Upcoming Event Listings

All upcoming events at the San Francisco Buddhist Center:

This Month :: Classes and Courses :: Regular Weekly Classes :: Special Events :: Day Retreats :: Residential Retreats :: Affinity Groups


Our community is dedicated to supporting anyone wishing to experience and share the benefits of Buddhist practice. This year, more than ever, we are committed to strengthening the connection between personal practice and positive action in the world around us, and providing a welcoming and safe place for all those who want to participate. You are welcome here.

If you are not sure where to start, or if you have questions or comments, please feel free to email or call.

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Coming up (in date order)

This section lists special events, course start dates, registration deadlines and other announcements. For a summary of upcoming events, see the calendar. You can sign up for our email list to be notified of upcoming events.

  • Weekday Mornings 7:30am to 8:15am — Meditate with others any weekday morning (see Weekly Activities)
  • Wednesdays 7pm to 9pm — Sangha (Community) Night - open to all (see Sangha Night)
  • Thursdays, 7pm to 8pm — Drop-in Introduction to Buddhist Meditation (see Courses)
  • Wed, June 7 to 28 7pm — Sangha Night: Buddhist Action Month (see Sangha Night)
  • Fri, June 9 6pm to 8pm — Buddhist Travel Stories: A year-long on solitary retreat in New Zealand (see Day Retreats)
  • Sat, Jun 17 10am to 1pm — Morning Retreat - Release (see Day Retreats)
  • Wed, July 5 to 26 7pm — Sangha Night: The Four Foundations of Mindfulness (see Sangha Night)
  • Sat, July 8 10am to 4pm — Drawing and Mindfulness (see Day Retreats)
  • Sat, July 22 10am to 4pm — The Four Foundations of Mindfulness (see Day Retreats)

Introductory Classes and Courses


Weekly on Thursdays, 7 to 8pm 

Each Thursday we offer a brief introduction to meditation and lead through one of two main practices: Mindfulness of Breathing and Loving Kindness (Metta). This is a very good place to get a feel for meditation, meet our teachers and discuss what you might do next. No experience necessary. Drop in as often as you like. Suggested donation: $10-5.


Four month training course: Four 4-week modules, 7pm to 9pm

Would you like to experience the many benefits of meditation and mindfulness in your daily life? This year we are offering a comprehensive four-month training that aims to provide the necessary tools and support for a consistent and deepening practice of mindfulness, kindness and wisdom.

The training is divided into four 4-week modules that will be repeated in the Fall. Take them all in one go, or spread them out, depending on your schedule and preferred pace.

Each module will explore meditation and the benefits of kind attention through a particular doorway, delving into different practices and the wisdom behind them to discover their full potential. Each will include instruction, guidance, practice and plenty of time for discussion and questions, plus optional individual practice reviews. Open to complete beginners and anyone wishing to refresh, support and deepen their practice.

Each module is four Tuesday evenings, 7pm to 9pm - see below for upcoming dates.

Cost for the first 4-week module: $120 ($80 low-income), then $110 ($70) for subsequent modules. You can pay by check (to FWBO, 37 Bartlett St, SF, CA 94110), or through just give or paypal here.*

Please register by sending an email with your name and the course title.

Fall 2017: The Mindfulness of Breathing

Exploring the Mindfulness of Breathing practice, using the sensations of breathing to ground our awareness in the body, allowing us to meet the stresses of everyday life with more kindness and stability, to create a more intimate inner connection, and to be mindful of the beauty, the habits, and the wonder available in each day.

Fall 2017: The Metta Bhavana - Cultivating Loving-Kindness

In times of uncertainty or difficulty it can be tempting to harden our hearts and lose touch with our natural capacity to include, love and respect all beings and all aspects of ourselves. Cultivating an intention of kind awareness towards whatever arises in our experience, we can learn to interrupt our habitual reactions and respond more effectively, with more wisdom and compassion. This course will focus on the cultivation of Metta, or love, usually translated as loving-kindness or friendliness.

Even as a mother at the risk of her life, watches over and protects her only child, so with a boundless heart let one cherish all living beings. (From the Metta Sutta)

Fall 2017: Meditation and Buddhism

Meditation is the cultivation of an attentive and kindly mind. It goes without saying that Buddhist tradition is not the only place where we find this expressed. It can be found throughout humanity both implicitly and explicitly in myriad beautiful forms of practice that stretch back for many millennia. Nevertheless, the Buddhist tradition shows us how we can effectively engage with and transform our mind in a distinctive way, by looking at how we interpret ourselves and the world we experience. A serene, warm and engaging aspect of mind can be recognized and nurtured through meditation, but our interpretations and feelings can confuse, undermine and potentially reverse this process. Clarifying our understanding about the method - what makes our effort effective and what undermines it - can give us the confidence and inspiration to keep it up.

