Harmonious whole existence


In the Global Sangha we practice with environmental and social concerns of our community. Staying close to the body and breath, we take on projects outside the zendo that reflect the interconnectedness of all things.

To participate in any of the activities described below, please contact Zen Center with your contact information.


Homeless garden project

Each Friday we provide a meal for the local homeless shelter and for the Homeless Garden Project. HGP is a long-standing job training program that also provides social service assistance and housing advocacy. SCZC members have been participating in meal service with the HGP for over 15 years.


Food Not Bombs

Participants from Santa Cruz Zen Center volunteer monthly to prepare a meal for homeless people in our community. We do this in partnership with the grassroots organization, Food Not Bombs. This international food aid program provides fresh vegetables and nutritious meals to those in need.


Bringing together community

Each year we join other faith-based groups participating in local LGBTQIA+ parades and our county’s Martin Luther King celebration. We also participate in the annual Japanese Cultural Fair and Out In Our Faith. We have sponsored workshops on homelessness and have responded to community requests for ceremonies in remembrance of nuclear attacks and community tragedies.


Japanese Cultural Fair

Each year the Japanese Cultural Fair celebrates the rich heritage of Japan and it's expression here on the Central Coast. Since 2003 the Santa Cruz Zen Center has been proud to offer our tranquil courtyard for quieter demonstrations like Tea Ceremony and Ikebana, just  a half block away from the main event in Mission Peace Park, This offers us the opportunity to meet our neighbors and let them know a little about our Sangha.


Ordinary Recovery

We offer a weekly, peer-led, confidential support group exploring use of substances, interpersonal relationships, and emotions. The format of each group includes meditation and group discussion.


Sangha Net

Sangha Net is for SCZC members, Sangha members' families, and for the extended Santa Cruz community during times of challenge or times of transition. This support is based on the individual's needs and the liturgy & forms of Soto Zen Buddhism.


those seeking support

Support Net is for SCZC members, Sangha members' families, and for the extended Santa Cruz community during times of challenge or times of transition. 

These challenges include accidents, temporary illness, hospitalization, long-term illness, death of a loved one or death of a pet. Fellowship is also offered for life transitions such as starting a relationship, ending a relationship, partnership & marriage commitments, birth of a child, transition from youth to adulthood, and house blessings. 

This support is based on the individual's needs and the liturgy & forms of Soto Zen Buddhism. Please let us know how we can serve you in times of transition: 457-0206 or at sczc.org.

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those offering support

All Sangha members are invited to participate in this ongoing practice of Generosity – the giving of time and energy – forming a team to support each other and the community in times of need.

Edie Brown will guide and counsel team members in order to increase the skillfulness with which this practice is undertaken. Depending on your skills and time availability, your offering could take the form of preparing food, running errands, providing transportation or taking care of basic needs for a limited period of time such as childcare, cleaning or laundry. 

You may also be asked to learn and hold a ceremonial role. Please let Edie Brown or Gene Bush know if you are interested in making a 6 month commitment to this team.

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Temple Practice

The Santa Cruz Zen Center has been supported by a long history of volunteerism. Cleaning, gardening and other work tasks such as these are completed with the same reverence as meditation itself, because immersing your whole self in a task is a form of mindfulness.

Sangha Day is a time for the community to come together and care for the temple. Join us on a Saturday every couple of months for a few hours of temple work followed by a potluck lunch. Check the annual calendar for dates.

Soji, which takes place right after morning service and meditation is a brief period of work practice. The doshi will distribute work tasks outside of the zendo immediately after service. As with other forms of practice, there are ceaseless opportunities. If the path needs sweeping, we sweep. If the bathroom needs mopping, we mop. Caring for the temple is an expression of reverence, devotion and single minded activity.

Please contact us if you would like to learn ceremonial forms and/or receive coaching and deepen your practice in working with forms.