We welcome families and children of all ages to join us in practice. SMZC offers several ways to introduce children to the sights and sounds of a spiritual practice space. We hold a Children’s Saturday once a month with supervised art activities during our regularly scheduled program. We also arrange Parent Swap so families can alternate watching children and attending our full Saturday program. Twice a year, there are Kids’ Overnights for families to camp on the center grounds and participate in light meditation periods together.
May 24-25 Family Camping Under the Stars Program
September 28, December 14 2019
Kids' Saturday 10:15 - 1:00p.m. Free
It's a wonderful opportunity for first time visitors to experience the Spirit of Zen Practice on a Saturday weekend. More details...
$10 minimum suggested donation.
5:15 a.m. meditation
5:50 a.m. walking meditation
6:00 a.m. meditation
6:40 a.m. sutra chanting
6:55 a.m. oryoki breakfast
8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. work practice
9:00 a.m. meditation instruction
10:30 a.m. meditation
11:00 a.m. Dharma talk
12:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. buffet lunch (except August and February)
Learn the basics of Zazen meditation and how to extend its Stillness into Everyday Life. The workshop includes both instruction on Zen forms and informal discussions on Buddhist thought. The schedule includes short periods of seated meditation, outdoor walking meditation, discussions, and a vegetarian buffet lunch.
March 2, June 1, November 2 Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Non-members $65 (P)members $45 (G)members $55
Explore the fundamental teachings of Buddhism as foundation and inspiration for daily practice in a six week course. The book will be “The Mountains and Waters Sutra: A Practitioner's Guide To Dogen's Sansuikyo" by Shohaku Okumura. Syllabus to be determined.
October 1 - November 12 Tuesdays 7:30 p.m.
Non-members $65 (P)members $55 (G)members $60
Learn to sew a rakusu in a class in preparation for Jukai, receiving Buddist precepts for lay ordination. Participants will take part in an ancient tradition from the time of Shakyamuni Buddha. Over the course of several weeks, you will complete an intricate interweaving pattern of Buddha’s rakusu with single minded focus, silently repeating refuge vows with each stitch. The sewing unifies body and mind due to its silent continuous effort.
April 21 - May 26 Tuesdays 7:30 p.m.
Purifying The Mind
Wabi-cha is ritualized Japanese Tea Ceremony which harmonizes the body and mind of quiet simplicity. This program presents an opportunity to study tea in the Omote Senke tradition. Learn how to receive sweets and tea and become more familiar with the etiquette and forms in a tea gathering. Relax in the peaceful temple setting of Sonoma Mountain Zen Center. Investigate meditation in action and connecting with one another in each moment. For more details...
Saturday April 11 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Saturday October 5 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
$30 (includes saturday program/lunch)
Discover elegance through the art of Japanese flower arrangement. We teach the fundamental sculptural forms fundamental to Ikebana and the principles of line, mass, and color. Instructors will demonstrate basic techniques and participants will complete two arrangements. Led by Alexa Young and Rachel Anderson, certified Ikebana teachers and long-time students of Soho Sakai, Riji.
$80 (includes $30 material fee)
Enjoy live performances, browse local arts and crafts, and eat bento boxes under the live oaks. The annual bazaar hosts Sonoma County and North Bay artisans selling woodwork, sculptures, weavings, fiber and bamboo art, photography, ceramics, soaps, calligraphy, handmade jewelry, teas, honey, and more. Proceeds go to local vendors and the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center’s Mandala Project.
2019 we will have a temple benefit TBS instead of the bazaar.
Sonoma Mountain Zen Center invites all our members, old and new, to bring their favorite dish and break bread with friends and families of the Sangha. There will be a brief period of zazen, an update on current events and the Mandala Project. and the opportunity to renew our vows by offering incense in the zendo. A delicious Potluck will follow outdoors.
Saturday April 18 and October 26, 2019 10:30 - 1:00 p.m.
Bring your entire family and many friends to commemorate the Birth of Shakyamuni Buddha. We will have a flower festival with a traditional ceremony of pouring sweet tea over the baby Buddha with hundreds of people in the zendo. After the ceremony, a lively outdoor reception with a variety of foods from participants will be shared.
Sunday April 5, 2020 1:00 - 4p.m.
$10 donation appreciated
Start the new year with a clean slate and peaceful mind at our traditional New Year’s celebration. We will eat a delicious meal of traditional longevity noodles, in the Sangha House. After a short zazen in the zendo, exactly at midnight each of us will take turns, striking the bonsho (great bell) a total of 108 times, burning away old Karma in a short ceremony. Refreshments follow the ceremony.
December 31 Tuesday 10:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.
$20 donation appreciated
Breathe new energy into the center with friends and family of the Sonoma Mountain Sangha. This biannual event is a chance to work on the zendo and temple grounds in the spirit of together-action. A casual fun atmosphere with lunch, snacks, and beverages provided. (No meditation or lecture schedule.)
September 14, 2019 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
ROHATSU & SUNRISE SERVICE FOR SUZUKI ROSHI
Settle in on an all-night sitting to commemorate Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment on December 8th and Shunryu Suzuki-roshi’s death on December 4th, 1971. We sit continuously from midnight to 4:00 a.m. ending with Atonement vow. At 6 a.m. we gather together for a memorial procession to Suzuki-roshi’s stupa, where we chant,
express our gratitude, and watch the sun rise through the trees. Breakast follows at 7a.m.
$10 donation appreciated
Friday December 6th 12:00 a.m. to Saturday December 7th 4:00 a.m.
“Sangha life is just like a pearl: there’s much rubbing, and the more agitation there is, the more pearl-like our lives become.”
Students with a serious interest in Zen training can apply to live as a resident at the center under the guidance of Jakusho Kwong-roshi. This program is for practitioners willing to commit at least one year to intensive practice, though two years are strongly recommended. We advise applicants to practice Zen at least one year before considering this commitment.
Residents are fully incorporated into our community and as such, participate fully with mandatory attendance in daily zazen schedule, work practice, retreats, and all other activities that support hosting and the maintenance of the Zen center. Every month there is a one, three, five, or seven day sesshin intensive. Every February and August, we hold a month long Ango practice period. Our schedule is highly structured as our effort to support focused and selfless training.
This is an intimate residency situated in a quiet countryside. There are usually around ten residents, and we often host guest residents staying anywhere from three days to three months. Our larger Sangha includes about one hundred members, from nearby cities, out-of-states and European countries. While our practice emphasizes individual Zazen practice, our community provides ample opportunity to connect with others who support our spiritual endeavor.
A fee of $550 per month covers room and board and participation in all our programs, events, study groups and sesshins. Scholarships are available for students with particular skills and work experience. Qualifying students receive room and board, meals and Zen training programs free of charge plus a small monthly stipend after six months. The center closes the last two weeks in December, and after one year, residents receive an additional week of vacation.