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February 7, 2017


Dharma Buddy Welcoming Program at City Center

Over the next four weeks, some of the residents at City Center have volunteered to wear this sticker and become a Dharma Buddy for the day as a way to welcome newcomers to Beginner’s Mind Temple.

Many newcomers have said it would be helpful to have someone to answer their questions during the public program. On Saturdays, this begins with zazen instruction at 8:40 am in the Buddha Hall, followed by zazen at 9:25 in the zendo. There is also a dharma talk at 10:00 am, followed by tea and cookies and a chance for a Q&A with the speaker. A public lunch is available by donation at noon.

Our public programs are offered free of charge, and donations are warmly accepted.

Whether you are a newcomer or a regular visitor to City Center, please look at out for these orange and white stickers—and feel free to ask any of us a question about Zen practice, meeting with a teacher, or any other question about practice that comes up for you. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll try to find someone who does.

We look forward to seeing you at one of our Saturday programs soon—and please let me know if you think this program is helpful. Email:

With warm bows,
Ryugin Rita Cummings
Vice President – Operations

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. David Stopher
    Mar 13 2017

    Dharma advice for new Zen students: Have your time at SFZC be like a time away from your usual speed of life. Learn the forms, the decorum such as walking in shasshu with eyes down, keeping silent during work period and putting on shoes. Choose or ask for a teacher – I don’t know how this works at Zen Center now – for questions about practice. About practice: it won’t be therapy or discussions about politics. Attend zazen, study, lectures, ceremonies, then just leave. Go home. Talk with friends, family. If you live in the neighborhood, chances are you will make Dharma friends. If you stay at any of the centers, you may also make closer friends there. Smaller centers are often more social. I studied at City Center for about nine years. My friends were fellow students living in the neighborhood. Almost no one living in the center. Only teachers there. I was ordained in 1995 at Austin Zen Center by a student of a close student of Suzuki Roshi. So many people participate in a priest ordination. I felt embraced by the Sangha and the lineage. I don’t know if it is like that at City Center. Enjoy your practice and your life. I am very grateful to so many. Love, Rinchen David Stopher

  2. Nadine Lau
    Oct 11 2017

    Dharma Buddy was also used for several practice periods for students to pair up and study on their own together and bring back to the practice and share. It’s nice to see this concept evolve to include new visitors, regular visitors, and just about anyone who might have a question about anything. It helps for someone new to see quickly who they can address their questions to by looking for a orange Dharma Buddy sticker. It gets kinda crazy in the front office some times so its really helpful to have these greeters to step in with a welcoming smile and engage someone entering the temple for the first time.


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