San Francisco Zen Center

San Francisco Zen Center

San Francisco Zen Center
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Beginner's Mind Temple (Hosshin-ji), also known as City Center, was established in 1969 by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi as a training center in the Soto Zen tradition open to the general public. Offerings include daily meditation and service, semi-weekly dharma talks, classes, workshops, residential student programs, and the opportunity to discuss one's spiritual practice with an experienced Zen practice leader. If you are new to Zen Center, we suggest you visit us on Saturday morning at 8:40 am for an introduction to Zen Center and meditation practice followed by a public lecture, tea and lunch.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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Tours and Tickets

The area
Neighborhood: Lower Haight
How to get there
  • Van Ness • 8 min walk
  • Church St • 10 min walk

8 reviews
Very good

georgia h
107 contributions
cultural landmark
Jul 2019 • Friends
look on the internet before your visit to understand the history of what you will see, the Zen center history has largely influenced the founding of Esalen and many cultural figures, beginners are welcome and various lengths of stay can be arranged
Written July 7, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Adam S
Nepal18 contributions
This is Potemkin Zen
Apr 2018 • Solo
I was a guest student for 18 days last spring. The 18 days was unfortunately significant because no one in authority could count that high.

This sounds like a joke, or hyperbole but it is ..unfortunately..the complete truth. On arrival I paid a two day deposit and then paid in advance for 18 days and the three humans in the office got confused. And basically stole and then lied about stealing and then hid in webs of gosomer and vaguely happy thoughts and passive aggressivity that was remarkable.

All to combat a lack of skills one normally has in first grade.

There were two separate events regarding this issue. The day rate is 25 dollars, it really isn’t a lot of money and the building is lovely and I had such hope hopes..based upon their excellent Pr..I was just really and truly shocked by the incompetence and obnoxious sneering stubborn refusal of facts.

In the first room were two long term volunteers and Teri Kota the head of working visitors.during the first resolution of overpayment for one night she airily said, this is Zen! With the arrogance one usually reserves for the statement

Madam, this is Versailles!

Accountants were called upon..and lied to .,by ms. Kora. I was called to the principles office.i mean the abbot for further instruction in passive aggressive staring. The joy of that meeting was an added layer of antisemitism ..and I’m not one to use that term lightly..or I will revise and call it an antic New York bias.

I speak with my hands. This is a big no no in zen. But mister abbot did not take other factors into account during a conversation. Despite the mandatory pre abbot principle convo..this was a conversation not a silent motionless meditation he was criticizing.

Resolution! Hurrah!
Apparently I needed this conflict because it reflected my inner life

Ok, I said, still with the program. And furthering his argument I asked politely, SO, it was what Teri needed also? Did I speak for the multitudes who have been abused by her

Nope. The answer was a resounding , bellowing NO! Absolutely not! Get out of my office
And I was back to the default setting of SF Zen center which manages to meld the absolute worst elements of Japanese culture ( the reliance on role rather than performance) and the worst of now elderly hippies (unearned arrogance and long and short term memory loss over brains that were never to sharp to begin with)

The punishment btw for mentioning the stealing and then the lying was I cleaned ALL the bathrooms in the joint, which I did, mindfully and just for the hell of it.

This was before the second event..the second extra charge. These people are A bunch of mean girls. It pains me to say it as I was as taken as everyone else is by the externals.
Written February 18, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Andrew H
Poznan, Poland155 contributions
Stay awhile...
Jan 2018 • Solo
For as little as $25 per night one can stay in an oasis of tranquility and contentment, with meals included, in a central location, surrounded by people who are committed to leading an ethical and compassionate life.
There are expectations. No smoking. No alcohol. No meat. Getting up at 5 for group meditation. Doing a bit of work around the place (a lovely Julia Morgan building). Etc.

Written January 25, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Lysaker, Norway1 contribution
Great stay
Nov 2016
What a wonderful way to stay in the middle of SF. I had a great room on the third floor with views of the city. Every morning I chose to take part in house meditation and services before breakfast, what beautiful way to start your day. The food was good and everyone very nice.
Written November 16, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kelly S
San Diego, CA21 contributions
I love this place
Dec 2013 • Solo
I found htis place in Dec. of 2013. I went on a Guest student saty to discover more about the Zen tradition and meditation. my week here took me down a path of growth, love and friendships. I cannot tell you how at home the residents made me feel. Not kidding I still dream of packing it all up and moving in with everyone.

On a historical note. You can walk around the building and discover it is a Julia Morgan building, also the architect of Hearst Castle. You are surrounded by the most amazing artwork and sculputers that you can see outside of Japan. The library is filled with beautiful old books but the real history can be found in the residents.

I will forever love this place and call it a home.
Written August 2, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kai C
Half Moon Bay, CA964 contributions
A gem!
Jul 2014 • Friends
This is an amazing place located in a historical building designed by Julia Morgan for single Jewish women fleeing persecution in Europe. Its central location is an enclosed garden with a fountain, statues and lovingly tended plants. Now the preeminent zen center in the Western hemisphere, it is a place for serious meditators on solitary and group retreats. On Saturdays, it opens its doors to everyone interested in zen, providing a public lunch which tends to be a delicious soup + salad combo. It is a spiritual refuge in the rapidly gentrifying area... that has played a key historical role in Western Buddhism. Its approach to Buddhism today has been strongly interested by its founder, Shunryu Suzuki.... as far as I am concerned, it is one of the top places to visit in SF.
Written July 20, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sarasota, FL149 contributions
Great Experience with Western Zen Practice
Sep 2012 • Solo
My wife and I attended a nightly Zazen meditation and dinner. The people were more than welcoming. The meditation experience was very useful. I highly recommend it to all interested visitors. for more info
Written December 27, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kathryn D
Mill Valley, CA38 contributions
Green Gulch Farm, not to miss
Nov 2011 • Solo
If you want to experience the soul of Marin County, come to Green Gulch Farm. It is a farm and garden center that includes facilities for retreat and meditation on site, so the contemplative air infuses everything. The gardens are open to the public every day, and there is a public footpath that leads straight to the beach.
You can call ahead to request a lunch (always soup and salad) for a modest contributiion, and the dining area, particularly outdoors, is a feast for the senses, clear and serene. fisherman's wharf.
Written November 28, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Frequently Asked Questions about San Francisco Zen Center

San Francisco Zen Center is open:
  • Mon - Fri 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Sat - Sat 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

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