Bay Area Practice Period

Our twelfth annual Bay Area Practice Period is set to begin on Sunday, September 25, 2016, and will run until Sunday, November 20, 2016. Please read on if you want to consider joining the Practice Period either as a Bay Area or a long-distance, web-based member.


What is a Practice Period?

Practice Period is an ancient Zen Buddhist tradition. It is a special time set aside each year when practitioners make personal and collective commitments to intensify their practice.

Traditionally, Zen practice periods take place in monasteries. In nonresidential Western Zen sanghas, events at the temple define the Practice Period.

The practice of our Everyday Zen group is focused not on what happens at a temple, but on everyday action in our relationships, our work, and our regular sitting, which often happens at home.

And so, Everyday Zen practice periods depend on the integrity of the personal commitment each person who joins will make, as well as the strength of our shared intention and mutual support.

For those of you living some distance away from the San Francisco Bay Area (where Practice Period involves our coming together, person to person, for practice) we offer a web-based option for participation.  This option enables you to practice more intensively wherever you are, in solidarity with the Bay Area group, using website-based recorded talks of Practice Period seminars and other events, as well as email or phone contact with Practice Period leaders and participants.  

A Zen Practice Period often features a senior student who serves as Shuso, or Head Student, assisting the Practice Period Teacher in leading the practice period. The Shuso gives special talks and seminars, and the Practice Period usually concludes with a Dharma Inquiry Ceremony (Shuso Hosenshiki), during which participants ask questions and receive answers from the Shuso. Long-distance participants will be able to submit a question for the ceremony, and also will be able to hear the Shuso’s seminars and talks online.

This year our Shuso will be Zen priest Jaune Evans — Ando Kanchi  (Peaceful Land, Enduring Wisdom) — who has been practicing Zen for many decades. Jaune and Norman were priests together at the Zen Community of New York in the 1980s.

How do I join?

Simply fill out the application form  below and email it to Kathleen Martin at

The deadline for receipt of the Practice Period application is Monday, September 12. This is a firm deadline.

Is there a fee for joining the Practice Period?

There is no set fee for the Practice Period, but some of the events you may choose to attend in the Bay Area do have fees. Registration for these events is separate. Please check the Schedule section of this website for information about the various events.

Please note, too, that Everyday Zen is entirely dependent upon the donations of students and practitioners, so if you are participating in the Practice Period and are able to make a donation, your generosity and support will be deeply appreciated. 

For long-distance participants:

Please read the following information for Bay Area participants, and in addition, see the long-distance practice period guidelines, below. 

For Bay Area participants: 

For participants who are able to attend EDZ events in the Bay Area, below is a brief schedule for the Practice Period.  We ask you to make a special effort to commit to coming to as many of these events as possible. Especially important are:

  • the Shuso Entering Ceremony (which will begin the All Day Sit on Sunday, September 20) 
  • the Dharma Inquiry Ceremony (which will conclude the All Day Sit on Sunday, November 20). 


Sept. 12   Practice Period Applications Due
Sept. 25   All Day Sit and Shuso Entering Ceremony (NatureBridge at Marin Headlands). Ceremony will start at the beginning of the day, about 9:30.
Sept. 28    

Dharma Seminar, led by Norman. "Introduction to Lojong: Compassion." (All Dharma Seminars will be held at the Community Congregational Church, Tiburon.)

Oct. 5


Dharma Seminar led by Shuso Jaune Evans. "Transform Bad Circumstances into the Path"

Oct. 8  

Workshop at Green Gulch with Norman on Time—Dogen's teachings on time. (Please register with Green Gulch.)

Oct. 12    

Dharma Seminar, led by Jaune. "Make Practice Your Whole LIfe"

Oct. 19     

Dharma Seminar, led by Norman. "Assess and Extend"

Oct. 24 to

Oct. 30


Annual Practice Period Sesshin (from Monday late afternoon - Sunday morning, at the Santa Sabina Center, San Rafael). The Shuso will be giving two talks during sesshin.

