Special Events

Occasional courses, workshops, retreats, arts and special interest events. 

Special Events

Accepting donations through Feb 15 - thank you!
Sun, Jan 22, 2023

This event is now over but we are continuing to collect donations through Feb 15 - thank you!

Donate through the SFBC  or through Karuna-USA.
Fear, Grief and Faith:
A Buddhist approach to the climate and ecological crises

A Benefit for Karuna-USA
Come and join the SFBC Green Sangha at the SFBC
Sunday, January 22, 2pm – 5pm, in person
- to watch and discuss highlights from the Triratna Earth Sangha conference at the end of last year.

The climate crisis is a difficult and often scary topic to engage with.  Even so, we can move beyond both the darkness of doomism and a superficially cheerful denial by transcending our habitual responses, such as fear and hope. We can learn about the application of our Buddhist practice to help manage our reaction and develop ways to cope.

This event is a benefit for Karuna USA (https://www.karuna-usa.org/our-purpose) in support of a flood mitigation project in India through Pragya (www.pragya.org).  The goal of this project is to help people recognize flood danger, train women to grow crops that will thrive in flood prone areas, and teach children about climate change.

Please give what you can!   You can donate through Karuna-USA's website, or through the SFBC when you register. (We will collect donations through February 15, 2023, and forward them at the end of February.)

Register below.  Even if you are not able to come to this event, please consider donating. Here is the direct link: https://www.karuna-usa.org/donate

The four talks we selected enter the topic from different, thought provoking vantage points, each offering different ways to be emotionally, ethically and dharmically resourced.

The listed times are approximate.  We'll break around 3:30pm to allow participants to either join or leave the session.

2pm – 3:30pm

Brief Meditation, welcome and overview of the afternoon

1)      Climate Change Impacts in India and the work of the Karuna Trust

A vivid description of Karuna Trust’s work in India around floor preparation, training women to successfully grow crops in flood-prone areas, and teaching children about responding to climate change.

This session frames our donation appeal with reports on the situation in India and more detail regarding the work we are seeking to support 

2)      Collective Grieving Processes – Nico Carey

A compelling, fresh perspective on our relationship with grief.

3:30pm – 5 pm

3)   Bringing the Dharma to Deep Adaptation: relinquishment, restoration and resilience as practice – Akasharaja

A brief presentation and the opportunity to discuss our ideas regarding relinquishment, restoration and resilience

4)   Active Hope and the Triratna System of Practice – What are we really trying to do here – Smritiratna

A broader dharmic view of the climate crisis and our relationship to it.

Closing Ritual

Safety: masks are optional for this event but we ask that you take a home-test the day of attendance and follow our other regular requirements. Thank you for keeping everyone safe!

To Register

Enter the amount you wish to donate in the Event Donation box and click add to cart. Suggested donation is $25, but donations of any amount are very much appreciated. If you prefer to donate directly to Karuna-USA that's fine - enter 0 in the box, and make sure to click 'pay later' on the payment page (otherwise the registration won't work). Drop us an email if you have any difficulty.

A benefit for Returning Citizens Association
Fri, Feb 24, 2023

Film and Discussion Feb 24 at the SFBC

Please join us to watch and discuss a special filmed Interview with Richard Gaines, founder of Returning Citizens Association, an Oakland based organization that is run by and aims to support those impacted by incarceration - "system impacted".  Their work highlights the importance of giving returning citizens a voice and agency in their own rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

Nanasiri conducted this interview.  When she got to know Richard through her work she was deeply inspired by his story, and enthusiastic to share it with a wider audience.

Everyone welcome. Pre-registration required - register through Eventbrite here.  (Since the event is in person please follow our safety requirements - thank you!)

System Impacted means: any individual impacted by the carceral system; but it does not mean that the individual has been arrested or sentenced to jail/prison etc. For example, children of the incarcerated, spouses, relatives, etc. are all system impacted individuals."

We recommend watching the documentary 13th by Ava duVernay (currently on Netflix) for background on why this work is so important. 

Rates of incarceration are high in Black and Brown communities due to a long history of structural injustice. Returning Citizens Association celebrates the resilience of these communities by helping people build networks and get the support they need to blossom when they return home. Everyone benefits when we are all given the chance to contribute.

All donations from February Sangha Nights and from this event will go to this group to help support their work.  

If you cannot make it to Sangha Nights or or to the film on Feb 24 you can still donate directly on their website or through the SFBC here - just choose "special benefit". Suggestion is $25 but whatever you can afford is appreciated. 

