Hartford Street Zen Center – Issan-ji, Myō shū zan

We are a San Francisco, Castro District neighborhood temple and residential practice center in the Soto Zen tradition of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi.

We are an open, supportive and encouraging community space for people of all gender and gender identities or expressions and all sexual orientations; who come together to practice and experience or gain knowledge of the Dharma (Buddha’s teaching), in the form of the Japanese school of Soto Zen.

We practice this ancient and still relevant, beneficial and life changing way as it is best practiced, in community (Sangha) to support and care for one another. You are welcome, invited and encouraged to join us. We host morning and evening zazen (meditation) sessions as well as Saturday speakers, monthly one-day sittings, and a variety of community events. Currently, the center can accommodate five resident Students or Priests.

Founded by Rev. Issan Dorsey and the Gay Buddhist Club in a Victorian house in the Castro district, Hartford Street Zen Center is the organization responsible for Issan-ji (One Mountain Temple), Myō shū zan (Mountian Name), a neighborhood temple and residential practice center in the Soto Zen tradition of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. The center was also the site of the Maitri AIDS Hospice in the 1990’s, which now manages its own facilities.

Rev. Myō Denis Lahey

Rev. Myo Lahey

Rev. Myō is the Abbot at Issan-ji, Myō shū zan as well as Practice Leader at Valley Streams Zen Sangha in Sacramento, California, and has previously served as the Practice Leader at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.

A Dharma heir of Tenshin Reb Anderson, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Soto Zen Buddhist Association of North America (SZBA) and is a member of the Association for Sōtō Zen Buddhism of Japan (ASZB). Raised in an observant Roman Catholic home, Myō was drawn to religion and spirituality at an early age and found Zen Buddhism in his teens. He began sitting in 1969 with Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and practiced with many San Francisco Zen Center practitioners and teachers, including Issan Dorsey. Rev. Myō is available to the entire community for dokusan (practice discussion) by appointment.

Click here to view our ethics statement

Click here to read about the roles of HSZC, Issan-ji temple

Ceremonial Services

Hartford Street Zen Center is available for hosting ceremonial occasions such as Weddings, Commitments, Funerals, Memorials, Baby-Namings, and Comings-of-Age. Please contact Rev. Myō for more information.


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