This course will include meditation with periods of reflection and discussion about what we are doing in meditation. We will look at meditation as one part of a holistic approach to being in the world in a more engaged, effective and happy way.

Fall 2017: Mindfulness in Everyday Life

Mindfulness is the ability to give our undivided attention to the present moment and to wholeheartedly engage with what needs doing. It enhances all experience. In this course we will learn how to apply mindfulness to our day-to-day activities and bring greater joy, depth, and spaciousness into our lives. No experience necessary. The course is based on the book: Life with Full Attention: A Practical Course in Mindfulness, by Maitreyabandhu.

Regular Weekly Classes and Activities


Group sits open to anyone with a meditation practice. No instruction. Doors open by 7:25 for a 40-minute sit starting at 7:30. If you arrive late and the door is locked please do not interrupt the meditation — come back next time! Also see Introductory Classes.

SANGHA NIGHT- OPEN TO ALL - Wednesdays, 7pm - 9 (doors open at 6:45pm - arrive early if you would like a brief orientation)

Our Wednesday Sangha Nights are dedicated to supporting anyone wishing to experience and share the benefits of Buddhist practice. This year, more than ever, we are committed to strengthening the connection between personal practice and positive action in the world around us, and providing a welcoming and safe place for all those who want to participate. You are welcome here.

Most evenings are informal and interactive. Meditation is followed by a talk, workshop or group activity on a different theme each month.

No particular experience is required, though if you have not meditated before we recommend first attending one of our introductory classes. Suggested donation: $10–$5*, or whatever you can afford.

June 7 to 28 - Buddhist Action Month (BAM)

Around the world Triratna Centers are holding events and sharing ideas for taking action and taking care of ourselves so that we can respond with wisdom and compassion. This month at the SFBC we will look at Right Action - what it means for us, what supports us to act without causing harm, and how we can best take care of our internal and external resources.

June 7: Danadasa will introduce the series.

June 14: Dayamudra will reflect on the 4 Reminders taught by the Buddha, exploring how they can empower us to live with more gratitude and more joy, and meet the suffering of the world with resilience.

June 21 and 28: Vimalamoksha and others will explore Right Action and Right Livelihood.

see also Day Retreats

Drop in to any evening or come for the whole series.

July 5 to 26 - The Four Foundations (or Abidings) of Mindfulness

With special guest, Paramabodhi - see also Day Retreats

This series can be seen as a short course, culminating in a day retreat at the center, or each event can be attended and experienced as a one off.

We find reference to The Four Foundations of Mindfulness in the Pali Canon and the original teachings of the Buddha. We could say that the teachings of Mindfulness are fundamental to Buddhist Practice, and have been for the entire history of Buddhism. This is as relevant today as ever, perhaps more so ...

Each evening will consist of practical guidance with meditation and time for discussion. We will look in turn at each 'foundation' or aspect of Mindfulness in a very practical and straightforward way. This can be experienced as a refresher to those very familiar with these teachings, or as more of an in depth introduction.

The emphasis will be on practical, applied mindfulness in a contemporary context.

Paramabodhi was one of the founders and a resident teacher at The SFBC for 6 years in the 90's. In recent years he has been revisiting to run retreats and workshops here. This year he will be resident for the month of July. Also known as Hugh Mendes, he teaches Drawing and Painting at Masters level in London. He has an international career as a professional artist, exhibiting regularly in London, New York and Los Angeles.

Special Events


Friday, June 9, 7pm to 9pm

Please join us for an evening of slides, stories and dessert, as Kiranada shares her experience of a one year solitary retreat at the Triratna Buddhist Community Retreat Center, Sudarshanaloka, on the North Island of New Zealand.

This is a fundraiser for the SFBC Retreat Center: suggested donation: $10-40, or whatever you can afford.

Day Retreats


Third Saturday of each month, 10am to 4pm

These monthly day retreats are a great opportunity to experience the benefits of retreat without leaving the city. Each month, through meditation, reflection and discussion we will explore a different aspect of practice and see for ourselves how it relates to living well today. They are open to anyone interested in the topics, and no particular experience is required, though if you haven't meditated before you might consider taking on of our introductory classes.

Cost: $75 ($35 low income) or whatever you can afford. ($50 or $25 for a half-day.) You can pay by cash, check or credit card on the day, or in advance through just give or paypal here. *

Pre-registration appreciated and guarantees a place.

Saturday June 17, 10am to 4pm: Practice Day

Buddhist Action Month - Release, with Dayamudra

Before action, let's pause. Join us for this 3-hour urban retreat to embrace silence and stillness, so that we may release and then act to meet the suffering of the world with compassion. An opportunity to completely unplug and reflect on how the Buddha's wisdom can guide us in these trying times.

Dress comfortably for restorative yoga.

This is part of the SFBC's Buddhist Action Month - see Sangha Night.