Returning Citizens works with Unfolding New Ideas Towards Yourself (U.N.I.T.Y), an incorporated non-profit, as their Fiscal Agent, making donations are tax-deductible. 



Online, March 11, 9am to 11am
Sat, Mar 11, 2023

The SFBC and theBuddhistCenter present:

a morning with Thenmozhi Soundararajan

facilitated by Dayamudra and Viveka

March 11, 9am to 11lam online

More info coming soon

The Trauma of Caste

is a Dalit feminist meditation on survivorship, healing and abolition.

It ties Dalit oppression to fights for liberation among Black, Indigenous, Latinx, femme, and Queer communities, examining caste from a feminist, abolitionist, and Dalit Buddhist perspective-and laying bare the grief, trauma, rage, and stolen futures enacted by Brahminical social structures of the caste-oppressed. It is a love letter to all who would heal from systems of violence and are committed to a visionary future that frees all of us.

April 9 to 22
Sun, Apr 9, 2023

Spring Silent Meditation Immersion Retreat

Two weeks - April 9 to 22, with option to stay first week only

Poetics of Awakening, Led by Paramananda

Awake my dear
Be kind to your sleeping heart
Take it out to the vast fields of light and let it breathe
- Hafiz

The Buddha was known as the awakened one, but what does it mean to really wake up? Buddhism is clear that this awakening is more than just intellectual knowledge, more importantly it is an opening of the heart and imagination to our own deepest nature and our place in the world. During this retreat we will be looking at how we might deepen into ourselves and open to the world through our practice of meditation and ritual.

This retreat is a rare chance to spend 2 weeks meditating together with Paramananda's inimitable guidance, enjoying lots of silence, and supporting each other to go deeper while surrounded by the natural beauty of Dharmadhara.


The retreat will be mostly silent except for teachings, meditation reviews and mindful communication. It's a rare chance to take a break from making conversation and to see what happens when we really let ourselves be. We will provide an emergency number so that you do not need to check your phone.  If you don't feel comfortable putting your device/s aside please consider not attending. 

Health and Safety

We will require everyone to be fully vaccinated, and to take reasonable precautions to protect against infection in the days leading up to the retreat. Please check all our requirements here.  

If you consider yourself at increased risk you should not attend.

We recommend that you don't travel long distance since there is always the risk of cancelation or illness in these uncertain times, but if you do, please be sure you have refundable tickets and/or a back-up place to stay.

Food and Work Periods 

All food is vegan, with eggs and dairy options on the side. To simplify cooking and cleaning in silence we have a cook to organize lunch and dinner, and everyone on the retreat chooses a task that they can do every day - either preparing breakfast, chopping vegetables, or cleaning dishes. If you have a preference please let us know in advance. There is also a clean up session that we all share at the end of the retreat. 

Free Time

There will be plenty of free time to hike or stroll around the area or relax. 

Meditation Experience 

This retreat is for people who have a good amount of meditation experience, and have attended at least one silent retreat. If you're not sure please feel free to email us


Is a rustic residence with a very beautiful shrine room, located  in Lake County – about 2.5 to 3 hours North of San Francisco. The main building has a kitchen, dining room, sitting room with wood burning stove, 7 small dorms, some with 2 beds, some with 3 beds, 3 indoor toilets and 2 showers. There are no private rooms. If you do not feel comfortable sharing a room with others we may be able to find space in the living room or shrine room, depending on numbers attending, so please get in touch about this before you register.  There is also the option to camp, although it will be cold, and possibly raining or snowing. 

Travel and Carpooling

If you need help organizing a ride please let us know and we will do our best to get you there. If you are driving and can offer rides, please also let us know. Thank you! 

I'm sorry that we cannot arrange airport or train station pickups. (See health and safety above.)

Registration and Payment

To register enter the amount you wish to donate in the Event Donation box and click add to cart. You can pay in full now, or reserve your place with a $200 deposit.  In the event that we need to cancel we will refund all payments. 

Please pay the highest amount you are able within the range shown - this helps us to cover the cost of the retreat leader, the cook, and others needing help with costs.  

Cost for the full retreat (13 nights April 9 - 22) $1300 to $975

For the first week only (7 nights April 9 - 15) $750 to $550

When you get to the checkout you will have the choice to pay now through paypal/credit card, or pay later.  (If you click pay now and don't actually pay now, your registration won't go through - contact us if you have any problems.)  Checks are payable to San Francisco Buddhist Center - Triratna.