Category Archives: Events

22 October – Guest Speaker Sensei Elaine Donlin @ 10:15am

Sensei Elaine Donlin is a fourth-generation San Franciscan native and is so very grateful to be living in the city she loves. She was raised Catholic, attending 12 years of Catholic school, and made a conscious decision to leave the church—at 17 years of age—after struggling with Church doctrine around homosexuality, birth control, and female clergy.

15450584185_ba6a585ac9_k-2Elaine discovered Buddhism through a comparative religion course in college and thus began a 30-year journey of practice in a variety of traditions. Her home is in Jodo Shinshu, a Pure Land Buddhist tradition.  Since 2008 she has been teaching “Essentials of Buddhism” courses at Buddhist Church of San Francisco (BCSF) serves at several Buddhist Church locations and serves as the Buddhist Community Clergy Chaplain for several SF hospitals. Elaine is an ordained priest serving the Resident Minister at BCSF.

Every Saturday we offer early morning zazen (seated meditation), morning service, a brief drop-in meditation instruction at 8:30 am. And again zazen at 9:25 am. We are offered a dharma talk at 10:15 am followed by tea and cookies.

full moon ceremony saturday; Oct 15 @11am

harvest_moon_1This is the full harvest moon –this is the month when the leaves are falling & the game is fattened. Now is the time for hunting & laying in a store of provisions for the long winter ahead. October’s Moon is also known as the Travel Moon & the Dying Moon.

Saturdays include the early morning sitting & service beginning at 6:30am, a brief drop-in meditation instruction at 8:30 am. And again zazen at 9:25 am. We are offered a Dharma talk at 10:15 am followed by ceremony (when applicable) and then tea and cookies and socializing.

Please join us this Saturday and we hope to see you often!

Oct 1st @11am Memorial Service for Bodhidharma (Darumaki)

katsuo-ji_daruma_07Daruma-san, a round red-colored doll, is known as a good-luck talisman associated with temples and shrines. The good fortune associated with Bodhidharma (Daruma) comes from the legend that no matter how many times Bodhidharma fell down he would always get up.

In the areas where silk worms are cultivated, there is a custom of painting in one of the eyes on the Daruma doll if the worms produce much silk thread in spring and painting in the other one of Daruma’s eyes if the worms produced much silk thread in autumn.

bdhmraBodhidharma, the inspiration for the Daruma doll, was originally one of the ancestral teachers of The Soto Zen School. He was the first Ancestors of Zen in China and also known as Bodai Daruma Daishi.

The red Daruma doll seen throughout Japan was originally modeled on this great teacher who sat facing a wall unflinchingly for nine years and lived to the old age of 150.

Bodhidharma died on October 5th. Early autumn is the harvest time in Japan and also the time when the autumn silkworm is cultivated. For this reason, this ceremony includes our feeling of gratitude to Bodhidharma as well as a prayer for a good harvest in the next year. There is also the wish expressed that those who participate in the ceremony will enjoy a long life.

Queer Meditation – Beginning Tuesday, 27 September @6pm


Beginning Tuesday, 27 September, the Hartford Street Zen Center will host a weekly mindfulness and meditation get-together for our LGBTQI community, family, and friends. Continuing in the spirit of our founding Abbot, Rev. Issan Tommy Dorsey, our intention is to extend the special welcome for persons in sexual/gender minorities which Rev. Issan was among the first in the US to make a principle of Dharma study and practice.

This special hour from 6 to 7 p.m. will include mindful sitting, discussion, question & answer, helpful pointers for practice, and perhaps other features of importance to our community. There is no charge, but our temple, Issan-ji (One Mountain Temple), does depend upon donations from the Sangha (the community of practitioners) for its survival, so your generosity is deeply appreciated.

Please feel invited to participate in this Dharma practice event, at a place where LGBTQI students of Dharma have always been welcome.

To learn more of our history, see the excellent biography of Rev. Issan, “Street Zen”, written by his close friend Tensho David Schneider.

May all beings be happy, may they be joyous and live in safety.