Sweetwater Zen Center

2727 Highland Avenue
National City, CA 91950
Website: swzc.org

Description of Organization

Sweetwater Zen Center (SWZC) is a Zen Buddhist meditation practice community working together to realize the awakened way. As an urban Zen Buddhist Practice community, the purpose of SWZC is to end suffering. Sweetwater Zen Center offers a traditional Zen Buddhist schedule with opportunities for group meditation as well as koan practice with a certified Zen teacher. The enter has a residential program as well as offering programs to the larger community.

Grant(s) Awarded

In 2024, a grant in the amount of $10,000 was awarded to boost the participation and retention of women and non-binary members and friends who practice with SWZC. It is crucial to have visible models and speakers with whom those attending programs can relate. While the SWZC community is evenly split between genders, many women, especially those under 60 years of age, tend to participate less rigorously. This may have many causes as women often bear the greater responsibility for child and elder care along with household duties. This is a particularly heavy obstacle for single mothers.

Eve Marko, Dharma successor and wife of Bernie Tetsugen Glassman, founder of the White Plum Asangha, addresses some of these issues in The Householder’s Book of Koans. The book was co-written with Egyoku Roshi, emeritus Abbess of the Zen Center of Los Angeles. They created it to address what has been invisible for the most part in Zen history – the role of women in modern, everyday settings of spiritual practice and insight. Using this text is just one small part of the program’s intention to foster further work on the issues facing those who have been underserved with enhanced programs, especially workshops and speakers who address the issues of women, non-binary people, and those who are BIPOC. The goal is to create a stronger practice community and extend our reach.

In 2015, a grant in the amount of $2,500 was awarded to support Sweetwater Zen’s “Building Capacity for Mindful Communication and Emotional Awareness Outreach” program.  The goals of the project include creating capacity to further serve clients, to expand volunteer training and to create a replicable training program.