This Zen meditation course offers a transformative journey on the profound elements of zazen. You’ll explore how to train the mind toward experiencing the openness of each moment, and how to integrate the essence of Zen meditation into your daily life. 

In each session, your teacher Ryushin Paul Haller seamlessly blends conceptual insights with hands-on practices, delving into Zen mind and its practical application in daily activities. 

The goal of this course is to inspire you to not just think about Zen, but to embody it through consistent practice, fostering meaning and purpose in your life. Through regular meditation, youll cultivate a new awareness of the present moment, gaining insights into your true self and how you interact with the world.

Whether youre a seasoned practitioner or just beginning, we encourage you to embrace "beginners mind," allowing even familiar teachings to unfold new layers of understanding. 

Join Ryushin Paul Haller for Practicing Zen in Uncertain Times to explore the nuances of zazen and embark on a path of self-discovery and awakening.


“If you try to grab a fish when it’s in the water, the very energy of grasping squirts it away. If you try to grab the thought, it’s more elusive. Stay present. And invite it to be present.”

Ryushin Paul Haller

​​What You’ll Learn

You’ll be guided through 7 learning sections, consisting of a series of lectures and meditations.

--- PART ONE ---

Creating a Foundation for Being Aware of Whatever Arises

Teaching 1: Awareness & Noticing
Teaching 2: The Practice of Seeing

  • Learn to be fully present in the moment, observing without attempting to control or manipulate experiences

  • Cultivate the ability to move beyond habitual thought patterns and narratives, and to experience the simplicity of just being

  • Begin to understand how somatic practices (breathing, posture) help bring awareness to the present moment 
--- PART TWO ---

Practicing with Posture

Teaching 1: An Introduction to Zazen Postures
Teaching 2: Learning by Doing, Noticing, and Being

  • Cultivate the skill of sitting with discomfort while maintaining attention and discernment

  • Train your mind toward noticing, experiencing, and allowing the flow of thoughts, emotions, and sensations without attachment

  • Begin to notice how it feels to experience open awareness

--- PART THREE ---

Body Awareness

Teaching 1: Awareness of Posture (Guided Meditation)
Teaching 2: Sustaining and Integrating Our Awareness

  • Understand the importance of finding a sitting posture that works for individual comfort and stability

  • Learn to develop an awareness of your body's signals and how to relate to them skillfully

  • Observe the body sensations you experience with each breath

--- PART FOUR ---

Breath Awareness

Teaching 1: Settling and Noticing (Guided Meditation)
Teaching 2: Awareness of Breathing

  • Develop a heightened awareness of the breath and body through deliberate attention and touch

  • Experiment with maintaining awareness of body sensations and breath while also noticing sounds in the environment

  • Cultivate mindfulness that includes a range of sensory experiences and thoughts without getting caught up in them

--- PART FIVE ---

Staying Close to the Breath

Teaching 1: Holding Complexity with Awareness
(Guided Meditation & Lecture)

Teaching 2: Emotions and Thinking

  • Learn to to stay close to the present moment by allowing experiences, thoughts, and feelings to arise without judgment

  • Recognize that the arising complexities within the meditation experience mirror those in everyday life

  • Experiment maintaining a playful, curious, and open attitude

--- PART SIX ---

Inviting Everything into Awareness

Teaching 1: Attuning, Releasing, and Inviting
(Guided Meditation & Reflection)

Teaching 2: Cultivating Patience: Concentration, Allowing Thoughts, and Facing Triggers

  • Develop the skill of noticing and staying present with the unfolding nature of experience

  • Discover a simpler and more settled way of relating to thought patterns, allowing them to arise without being caught up in their content

  • Learn how the qualities of patience, nurturance, and benevolence are essential to Zen practice

--- PART SEVEN ---


Teaching 1: The Essence of Zazen, Working with Discomfort, Becoming Curious

Teaching 2: Opening Up and Giving Over to Now

  • Learn to apply adaptability and resourcefulness to navigate the daily ups and downs of life

  • Embrace beginner's mind, and approach each moment with fresh eyes and a curious attitude

  • Cultivate a deeper capacity for compassion, kindness, and patience, encouraging collective well-being

Thanks to our generous donors, we have a limited number of scholarships available. Click here to apply for a scholarship.

Meet Your Teacher

Ryushin Paul Haller served as Abiding Abbot at City Center from 2003 to 2012, and is currently the Urban Temple Dharma Teacher at City Center. He has lived and practiced at San Francisco Zen Center since the 1970s and held many positions at Tassajara and City Center. He received Dharma Transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman and has been teaching for over 30 years. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he teaches throughout the US and Europe and has led mindfulness programs to assist with depression and recovery. Paul has also taught in prisons and had a long involvement with the Zen Hospice Project.

Founder and former Director of Outreach at SFZC, Paul is interested in finding ways of expressing our practice in society, both as compassionate service and making it available to as many people as possible

What the Course Includes

Enroll now to receive this complete collection of study and practice resources.

Unlimited Access

Explore the complete course material at your own pace, on your own schedule.

Dharma Talks

Enrich your understanding through teachings on Zen and zazen. Learn how to cultivate qualities that will help integrate zen into your life.

Guided Practice Sessions

Be guided on zazen with thoughtful instruction. Explore breathing techniques, find the posture that works for you, and more.

Video Instructions

Downloadable Mp4 video files for easy offline access on all your devices.

Audio Meditations

Downloadable Mp3 audio files for easy listening access.

Transcript Files

Downloadable PDF transcript files for reading each talk and practice.

About San Francisco Zen Center

San Francisco Zen Center was established in 1962 by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi (1904-1971) and his American students. Suzuki Roshi is known to countless readers as the author of the modern spiritual classic, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.
San Francisco Zen Center has three practice places: Beginner’s Mind Temple, in the vibrant heart of San Francisco; Green Gulch Farm, whose organic fields meet the ocean in Marin County; and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center—the first Soto Zen training monastery on the West coast—located in the Ventana Wilderness inland from Big Sur. These three practice centers offer daily meditation, regular monastic retreats and practice periods, classes, lectures, and workshops.
San Francisco Zen Center is a practice place for a diverse population of students, visitors, lay people, priests, and monks guided by teachers who follow in Suzuki Roshi's style of warm hand and heart to warm hand and heart. All are welcome.
San Francisco Zen Center’s programs also reach out to the community, helping prisoners, the homeless, and those in recovery; protecting the environment; and working for peace. Suzuki Roshi’s disciples and students of his disciples now lead dharma groups around the country.