Your moment of Zen

JohnsAltar1small.jpgMany in San Francisco are familiar with the San Francisco Zen Center on Page St., an organization with a rich history in the life of the last 50 or 60 years of the city and the source of inspiration of several books, including Crooked Cucumber and Shoes Outside the Door.

Less well known, but also closely woven into the fabric of life in the city, is the Hartford Street Zen Center, located in a Victorian house half a block from Castro. It’s a much smaller and less busy place than the big Zen Center, and for that reason attracts people who might be intimidated by the large, almost institutional quality of the Page St. organization. Both are Soto Zen temples founded by disciples of Shinryu Suzuki.

Hartford Street’s October newsletter leads with a moving story of a small altar built by prisoners at San Quentin in memory of their recently deceased teacher, the Rev. John King. When I sat at Hartford St. for several months in 2002, King — who, like me, was raised a Lutheran — welcomed and encouraged me. I knew he was chaplain to the Zen group at San Quentin and it was touching to read in the newsletter about the convicts’ tribute to their teacher, who died in August.

Also in the newsletter is a nice story about the family of the original owner of the Hartford St. property and how they returned to the house to spread their grandfather’s ashes in the garden.

The Hartford St. Zen Center has meditation every weekday morning and evening, and a meditation class and talk on Saturdays. See their newsletter for a schedule.

1 Comment so far

  1. tyler82 (unregistered) on October 27th, 2006 @ 2:37 pm


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