   (no Dharma Seminar on October 26 because of Sesshin)

Nov. 2


Dharma Seminar led by Norman. "The Discipline of Relationship"

Nov. 9


Dharma Seminar led by Jaune. "The Discipline of Relationship"

Nov. 13


"Watering Seeds of Compassion in the Midst of Fear and Anger" EDZ Dialog with Chris Fortin and Jeff Bickner. Deer Run Zendo, Corte Madera, 10:00 to 4:30.

To register, please email:

Nov. 16



Final Dharma Seminar of Practice Period. "Living with Ease in a Crazy World"

Nov. 20  

All Day Sit and Shuso Dharma Inquiry Ceremony (NatureBridge in Marin Headlands). Ceremony at 4 pm, followed by a reception. You can come for the ceremony only, if you're unable to attend the all day sitting.

The Shuso will also be offering Practice Period Teas & Discussion to Bay Area participants. The dates and locations will be announced.


Please remember to register separately for the sittings and any other events you will be attending, including sesshin and Dharma Seminars.


Our theme for this Practice Period is "Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong" (from Norman's book of this title, readily available online). This theme will be the subject of our seminars and dharma talks during the practice period. 

Sangha Partners

A sangha partner is a person in the Practice Period with whom you speak, in person or on the phone via Skype, at least three times during the Practice Period. Your partner could be someone you request or someone assigned at the beginning of the Practice Period. We will send suggestions about how to keep your communication focused and practice-oriented.

Personal Commitment

Finally, we ask each member of the Practice Period to make a personal commitment to intensify his or her practice in whatever way possible. This might include more sitting at home, more study or reading, work on a particular practice theme in your daily life, or some appropriate personal alteration in lifestyle.

So these are the elements of the Practice Period for local Bay Area people:

1)    a commitment to attend as many practice events as you can from September 25 to November 20

2)    a commitment to meet with the Shuso for a practice period tea

3)    a commitment to speak to your sangha partner at least three times

4)    a commitment to intensify your personal practice


For Long-Distance Practice Period participants:

We would suggest some version or combination of the following:

  1. Daily sitting practice.
  2. Listening each week to the dharma seminar talk posted on the website, and to other dharma talks given during this period.
  3. Going to a local meditation group once a week, if possible. 
  4. Keeping in contact with an Everyday Zen Practice Leader through phone appointments and/or email at least twice a month (about four times) during this period.  Contact information for your Practice Period Leader will be emailed to you.
  5. If possible, coming to the Bay Area once during the Practice Period for any of the Bay Area events listed above.
  6. Emailing a formal dharma question during the last week of the practice period (November 13-20) that Shuso Jaune will respond to via email.
  7. Working with your Everyday Zen Practice Leader to pick a dharma theme that you will be paying attention to in your daily life during the Practice Period.
  8. Staying in touch with a sangha partner who will be assigned to you. Your sangha partner will be another long-distance Practice Period member (if there’s someone you would like to be assigned to, you can let us know in the commitment form). We suggest three phone calls, Skype appointments, or emails during the Practice Period.  We will send suggestions about how to keep your communication focused and practice oriented.

Once the practice period begins, you will receive the name and contact information for your sangha  partner, and you will also receive an email from your Practice Leader to arrange for further communication. 

Who are the Everyday Zen Practice Leaders for this Practice Period and what are their qualifications?

The Practice Leaders are senior members of the Everyday Zen community who have been studying for a number of years (usually more than ten) with our teacher Zoketsu Norman Fischer. They are ordained Buddhist priests or lay teachers. All of them work in the world and live lay lives, though they practice regularly and help to lead the Everyday Zen community in the Bay Area. 

The Practice Period the Leaders will be announced soon. Please check back.  

Practice Period Application Form

(please copy this form and paste into a new email and then send that email to Kathleen Martin at by September 12.




Date and place of birth:


Address, Phone, Email, as well as best times to contact:


Your work and family situation:


What intention brings you to make a commitment to join this Practice Period?


What experience have you had with spiritual practice?


What has been the main focus of your current practice?  Do you imagine it will change during this Practice Period?


Is there someone in the Practice Period who you’d like to work with as your sangha partner?  Who?


Events (if any) you will attend during the Practice Period:


Personal commitments to intensify your practice: