Program Notes

In 1962, just three years after Shunryu Suzuki arrived in America, a core group of sincere students had formed around this compelling Zen teacher, and with his encouragement they decided to formally organize and call their group “Zen Center.”

On August 13th of that year, the documents formally constituting this new non-profit organization were officially approved by the State of California.

Today, we recognize the 50th anniversary of what is now called San Francisco Zen Center with a series of ceremonies beginning at Sokoji temple.

The times listed are approximate:

10:00 am Assemble at Sokoji, corner of Sutter & Laguna

10:30 am SOKOJI TEMPLE CEREMONY (Honoring the Sangha of Origin)

Sojun Mel Weitsman, Doshi, Former Abbot; statements by Zenkei Blanche Hartman, Former Abbess; Grahame Petchey, First President; Yatsuhiko Okiyama, Sokoji Board President; Tanako Hagiwara, Sokoji Board Secretary; Ji-Dai Myo-On Yvonne Rand, early SFZC secretary; Jordan Thorn, SFZC Treasurer;

10:45 am   PROCESSION from Sutter to Page (Honoring Movement of New Sangha)

11:30 am BUDDHA HALL CEREMONY (Honoring the Founder)

Kiku Christina Lehnherr, Doshi, Abbess of City Center; statements by Eijun Linda Ruth Cutts, Abbess, Green Dragon Temple at Green Gulch Farm; Robert Thomas, SFZC President; Zentatsu Richard Baker, Former Abbot; Susan O’Connell, SFZC VP; Myogen Steve Stücky, Central Abbot, SFZC

12:00 noon PEACE BELL CEREMONY (Honoring the Vow of Compassion)

Courtyard Inauguration of the bell by Kiku Christina Lehnherr, Doshi, Abbess; statements by Tova Green, City Center Director; Shinji Eshima, Composer; and Al Farrow, Artist, Bell Creator

(Short Break, Priests change from Okesas to Rakusus)

12:15 pm COMMEMORATIVE WORDS (Honoring Values & History)

  • Myogen Steve Stücky, Central Abbot SFZC
  • Peter Coyote, Actor, Supporter & Zen Priest
  • Mary Morgan, SFZC Board Chair
  • Joaquin Torres, SF Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services
  • Christina Olague, District Supervisor
  • Rebecca Solnit, Author
  • Willard “Mike” Dixon, Artist, Circle Story
  • Fu Schroeder reads poem by Norman Fischer
  • David Chadwick, Author & Historian