly, kind, curious attention to ourselves and to other people, and to whatever arises in our experience, softening harsh self-criticism and judgment and bringing a sense of ease and openness to our participation in the world. 

In this 4-week online workshop we'll explore different ways to do the practice so that everyone has what they need to continue effectively at home.  The course is friendly, practical and easy to follow. There are led meditations each evening with plenty of time for questions and sharing our discoveries in a safe and welcoming space.

Suitable for complete beginners to meditation as well as anyone wishing to refresh their practice. 

Since this class is in person we have safety requirements - please check them here. However, as things stand, we plan to make masks optional, at least at least while meditating. 

See also Mindfulness of Breathing

Please register by Monday 5pm Oct 17 

To register: enter the amount you wish to donate in the Event Donation box and click add to cart. Suggested donation is $150 to $110.  Donations are very much appreciated but if you are experiencing financial difficulties please feel free to enter a lower amount or enter 0 and click 'pay later' on the payment page. (If you don't click "pay later" the registration may not go through.)

Thank you!  

in person only
Thu, Dec 15, 2022

We're very happy to say our Thursday drop-in class in person will begin once again on Oct 6. Join us then or any following Thursday evening, 7pm to 8pm, for an informal class introducing one of our meditation practices and sitting together.  

Vaccinations are required, and masks are optional for this class. Please check our main safety requirements here. 

Our two main introductory practices:

Mindfulness of the breathing body, (or just Mindfulness of Breathing), is a beautifully simple and deeply transformative practice, where we use the sensations of breathing to ground our awareness in the body, so that we can open to the events of everyday life with more spaciousness, clarity and sensitivity. 

The metta bhavana, or cultivation of loving kindness, is a powerful meditation practice that teaches us how to bring a friendly, kind, curious attention to ourselves and to other people, and to whatever arises in our experience, softening harsh self-criticism and judgment and bringing a sense of ease and openness to our participation in the world. 

Please arrive a few minutes before 7pm.

Mindfulness of Breathing
Thu, Nov 3, 2022

Online Course 4 Thursday evenings, Nov 3 to Dec 1 (skipping Nov 24), 7pm to 8:45pm

Would you like to live more creatively, with more freedom, kindness and wisdom, and less fear, irritation and confusion?  The Buddha practiced and then taught meditation for this very purpose, and the practices are readily available to everyone.  

Mindfulness of the Breathing Body, (or just Mindfulness of Breathing), is a beautifully simple and deeply transformative practice, where we use the sensations of breathing to ground our awareness in the body, so that we can open to the events of everyday life with more spaciousness, clarity and sensitivity. 

Practicing together in class and on our own between classes, we can begin to recognize our less helpful habits without always following them, allowing space for new possibilities to emerge. Gradually our relationship with ourselves and others and the world around us becomes easier, more appreciative and attentive.

This is a friendly, practical, easy to follow four-week course. Ideally you will be able to attend at least 3 of the 4 classes. There will be led meditations each evening with time for questions and sharing our discoveries in a safe and welcoming space. 

Suitable for complete beginners to meditation as well as anyone wishing to refresh their practice.

Pre-register for information and to receive the zoom link.

To register: enter the amount you wish to donate in the Event Donation box and click add to cart. Suggested donation is $150 to $110.  Donations are very much appreciated but if you are experiencing financial difficulties please feel free to enter a lower amount or enter 0 and click 'pay later' on the payment page. (If you don't click "pay later" the registration may not go through.)

Thank you!  

not yet scheduled
Tue, Nov 29, 2022

4 Tuesday evenings, 7pm to 8:30pm, in person.

Buddhism is a vision of human existence. It is also a practical guide that we can apply to every aspect of our lives.  Meditation and buddhist principles, practiced together, bring us closer to our direct experience, dissolving our misperceptions to reveal the boundless potential and precious opportunity of life. 

Central to Buddhist practice is a deep desire to understand suffering and the means to end suffering; to discover the "magic of the ordinary";  and to live in harmony with ourselves and those around us.

This introductory course aims to bring us closer to the principles of buddhist practice and experience its liberating potential. 

What you will learn:

  • Introduction: what buddhist traditions have in common
  • The relevance of the historical Buddha for us today
  • The Buddha's teachings
    • The Four Noble Truths: suffering, cause of suffering, cease of suffering, Noble Eightfold Path
    • Three marks of human existence.
    • Buddhist meditation - why meditation is important in Buddhism, and how Buddhist principles help us go deeper with meditation.
    • Working with the transformation of difficult emotions and perceptions.

There will also be time to discuss topics that arise during the course.

The course is informal, interactive, and friendly, and is open to anyone interested in Buddhism for its own sake, or as a means to support and deepen meditation practice. 

Registration information will be provided when dates are confirmed.

Thank you!  

Not yet scheduled
Tue, Feb 8, 2022

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.

Open to complete beginners and anyone wishing to refresh, support and deepen their practice. 

This course is one of four courses in our Meditation, Buddhism and Mindfulness series running twice a year. 

Registration will be available when dates are confirmed.

Thank you!