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SF Bay Area meditation groups

Sit with others! Friends on the path, called kalyana mitta, and regular contact with a teacher you trust are the best supports you can have for consistent practice.

Here’s the meditation groups/classes I know of and recommend in the SF Bay Area. The list is mostly Theravāda Buddhist, with some Zen and Tibetan I know and value. It’s not exhaustive, but curated. If a group is on this list, I either know the teachers or their lineage, and feel comfortable recommending them.

Most are evening groups. Always check the websites for times & updates. Most are on dāna (Pāli for “generosity”, in this case referring to the classes inviting donations instead of charging a fixed price).  My group is on Tuesday nights in Berkeley.

Monday
Monday night dharma talk, led by rotating Spirit Rock teachers

7:15-9:15pm, Spirit Rock Meditation Center (Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Woodacre)
spiritrock.org/monday-night-class

Mindfulness Meditation, led by Daniel Doane

7:30-9pm, Ojas Yoga, El Cerrito (El Cerrito Plaza, 2nd floor)
ojasyogacenter.com

Monday Night Dharma, led by Anushka Fernandopulle

7-8:45pm, CIIS, SF (1453 Mission, San Francisco, Rm. 216)
anushkaf.org

Insight Meditation Center (IMC), led by Gil Fronsdal or guest

7:30-9pm, IMC, Redwood City (108 Birch St, Redwood City)
insightmeditationcenter.org

Tuesday
Insight Meditation Satsang, led by Sean Feit Oakes

7:15-9pm, Ashtanga Yoga Berkeley (933 Parker Street, Studio 38, Berkeley)
seanfeitoakes.com/insight-meditation-satsang

Alphabet Sangha (LGBTQI/SGL), rotating teachers

7-8:30pm, East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC), Oakland (285 17th St, Oakland) eastbaymeditation.org

Monks from Abhayagiri monastery (Thai Forest tradition)
[first Tue of each month]

Berkeley Buddhist Monastery (2304 McKinley, Berkeley)
abhayagiri.org/calendar

Mission Dharma, led by Howard Cohn

7:30-9pm, St. John’s Episcopal Church (1661 15th St, San Francisco)
missiondharma.org

Insight Meditation Center (IMC), led by Andrea Fella or guest

[morning] 9:30-11am, IMC, Redwood City (108 Birch St, Redwood City)
insightmeditationcenter.org

Walnut Creek Sitting Group, led by Ernie Isaacs

7:30-9:15pm, Unity Center (1871 Geary Road, Walnut Creek)
unityofwalnutcreek.com/insight-meditation or
buddhistinsightnetwork.org/sangha/walnut-creek-sitting-group

Dharma en Español (IMC), led by Andrea Castillo

7:30-9pm, IMC, Redwood City (108 Birch St, Redwood City)
insightmeditationcenter.org

Mindfulness & Meditation, led by Gary Gach
(Thich Nhat Hanh lineage)

[morning] 9-10:30am, Aquatic Park Senior Center (890 Beach Street, San Francisco)
facebook.com/events/1041063512624595/

Wednesday
Insight Richmond, led by Ashley Sharp

6:30-8pm, Open Door United Methodist Church (6226 Arlington Blvd, Richmond)
insightrichmond.com

Embodied Mindfulness, led by Jill Satterfield

7:30-9pm, Yoga Kula, Berkeley (1700 Shattuck) [class price: not on dāna]
http://yogakula.com/mindfulness-meditation/

Metta Dharma Foundation, led by Richard Shankman

7:15-9:15pm, St. Clement’s, Berkeley (2837 Claremont, Berkeley, enter at the rear of the building)
mettadharma.org

SF Insight, led by Pamela Weiss, Trip Weil or guest

7-9pm, First Unitarian Universalist, SF (1187 Franklin at Geary, SF)
sfinsight.org

Wednesday Morning Half-Day Retreat, led by Gil Fronsdal or guest

[morning] 9:30-12:15pm, IMC, Redwood City (108 Birch St, Redwood City)
insightmeditationcenter.org

Midday Sangha, peer-led

12-1:35pm, East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC), Oakland (285 17th St, Oakland) eastbaymeditation.org

EBMC Teen Sangha (registration required), led by the EBMC Teen Sangha Team

7-8:30pm, East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC), Oakland (285 17th St, Oakland) eastbaymeditation.org

Thursday
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley, led by James Baraz, Kate Munding, or guest

7:30-9:30pm, Berkeley Buddhist Monastery (2304 McKinley, Berkeley)
insightberkeley.org

