Archive for August, 2012

Campaign Updates

Groundbreaking for Green Gulch Passive House. Photo by Judith Keenan

Campaign Updates

Widening  the  Circle
a  vision  of  interconnectedness  and  possibility

Public Phase Summary: August 10, 2012
(Download PDF)

Update 3: October  22, 2010
(Download PDF)

Update 2: February 15, 2010
(Download PDF)

Update 1: October 21, 2009
(Download PDF)


White Papers

a  quiet,  yet  powerful  force  is  a  zen   master  arriving  at  the  airport

The First in a Series of White Papers on the Future of the San Francisco Zen Center
By Robert Thomas, San Francisco Zen Center President, November 20, 2009
(Download PDF)

the  zen  practice of balancing  the  books

The Big Picture on San Francisco Zen Center’s Long-Term Financial Sustainability
By Robert Thomas, San Francisco Zen Center President, June 2, 2010
(Download PDF)

Campaign Projects

View a list of all Widening the Circle Campaign Projects.

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Share Your Questions

Share Your Questions

As we build this website we try to address the most common questions we are asked about the Capital Campaign.¬†I’m sure we’ve missed many possible questions, though.

So to help future readers, please ask any questions you might have that we haven’t yet answered.

Leave any comment or question you might have below or email us at¬†and I’ll write back to you with the answer and incorporate the new information into the website.

Thank you for your interest and engagement in helping to make this communication space work for you and for all of our sangha.

with bows,


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Completed Campaign Project: Green Gulch Farm Infrastructure

Completed Campaign Project: Green Gulch Farm

The long-term restoration plan for Green Gulch calls for developing structures that reflect Zen Buddhist values and integrate Zen Center’s presence harmoniously with the local ecosystem.

Tending the fields at Green Gulch Farm

Tending the fields at Green Gulch Farm

The central organizing concept of the long-term restoration plan is a commitment to restoring Green Gulch Creek to pre-1900s conditions as fully as is practical and to providing healthy habitat for humans and other forms of life in the Green Gulch ecosystem.

The Green Gulch Farm plan identified significant infrastructure needs that are being funded by Zen Center’s Widening the Circle campaign. These include:

  • Repairs to the Guest House and Wheelwright Center roofs
  • Renovation of Hope Cottage
  • Repairs to the main access road
  • Accessibility improvements in central pathways and landscaping
  • Zendo Pond dredging
  • Improvements to the septic systems
  • New signage
  • Improvements to the teahouse and teahouse garden
We have reached our fundraising goal for this project! Thank you for your interest and support.

Completed Campaign Project: Green Gulch Farm Passive House

Completed Campaign Project:
Green Gulch Farm Passive House

Identifying the necessity for more and better student housing nearly a decade ago, Zen Center has completed a building to meet the needs of Zen students who have chosen to devote their time and energy to residential practice at Green Gulch Farm.

Green Gulch Farm Passive House

Green Gulch Farm Passive House

The focus of this project is to meet the housing needs of eight mid-level staff, allowing them to make room for new students.

The architectural firm of JSW/D was engaged to design the structure, led by Helen Degenhardt, and Ken Sawyer, a former Green Gulch resident and principle of Sawyer and Son Construction was the project contractor.

From the beginning of the long-term vision and restoration plan for Green Gulch, the Green Gulch Farm community has been fully engaged in discussions regarding the design process of the student housing, and their requests and needs were folded into the architectural drawings.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in October 2010 and an opening ceremony was held in September 2011.

A First in California

This building is the first multi-person dwelling to be certified as a passive house in the state of California. Passive housing design results in an energy consumption decrease of 90% over normal to-code buildings.

The completed project will be assessed by an organization called Build-it-Green, which will give Zen Center a green score based on items such as gray water runoff and the use of recycled materials. This score will serve to set a standard for all future Zen Center building projects, allowing us to measure the success of our intentions and commitment to sustainable practices.

Although this project is complete, we are continuing to raise funds to undergo significant remodeling to Cloud Hall, the residence for newer residents and practice period students. Learn about the Cloud Hall project.

Zen Mind Virtual Practice Center

Zen Mind Virtual Practice Center

Zen Center has had three Practice Centers since the 1970s. We are now adding a fourth practice center that you can enter any time, anywhere in the world, online.

Zendo at Green Gulch Farm

Zendo at Green Gulch Farm

With an ever expanding, international sangha, we are providing a virtual practice center to serve the needs of practitioners who, for whatever reason, cannot come to the three physical practice centers.

There will also be new resources for all members of the sangha, near and far.

High quality online offerings require financial support as much as the purchase of land or a building does. Web design, photo archives and streaming dharma talks are critical resources and offerings that need your support.

The budget for this project is $400,000 and the community has already raised $307,000 toward this goal. Please help us raise the additional $93,000.

Make a Gift to this Project