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Recent Articles


The Ten Oxherding Pictures: An Interview with Kyoshin Wendy Lewis

By Cat Li Stevenson

Kyoshin Wendy Lewis has been practicing at San Francisco Zen Center since 1987, including living for six years at Tassajara. She was ordained by Sojun Mel Weitsman in 1997, and completed Dharma Transmission with Eijun Linda Cutts in December of 2012. She will be teaching an online class this Fall on The Ten Oxherding Pictures 10/08-11/19.

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A Bow of Gratitude to San Francisco Zen Center Volunteers

For the past several years in September, City Center has hosted a dinner for volunteers whose constant efforts help to keep the temple open and functioning. This year we are unable to offer our thanks in person, but we want to acknowledge their vital contributions to the practice life of San Francisco Zen Center. Truly the volunteers and the residents together are the strong threads that weave the seamless fabric of this practice. Read more


Volunteers Keep Green Gulch Farm at the Farmers Market

Each Friday at 9:30am, former Green Gulch Farm apprentice Vanessa Caldarelli and her team of three (Jess Nelson, Kate Sylvan, and Leia Layus) set up a stand at the Mill Valley Farmers Market. They are there on a volunteer basis so that GGF produce remains available to the public. 

GGF farmers would normally run the stand, but due to Covid-19 and the need to limit exposure within the community, Vanessa and her team have volunteered to help run things this year. Read more


Ten Directions

Reaching Out in the Ten Directions: How Sangha Members Are Helping in Their Communities


During this time of shelter-in-place, we are facing huge challenges in the area of public health as well as social and political upheaval. It is easy to feel powerless and confused about how to act effectively in the world; how to help. Those who, before Covid-19, were actively involved in volunteering their time and energy in support of the poor, the imprisoned, and the ill have found most of those face-to-face, warm-hand-to-warm-hand avenues closed. “How can I help?” is a question many of us face. Read more


Nourishing the Ancient Forest: An Interview with Myles Cowherd

Myles Cowherd (Dharma name: Ancient Forest, Wonderous Awakening) is the Director of Donor Relations, a new position at SFZC. In this interview, Myles shares how he came to Zen and how his new position is an opportunity for him to share the teachings of generosity and abundance.

Sangha News: First, let’s talk a bit about you personally. When did you come to San Francisco Zen Center and how?

Myles Cowherd: I became a resident here at City Center in September 2013 to attend Paul Haller’s Practice Period. And before that, I’d done stints at all three of the temples as a guest student though a recommendation from Gil Fronsdal.  Read more


New Online Engaged Family Practice Program

Starting on Sunday September 6, the Youth & Family Program that was usually held on Sundays at GGF (and online since May) will be put on pause and a new 10-month online program will take its place. Called Engaged Family Practice, the group will meet online each month to explore a theme based on social, racial, or climate justice, and then engage in a project based in their own communities related to that theme. 

Meikyo Chelsea True has been running the Youth & Family Program for several years now and is looking forward to coordinating this new program. Jeffrey Schneider recently spoke with her about her involvement in Buddhism, Green Gulch Farm, and the new Engaged Family Practice program. Read more


Search for SFZC’s New Vice President and Secretary (UPDATE)

UPDATE: The description for the Vice President position has been updated and the application period extended to September 20. The Secretary position is in the process of being filled and is not accepting new applications. 

San Francisco Zen Center is beginning the search for our next Vice President and Secretary. These vital roles will help shape the future of SFZC during this difficult time. Both positions will start sometime this Fall.

The search will be run by the Governance Committee of the Board of Directors. We invite applications from all interested and qualified candidates. Full job descriptions, listing both duties and qualifications, are available online here (for VP) and here (for Secretary).

If you would like to apply, please email a letter of interest and current resume directly to Dan Zigmond, our Governance Chair, at by August 30, 2020. All applications will be received in confidence. The Governance Committee will request further information from qualified candidates after that deadline and conduct formal interviews of finalists in September.


HeartMind: An Interview with Artist Suiko Betsy McCall

By Cat Li Stevenson

Suiko Betsy McCall

Sangha News interviewed artist, founder, and Abbess of the Art Monastery, Suiko Betsy McCall. Suiko and Green Gulch Farm Abiding Abbess Fu Schroeder will be co-leading the online HeartMind: Art & Zen Workshop on August 28 – 30.

SN: Could you share a bit about your connection to SFZC?

I was a farm apprentice at Green Gulch Farm in 2014. When it was over, it was a big decision whether to stay on as a resident or go back to my life in Oakland. I ended up back in Oakland for a while and then came back to GGF for the January Intensive and eventually did a practice period. I started a romantic relationship with Qayyum Johnson, who was the Farm Manager, and lived with him there for a few years, splitting my time between GGF and Art Monastery. Read more


Saturday Sangha Study Group is Online

The Saturday Sangha has been an important and vital part of City Center’s practice life for the past twenty years. Before the Covid-19 pandemic closed the temple to visitors, each week non-residential practitioners came together on Saturday mornings to provide a variety of services: greeting newcomers, helping in the kitchen, and supporting in the zendo for zazen and the Buddha hall for lecture by sounding the liturgical instruments that signal the times and chants. They met during lunch, ate together, and engaged in study and discussion led by a senior priest.

The original inspiration for the group came from Teah Strozer who was Tanto (head of practice) of City Center at the time. When asked about her reasons for starting it, she said “I wanted to find a teaching venue for myself as head of practice and to support lay practice (non-residential in this case) more consciously and specifically.”   Read more


Clean Slate & the Botany of Zen: An Interview with Marcia Lieberman

By Cat Li Stevenson

Congratulations to Marcia Lieberman on the publication of her new book Clean Slate: Images From Dogen’s Garden. In this book, Marcia combines Dogen’s writings with photographs of the plants he might have seen while living in 13th C Japan. The book’s purpose is not to make a scientific analysis but to consider and imagine what beauty may have provoked his writing. 

Marcia Liebermasn is a teacher at San Francisco Zen Center and a photographer. Sangha News recently spoke with her about Clean Slate
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