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New to Zen?

Are you new to Zen? So was Buddha!

Zen is a word that means meditation. About 2,500 years ago, Buddha sat still and patiently observed body, heart and mind with openness, curiosity, and compassion. Then, Buddha stood up and explored living for the benefit of all beings. We still practice this way today at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate. Below are some suggestions for entering Zen practice.


Enter the Gate:  Come to Meditation Instruction.

We invite you to begin by attending our Zen Meditation (zazen) Instruction in our online zendo Sunday mornings at 8:45 am for an orientation to our style of meditation practice. Please register for instruction by sending an email to If you are unable to come on Sunday mornings, please email us so we can arrange meditation instruction on another day.

Listen to our introduction to sitting meditation.

Learn to “speak Zen” at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate – here is a glossary.


Follow your Wayseeking mind by practicing meditation and exploring the teachings.

We offer sitting meditation most days of the week.

Our Sunday program and Thursday Beginner’s Mind program are great places to start for beginners. Our regular Sunday program includes sitting meditation, walking meditation, dharma talk and discussion, and temple work practice. The morning ends with tea and social time.

On Thursday evening, the Beginner’s Mind program begins with a period of zazen and then reading and discussing sections from Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki, the first teacher of San Francisco Zen Center.

We also have many Dharma podcast episodes and suggested readings to support your journey.

Take a class or workshop.


“Always keep your beginner’s mind!” – Shunryu Suzuki

Establish a consistent personal practice – create a home altar and meditation space.

Attend a retreat – We offer half-day, full daylong and longer meditation retreats.

Volunteer to help with the meditation hall, kitchen or temple care taking.

Meet with a teacher or practice leader.

Participate in a Spring Practice Commitment Period.

Speak to our Guiding Teacher about receiving the Bodhisattva Precepts.