Bay Zen Center

A Zen Practice For Everyday Living


We are a lay Zen Buddhist sangha, or community, offering a Zen Mindfulness path that is down-to-earth, practical, and centered in the understanding that it is in the heart of our daily life—in the workplace, at home, through relationships, in the community—that we can learn to engage with clarity, intelligence, and love. The foundation of our practice rests in the Zen Mindfulness Buddhist tradition, but we are open to teachings from other wisdom traditions. We welcome beginners and experienced practitioners and people of all backgrounds. 

Everyone is welcome. We are wheelchair accessible.


Our Offerings

New To The Center?

We love it when people come by and check us out, so please feel free to attend any of our scheduled sittings. You do not need to call ahead. Please wear appropriate clothing: loose, comfortable, subdued colors. No shorts, tank tops, or hats in meditation room.

There are chairs, sitting cushions and sitting benches for you to choose whichever you are most comfortable with. Just come in and sit in whatever position works for you.

Our meditations are usually no longer than 35 minutes and if you need to move during that time, please feel free to change your positions. When meditations are longer, you may get up at any time and do walking meditation or use the bathroom.

Our zendo, or meditation room, is cell phone free. Please do not bring cell phones into the room, even if they are in the “off” or “silent mode” position. They can be safely left on the shoe rack just outside the zendo.


 Weekly Meditation Schedule

Monday Morning, 7:00 – 8:00 am

You may come and leave as you need. You may also do seated zazen or kinhin for whatever length of time you wish. A bell will begin and end the hour.

Wednesday Evening, 6:30 - 7:30pm

You may come and leave as you need. You may also do seated zazen or kinhin for whatever length of time you wish. A bell will begin and end the hour.

Saturday Morning, 8:30 am – Noon

You may attend any portion of the schedule. However, if you wish to have a private practice consultation meeting with the teacher (Dokusan), please plan to attend the entire schedule.

8:30 – 9:05: Sitting Meditation

9:05 – 9:15: Walking Meditation

9:15 – 9:45: Sitting Meditation

9:45 – 10:10: In House Community Work Practice

10:15 – 10:50: Sitting Meditation

10:50 – 11:00: Service

11:00 – noon: Dharma Talk

The Saturday schedule is usually followed by an informal tea.




Gathering Heart and Mind in Silent Stillness

Sesshin is a time for us to take pause from the usual engagements, responsibilities and busyness of our daily lives and to touch and gather heart and mind through extended periods of silent meditation. It is an opportunity for us to reflect more deeply and to renew our capacity to be completely present and awake with ourselves and the world. The days are structured in silence to include sitting and walking meditation, dharma talks, meetings with the teacher (Dokusan), body awareness practice, eating and rest. Although there will be a schedule, everyone will be encouraged to engage in it according to their personal physical requirements.

All sesshins are held at our dharma center in Oakland. The two day sesshins begin on Friday at 6:30 pm and end Sunday afternoon at 4:00 pm thus offering an opportunity for people to attend without having to take time off from work. The four day sesshins begin on Wednesday at 6:00 pm and end Sunday at noon. Those who live close by will go home to sleep in the evening and those traveling from a distance can either stay with local members in their home or make their own outside sleeping arrangements. There is also space at the zen center for sleeping, but people provide their own bedding.

2019 Schedule

November 6 (6 pm) – November 10 (noon)


To register for sesshins, download and complete our Sesshin Application. Make your payment through PayPal or include a check with your application. Mail your application to 3824 Grand Ave., Oakland, CA 94610

Call 510-596-3087 or write the center if you want a hardcopy application mailed to you.

Applicants from out of town will receive a letter or email informing them of their acceptance within a few days after their application is received. All others can assume that they have been accepted unless they don’t hear from us within two days after the deadline date.

If you have any questions regarding sesshin please contact the Sesshin Director noted on an application or send an email to:



An Introduction to Zen Mindfulness Meditation


With the demands and pace of contemporary living, many people find it increasingly difficult to feel balanced and grounded in meeting the challenges of everyday life.  In short, it can be difficult to find a way to tap our inherent capacity for peace and well being.

This class will help you begin this path by teaching you some of the fundamental practices for self awareness and acceptance.  This is the foundation of Zen Mindfulness Meditation.  Anyone, regardless of religious belief, social or education background can benefit greatly from this practice.

The class comprises three progressive weekly sessions on Monday nights from 6:30 to 8:30. The next class is scheduled for:

November 4, 11, and 25.

Classes fill quickly, so register early. We are sorry but we cannot accommodate drop-ins. You must register ahead of time to attend. All classes are held at the Bay Zen Center, 3824 Grand Ave, Oakland 94610.

The cost for each series of 3 classes is $50.00 – $80.00 (Or whatever you can afford.) Register on-line and pay either by mailing us a check or online with PayPal.

If you have questions please leave a message with your name and phone number at 510-596-3087.



Private meetings with the teacher


Our teacher meets regularly with members and is available to have a short meeting with non members who are interested in discussing their practice with a teacher. Dokusan is offered mostly on Saturdays and we ask that you arrive at 8:30 and plan to stay for the full session until after the lecture, or dharma talk. If you would like dokusan, please speak to the person who welcomes you when you arrive.