San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC), is a network of affiliated Sōtō Zen practice and retreat centers in the San Francisco Bay area, comprising City Center or Beginner's Mind Temple, Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, and Green Gulch Farm Zen Center. The sangha was incorporated by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and a group of his American students in 1962. Today SFZC is the largest Sōtō organization in the West.
Sōtō Zen or the Sōtō school is the largest of the three traditional sects of Zen in Japanese Buddhism. It is the Japanese line of the Chinese Cáodòng school, which was founded during the Tang dynasty by Dòngshān Liánjiè.
It emphasizes Shikantaza, meditation with no objects, anchors, or content. The meditator strives to be aware of the stream of thoughts, allowing them to arise and pass away without interference.
The Japanese brand of the .
Buddhism entered the US during the 19th century with the arrival of the first immigrants from East Asia. The first Buddhist temple was established in San Francisco in 1853 by Chinese Americans.
The first prominent US citizen to publicly convert to Buddhism was Colonel Henry Steel Olcott in 1880 who is still honored in Sri Lanka for his Buddhist revival efforts.
An event that contributed to the strengthening of Buddhism in the US was the .