Saturday July 8, 10am to 4pm: Practice Day

Drawing on Mindfulness, with Paramabodhi

A day spent drawing at the SFBC. Suitable for all. Experienced artists to complete beginners. One can see drawing as fundamental to most visual artistic practice. The Buddhist Center provides an interesting backdrop and context for drawing, perhaps emphasizing elements of concentration, focus, emotional positivity and stillness.

Materials will be provided, but please bring with you any materials you like to use. Please also bring objects to draw such as familiar or unfamiliar objects, special personally treasured objects. Small, large, different materials and surfaces, etc....

Paramabodhi is an artist (aka Hugh Mendes) living in London. He enjoys bringing Mindfulness and Art together in ways that allow us to step out of our usual habits and ways of seeing things, bringing a new creativity and freshness to our perspective. No experience required. Open to all.

Saturday July 22, 10am to 4pm: Practice Day

Mindfulness, with Paramabodhi

Paramabodhi will continue the theme of Sangha Night, exploring the Four Foundations - or Abidings - of Mindfulness. Open to all.

Residential Retreats


Fri, Nov 10, 6pm to Sun Nov 12, 3pm,
at Camp Double Bear

Our annual women's weekend retreat is a wonderful opportunity to spend a weekend practicing together in the relaxing natural beauty of the Santa Cruz Mountains. We hope you can join us!

Each day will begin and end quietly with meditation. Mid morning and afternoon sessions will include instruction and guided, mindful dialogue, with free time for hiking or relaxing in the hot tub in the afternoon, and periods of silence. All activities are optional and while we invite you to enjoy the flow of the schedule and stretch your comfort zone just a little, we also encourage you to listen to your body and participate in whatever way is most helpful. We share cooking and cleaning. Accommodation is in yurts, or there are places to camp if you prefer.

Food Work Periods: Vegetarian food and simple menus are provided and cooking and cleaning are shared by everyone on the retreat. If you have a preference please let us know in advance.

Open to all levels of experience, but if you have not taken one of our meditation courses please contact us or drop-in to our Thursday classes.

Sliding scale*: $265-$200 plus optional dana for the teacher. If you are unable to come because of money please contact us as we are sometimes able to offer reductions.

Register here. Deadline with $100 deposit: Wed, Nov 1.


Fri, Dec 22, 6pm to Fri, Dec 29, 3pm (option to leave Sun 24)

Our annual winter meditation retreat is a priceless opportunity to spend a week away from our normal conditions, in silence, supporting each other and being supported by the natural beauty of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Silence: the retreat will be mostly silent except for instruction, meditation reviews and some mindful communication. It's a rare opportunity to take a break from making conversation and to see what happens when we let ourselves be.

Food and Work Periods: Vegetarian food and simple menus are provided and cooking and cleaning are shared by everyone on the retreat. If you have a preference please let us know in advance.

Free Time: Camp Double Bear is a lovely place and there will be time to explore the area, hike and/or just relax and enjoy the surroundings, including the hot tub.

Open to all levels of experience, though some meditation experience is recommended - if you have not taken one of our meditation courses please contact us or drop-in to our Thursday classes.

Sliding scale*: $700 - $550 (Fri to Fri) or $265-$200 (leaving Sun 24) plus optional dana for the teachers. If you are unable to come because of money please contact us as we are sometimes able to offer reductions, depending on numbers.

Register here by Dec 10, with $200 deposit.

More information about retreats.

Retreat calendar and registration here.

More information about retreats.

Retreat calendar and registration here.

Affinity Groups

Affinity groups allow individuals to gather on a basis of a shared interest, identity, or ideals. 


For people in their 20's and 30's

Usually third Thursdays, 7pm to 9pm.

These meetings invite us to take a look at how the choices we make have an impact on ourselves and the wider world. Email for information or to join the mailing list for this group.


Occasional montly meetings, usually Thursday evenings

An opportunity for those who identify as Queer Women to meditate together and explore our unique experiences in applying the dharma to all aspects of our lives. We are currently taking a break but please email us if you're interested or if you have suggestions. Donation based. *

PEOPLE OF COLOR SITTING GROUP, Sunday every few months, 1-3pm - no class currently scheduled.

If you are a person of color with a meditation practice or with an interest in developing one, then these gatherings would be of benefit. Instruction is offered by Viveka . Donations welcome. * (more information)


Occasional meetings and day retreats for people in recovery from addictions of all kinds.


Unless otherwise stated, all fees and donations go toward operating costs of the San Francisco Buddhist Center, a nonprofit organization. Teaching at this Center is done by volunteers.

For events with a sliding scale, please pay what you can afford within that range, or contact us in advance to arrange a further reduced rate.

The suggested donation given for most of our regular events is there as a guide and you should feel free to pay more if you can and less if you need to. Make checks out to the "FWBO" (Friends of the Western Buddhist Order - this is still our bank account name). Please give your name and the reason for your donation. Thank you! To pay online by credit card go here for just give, or here for paypal.