November 25, 2014
Our Teachers and Students Need Your Continued Support

Many of us regard San Francisco Zen Center as a place of refuge and replenishment. We take refuge in this community, in our shared practice, and in these places that nourish us. Your support makes it possible for us to be here for you and for others.

Chris Fortin, a Zen priest in the Everyday Zen community who leads the Women’s Lotus Sangha in Sebastopol, remembers when she first came to Zen Center:


Lotus photo by Eijun Linda Cutts

I was 26 when I left Ohio in the mid seventies to drive to San Francisco Zen Center. I had just about exhausted all of my ideas about how to live in this crazy suffering world when I stumbled upon Ed Brown’s newly published Tassajara Bread Book. In it he spoke of a way to live with “a heart of compassion.” I packed all of my worldly possessions in my red VW bug and headed to California.

At the beginning of the “Ingredients” chapter, Ed wrote “Love is not only the most important ingredient; it is the only ingredient that really matters.” Though I wasn’t fully aware of it at the time, my deepest yearning was to find a way to embody and live this most important ingredient. Many years later I heard former Zen Center abbot Zoketsu Norman Fischer describe love as the heart of our practice. And then I discovered the Lotus Sutra, in which Shakyamuni Buddha reveals that we are all Buddhas, waking up to be Buddha. And that the Path of the Bodhisattva is the embodiment of this awakening to compassion and love, right here in this suffering world, like a lotus blooming in the midst of muddy water.

Happily, I have found an inexhaustible way to live every day, which is what I had searched for as a young woman on my journey from the Midwest. I feel an infinite gratitude to San Francisco Zen Center and to the teachers and teachings that provide the refuge of practice and a gateway to intimately knowing this one-hearted way. Together we are this most important ingredient.

We at Zen Center want to continue to be here for you and for all those who seek refuge and replenishment in the Dharma for many years to come. Please consider making a donation today to help make the Dharma accessible to people near and far.

With much gratitude,
All of us at San Francisco Zen Center