Our Programs

Everyday Zen Programs bring the attitude, spirit, and practice of Zen to bear in a wide variety of activities and contexts, both spiritual and secular. Programs include traditional Zen practice (talks, retreats, personal relationship) as well as Jewish and Christian meditation; working with the dying; working with business people, lawyers and mediators; and practicing poetry, literature, and the arts. Norman has traveled all over the world, from Mexico to Canada, across the United States and Europe, to teach, lead workshops, and train people to engage in everyday activities as a spiritual practice in the world. We offer four categories of programs and events:

Zen Training

Everyday Zen’s mission is to change and be changed by the world, mainly through the many activities, small and large, of our students. Learn more about becoming a student with Everyday Zen, receiving the Precepts, and continuing the practice. 

Core Practice & Study Events

We offer many opportunities to practice with our weekly seminar, all-day sittings, study groups and sittings, sesshins, and an annual practice period. Learn more about the many ways to bring Zen into your everyday life.

Other Everyday Zen Offerings

From time to time, our offerings include Zen ceremonies and memorials, workshops, community gatherings, and Zen activism. In addition, Zoketsu Norman Fischer is a prolific writer and poet, with many book readings, interviews, and poetry and dharma events. 

Partner Programs

We partner with many other organizations across the globe, providing guidance on conflict resolution, hospice and end-of-life, and training in mindfulness, meditation, and sensory awareness.

Zen Training

Becoming a Student with Everyday Zen

Everyday Zen is grounded in the actual world we live in. We realize that people lead busy lives with family, work, and sometimes also political, social, or artistic commitments. Everyday Zen has no real estate to maintain, no temple to go to, no doctrine to advance. The center of the practice is your life, not somewhere else. We offer all our programs freely, with the hope that everyone will feel welcome to engage in whatever way works for their lives.

To become a student with Everyday Zen simply attend events as you can. Get to know us. We will get to know you.

Recommended Practices

For those who want to bring the practice of Everyday Zen into the core of their lives we recommend the following:

  • Practice daily meditation at home: morning is the best time. See Tim Burnett’s On Sitting Every Day and Norman’s Practicing Every Day Zen. You might consider sitting with the Everyday Zen Morning Zazen group on Zoom.
  • Attend a Dharma group at least once a week. Everyday Zen’s weekly Dharma Seminar is now hosted on Zoom and/or you might find a group in your area. 
  • Attend an Everyday Zen retreat 1-2x a year and make personal contact with Norman or one of the other teachers in formal practice interview.
  • Stay in touch by listening to audio recordings of Dharma talks.
  • Intentionally apply what you are learning in all phases of your daily life.
  • Our monthly all-day sittings are currently being held on Zoom. We recommend that people attend regularly if they can.

Receiving the Precepts, Continuing the Practice

In Soto Zen, making commitments to continue to practice is highly valued.  This is a natural process that develops over time, as one’s inmost desire to practice for and with others is revealed. Everyday Zen has all sorts of committed students — some of them are rabbis, ministers, Catholic priests, Quaker leaders, or people who follow a secular path. Others after some years of practice sew a rakesu (Buddhist robe) and receive the 16 Bodhisattva Precepts of Zen Buddhism.  

As a Soto Zen priest with Dharma Transmission in the line of Shunryu Suzuki, Zoketsu is empowered to offer precepts to both laypeople and priests. He has ordained many priests on whom he has conferred Dharma Transmission and many lay practitioners who have received Lay Entrustment (permission to teach independently) from him.

Core Practice & Study Events

Bay Area Dharma Seminars

Our weekly Dharma Seminars are an intimate way to study and practice together. The evening includes a period of Zazen followed by lecture and small and large group discussion generally centered on a classical text. Our emphasis is always on the application of the teachings to daily life, and there are often practices assigned through the week. Norman leads the seminar most weeks with senior teachers filling in when he is away. Students are asked to attend all meetings in the calendar month.

Upcoming Dharma Seminars

Bay Area Practice Period

Practice Period is an annual six to eight-week period of intense practice. It consists of many events, including Dharma Seminars most Wednesday evenings, All-Day Sittings, a Sesshin, practice meetings with sangha partners and small groups, special events, and important traditional Zen rituals. Most practice periods have a Shuso (Head Student), a senior practitioner who is training to begin sharing the dharma with others.

Upcoming Practice Period Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Bay Area All Day Sittings

Sitting in the traditional Soto Zen style is a powerful and central part of our practice at Everyday Zen. We typically hold monthly all-day sits in the Bay Area at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, a temple of the San Francisco Zen Center, where Zoketsu practiced for many years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our all-day sittings are instead being held online in Zoom.

Upcoming All Day Sittings

Sesshin

Sesshin means “gathering the mind.” Sesshins are intense meditation sessions usually lasting from five to seven days, with a full schedule from early morning till night, including formal meals and formal meetings with the teacher. In the Bay Area, there is one sesshin each year. Zoketsu travels to other Everyday Zen groups several times each year for sesshins there as well. 

Upcoming Sesshins

Study Groups & Sittings

Study in small conversational groups led by senior Everyday Zen teachers has become an important part of our practice program. Usually offered in weekly or bi-weekly classes of a month or several months in length, these study and practice focus on different topics and texts. All provide opportunities for people to share their practice experience and learn from one another.

A daily morning sitting group on Zoom, introduced by senior students during COVID, and a weekly Metta sitting have become core practice gatherings for many in our community.

