Archive for July, 2012

A Quiet yet Powerful Force

a true story: a quiet, yet powerful force for good

The unlikely story of the arrival of a Japanese priest and the eventual flowering of a major cultural institution we call the San Francisco Zen Center is important to tell because it is a true story. It is a real-life story with real people. It is an inspiring story of dignity, love, patience, beauty, humility, perseverance, integrity, and personal vow. It is also a story that continues to evolve, unfolding in new ways in each moment.

We look around today and see the word ‚ÄúZen‚ÄĚ showing up across our consumer-driven culture in many ways that have little or nothing to do with anything approximating Buddhist practice. But this hardly diminishes the fact that in the five decades since the founding of the San Francisco Zen Center many of the practices, principles, and tenets of Buddhism are now commonplace, woven into the fabric of contemporary mainstream culture. Fostered by the spread of Zen Center teachers and those of other Buddhist schools and lineages, the practice of meditation and mindfulness now informs the lives of doctors, therapists, management consultants, students, athletes, coaches, songwriters, teachers, parents, and countless others.

I recently heard a story about a woman with terminal cancer who recently came to Green Gulch Farm. Her son brought her there for a two-day stay, and though she was not a Buddhist practitioner, she immediately declared, “I totally get the zazen thing.” She then settled into a very peaceful place, resting among the large trees and the coastal air, with the support of the practicing community, while the events of her life and a picture of the end of her life gradually came into clear focus. She left Green Gulch ready to face the remaining days of her life in a way that she would not have been able to without that experience. She died two months later as, according to her son, a calm and composed, “flag-waving Buddhist!” This is only one of countless stories that could be told of people who have come to Zen Center and Buddhist practice and somehow have found their lives changed forever.
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The Capital Campaign is supported by a diverse group of students, teachers, lay practitioners, board members and alumni.

You can contact anyone on the Campaign team by emailing them at and you can reach Anne-Marie Rosché at 415-268-0296.

Work circle at Beginners Mind Temple

Work circle at Beginners Mind Temple

Our effort is led by Zesho Susan O’Connell, the Vice President in charge of Development.

The Capital Campaign Leadership team is:

  • Steve Stucky, Central Abbot
  • Linda Ruth Cutts, Green Gulch Abbess
  • Mary Morgan, Board Chair
  • Ed Sattizahn, Former Board Chair and chair of Board’s Finance Committee
  • Robert Thomas, President

and our staff is:

Anne-Marie Rosché, Manager of Leadership Giving, 415-268-0296,

Barbara Machtinger, Development Researcher,

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Completed Campaign Project: City Center Master Plan

Completed Campaign Project: City Center Master Plan

In line with Zen Center’s goal of “widening the circle” of practice, Zen Center’s leaders envision City Center as a more visible and welcoming hub for contemporary Zen practice and community life.¬†

Many generations have practiced and played in City Center’s Buddha Hall.

A 2010 Vision Task Force identified a shared desire to make public spaces more welcoming and functional for visiting practitioners, while maintaining a safe, supportive environment for residents.

Like the plans completed in recent years at Green Gulch and Tassajara, City Center will develop a comprehensive facilities plan for the campus to continue core residential training programs while offering broader programs for the lay community.

The planning process will include a site analysis and planning, design options, experiential storyboards, and facilitated discussions, resulting in a practical plan for appropriate modifications. Working from the long-term plan will ensure that we balance immediate needs with future priorities.

Read more about this project (PDF)

Update August 19: Thanks to the generosity of a donor who heard and responded our request for this project during the 50th anniversary celebration weekend, we have completed fundraising for this project.

If you are interested in City Center, please consider giving to the City Center Facility Improvements.