People of Color (POC) Sitting Group, led by Spring Washam & others

7-9pm, East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC), Oakland (285 17th St, Oakland)
eastbaymeditation.org

Insight Meditation Center (IMC), led by Andrea Fella

7:30-9pm, IMC, Redwood City (108 Birch St, Redwood City)
insightmeditationcenter.org

Friday
Open Sitting Group, rotating teachers

6:30-8:30pm, East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC), Oakland (285 17th St, Oakland)
eastbaymeditation.org

RIP! Friday Noon Peace Vigil

[After 14 years, the Friday noon meditation vigil for peace at Oxford/Addison, on the UC Berkeley grass, with Daniel Doane, has ended (fall 2015). Bows to Daniel and the community for their persistence in pursuit of peace. Sit with Daniel at Ojas Yoga in El Cerrito on Monday nights.]

Saturday
Saturday Night Sangha, peer-led

6-7:30pm, East Bay Healing Collective, Berkeley (1840 Alcatraz, Berkeley)
healingcollective.org

Berkeley Zen Center, Sojun Mel Weitsman and others

[morning] 6-11:15am, Berkeley Zen Center (1929 Russell, Berkeley)
BZC has practice every day, and a larger practice period on Saturday mornings
berkeleyzencenter.org/weekly-schedule/

Sunday
SF Insight, led by Eugene Cash

7-9pm, First Unitarian Universalist, SF (1187 Franklin at Geary, SF)
sfinsight.org

Dharmata, led by Anam Thubten

[morning] 10am-12:15pm, Dhyana Hall (235 Washington Ave, Point Richmond)
dharmata.org

Sunday Morning Sittings & Talk, led by Gil Fronsdal

[morning] 8:30-10:45am, IMC, Redwood City (108 Birch St, Redwood City)
insightmeditationcenter.org

Aloha Vihara Nuns
[3rd Sun of each month]

7:30-9pm, Berkeley Buddhist Monastery (2304 McKinley, Berkeley)
saranaloka.org

Alameda Sangha, led by Rebecca Dixon & Deb Kerr
(RIP Pauletta Chanco)

7-9pm, United Methodist, Alameda (2311 Buena Vista Ave, Alameda)
sites.google.com/site/alamedasangha

Every Body Every Mind Sangha, rotating teachers

For people living with disabilities, limitations, differences and chronic illnesses.
6-7:30pm, East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC), Oakland (285 17th St, Oakland)
eastbaymeditation.org

Sunday Sangha, led by Will Kabat-Zinn

7-9pm, Ashtanga Yoga Berkeley (933 Parker Street, #38, BAY 5, Berkeley)
ashtangayogaberkeley.com/meditation-2/insight-meditation-with-will-kabat-zinn

At Home In The World: Dharma Evenings for People in Their 20s and 30s
[Monthly on 3rd Sundays]

7-8:30pm, IMC, Redwood City (108 Birch St, Redwood City)
insightmeditationcenter.org

Marin Sangha, led by Phillip Moffitt or guests

6-8pm, St. Luke Presbyterian (10 Bayview Dr, San Rafael)
marinsangha.org

Other…
Wisdom Sun

Noe Valley, SF. (Classes & retreats, no ongoing group)
wisdomsun.org/index.php/events-and-classes

Buddhist Insight Network

BIN hosts the database for Insight Meditation groups worldwide.
buddhistinsightnetwork.org/sanghas

Does this list support your practice?

If you find the resources on this site of service in your own practice and study, and you are inspired to support Dr. Oakes as an independent teacher and scholar, please consider making a donation.

Sutta: Good friends are half the spiritual life​

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying in the land of the Sakyans, where they have a town named Nagaraka. Then Venerable Ānanda went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Sir, good friends, companions, and associates are half the spiritual life.”

“Not so, Ānanda! Not so, Ānanda! Good friends, companions, and associates are the whole of the spiritual life. A mendicant with good friends, companions, and associates can expect to develop and cultivate the noble eightfold path.

And how does a mendicant with good friends develop and cultivate the noble eightfold path? It’s when a mendicant develops right view, which relies on seclusion, fading away, and cessation, and ripens as letting go. They develop right thought … right speech … right action … right livelihood … right effort … right mindfulness … right immersion, which relies on seclusion, fading away, and cessation, and ripens as letting go. That’s how a mendicant with good friends develops and cultivates the noble eightfold path.

And here’s another way to understand how good friends are the whole of the spiritual life. For, by relying on me as a good friend, sentient beings who are liable to rebirth, old age, and death, to sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress are freed from all these things. This is another way to understand how good friends are the whole of the spiritual life.”

(SN 45.2, tr. Sujato)

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