Daily & Weekly Sittings

Everyday Zen Morning Zazen
Hosted by Jaune Evans, Bob Andrews, Christopher Dumbleton
Time: Daily (7 days per week) 7:30 – 8:00 am (the Zoom Zendo opens at 7:20 am)
Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81814058944
Meeting ID: 818 1405 8944
Passcode: Zazen (please note the upper case “Z”)

Weekly Metta Sitting
Led by Jaune Evans
Time: Mondays 8:00 – 8:30 am
(following the daily sitting above)
Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81814058944
Password: Zazen

Upcoming Study Groups & Sittings

Other Everyday Zen Offerings

Norman’s Books and Writing

Norman is a poet and writer. His articles have appeared in many Buddhist and non-Buddhist publications over the years, and his books of poetry and prose have reached spiritual seekers and poets around the globe. He sees his writing as a major tool for spreading Everyday Zen’s message of wonder, openness, and love.

Upcoming Book & Poetry Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Other Zen Events

The life of our community is punctuated by a variety of other Zen events. These include traditional Zen ceremonies such jukai (taking the precepts) and the Full Moon Ceremony along with community gatherings, memorials, workshops, and Zen activism. Some of these events are offered through sister practice centers such as Upaya and the San Francisco Zen Center.

Upcoming Zen Events

Everyday Zen Dialogs

These half-day and day-long sessions are led by Everyday Zen priests and sometimes include speakers with expertise in a timely topic. They focus on the relevance of the teachings to the particularities of our daily lives and to the pressing issues of our time. With this, the Dialogues offer opportunities both to deepen friendships and to welcome new people to the spirit of Everyday Zen. Activities include meditation, guided exercises, and open-hearted discussion. 

Watch for Everyday Zen Dialogues in 2022.

Sittings with Affiliate Sanghas

Many senior teachers in Everyday Zen also have sitting and study groups of their own. Students with Everyday Zen are welcome to join these practice events with affiliate sanghas or communities. Under COVID, this open yet interconnected network of practice opportunities has become an important resource for students and teachers alike.

Upcoming Sittings

 

Sangha: Dharma Heart Zen, all are welcome, with Chris Fortin in Sonoma County, CA
Time:
Thursdays, 10:00-11:30 AM PST, ongoing weekly.
Zoom Link

Meeting ID:
830-469-340
Please enter the meeting before the scheduled time so we can begin zazen promptly at 10:00 am.


Sangha: The Heart of Compassion Sangha with Jaune Evans in Point Reyes, CA.
Time: Fridays, 8:00-9:30 AM Pacific Time
Zoom Link
Meeting ID: 875 1882 6935
Passcode: 966211


Sangha: Lotus Sangha, for self identified women, with Chris Fortin in Sonoma County, CA
Format: 30 minutes sitting meditation, dharma talk, discussion.
Time: Tuesdays 5:00-6:30 PM PDT, ongoing weekly
Zoom Link
Meeting ID: 579-090-162
Please enter the meeting before the scheduled time so we can begin zazen promptly at 5:00 pm.


Sangha: White Cloud Zen, led by Alan Block, Onzan Shinsho
Format: Sitting and talking about a buddhist approach to life.
Time: Tuesdays at 6:30 PT,  ongoing weekly
Zoom Link


Sangha: Yulupa Sangha with Mary Ann Sacksteder in Sonoma County, CA.
Format: 30 minutes sitting meditation followed by 30 minutes of book study and discussion. We read aloud one short section each week and discuss it together.
Time: Thursdays, 5:30 – 6:30 PM Pacific Time
Zoom Link

 

Partner Programs

Company Time

Company Time is a series of Buddhist retreats for people working in the business and non-profit worlds, led by Zoketsu Norman Fischer & Marc Lesser. These retreats gather people from diverse professions and occupations who are committed to helping each other develop an active sense of spiritual and ethical practice in our professional and personal lives. The Company Time series began in 1996 and has continued to meet several times a year, with many new, as well as returning participants.

Our schedule includes light yoga, gentle meditation, teachings, large and small group discussions, and time to enjoy a walk at Green Gulch Farm. Newcomers to Buddhist practice, and anyone working in the for-profit or nonprofit business world, in organizations of any size, are welcome to attend.

Upcoming Company Time Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Jewish Meditation

For many years Norman, with his close friend and colleague the late Rabbi Alan Lew, has taught Jewish meditation. This collaboration resulted in the Makor Or Jewish Meditation Retreat Center in San Francisco.

Please see Norman’s talks on Jewish meditation including Introduction to Jewish Meditation and others listed on the right for more information about this vital part of Norman’s work.

Upcoming Jewish Meditations

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Working To Resolve Conflict

For some years now Zoketsu has been working with lawyers Jack Himmelstein and Gary Friedman, who train lawyers and other professionals in mediation and conflict resolution. Their work in developing a model that they call “understanding-based conflict resolution” has been revolutionary and deeply effective.

In recent years they have been working with Zoketsu to include a spiritual dimension in their work, to help mediators develop more balance and depth as they approach situations of conflict. In 2007 Zoketsu and Gary launched a nine month Bay Area program in this work. Five day events are sometimes held at Mar de Jade. See Center for Mediation in Law website.

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Wildland Firefighter Retreats

with Chris Fortin and Lee Klinger Lesser

Sponsored by San Francisco Zen Center, the annual firefighters retreat and ongoing support practice community is a mindfulness-based offering for wildland firefighters. The program is led by Everyday Zen’s Chris Fortin and Sensory Awareness teacher Lee Klinger Lesser as a way of giving back to these communities and supporting our first responders. The intention is to help provide refuge, rest, and renewal as well as trauma-sensitive training in mindfulness, meditation, and sensory awareness.

Watch for this program in the winter of 2022.