Jikoji is a Soto Zen temple and retreat center located approximately one hour’s drive south of San Francisco in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We offer programs, workshops, and sesshins (meditation retreats), and provide facilities for individual and group retreats. All are welcome.
Jikoji Zen Center
12100 Skyline Blvd
Los Gatos, CA 95033
Office hours: Mon-Fri, 9 am-2 pm.
About Jikoji & Founder, Kobun Chino Otagawa Roshi
Jikoji, “Compassion Light Temple”, is a rustic mountain retreat of 13 acres, established in 1983 by Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi and his students. It is a Soto Zen Buddhist temple associated with Hokoji in New Mexico, Jokoji in Japan, Puregg in Austria, and Felsentor in Switzerland. At 2,350 feet elevation in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the grounds have many unique features, such as a large pond, running creek, breathtaking ridge views, and miles of hiking trains in the surrounding Mid-peninsula Regional Open Space District.
The practice of meditation at Jikoji is based on the Soto Zen tradition as taught by its founder Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi. Kobun said, “Your sitting still is like a person who just shot an arrow: later the result is there – what you know is that the arrow is moving right. It has left your realm, but you sense it is running well. This moving stillness brings you to the other side of nothing. You go to the other side of nothing and you are held by the hand of the absolute. You discover everyone is waiting for you. To experience your self as the absolute, of course, then there is no more insistence on being a separate self.”
Kobun Chino Roshi was born into an ancient and esteemed temple family in the northwest snow country of Japan. He practiced at Eiheji Monastery and also with Kodo Sawaki. In 1967, he was invited by Suzuki Roshi to help establish Tassajara Monastery in California. He was later the teacher at Haiku Zendo (now Kannon-do) and Santa Cruz Zen Center. The Jikoji sangha began from these two sanghas.
Kobun also established Hokoji Zen Center in Taos, New Mexico, and helped establish two centers in Europe with dharma heir, Vanja Palmers. He was an important teacher to the sangha of Chogyum Trungpa Rinpoche and held the World Wisdom Chair at Naropa University at the time of his death. In 2002, Kobun Chino died in a drowning accident in Switzerland.
Jikoji’s Residents & Teacher
A small group of resident practitioners and its resident teacher, Shóhó Michael Newhall, live and practice at Jikoji year-round. Jikoji is maintained by its residents and by non-resident sangha members.
Shóhó Michael Newhall is a Zen Buddhist priest who received transmission in the lineage of Kobun Chino Roshi. He has practiced and trained in both Japan and America, including Tassajara Monastery. Shóhó teaches and has students outside of Jikoji, as well.
There are four large buildings: the zendo; a Guest/dormitory building which includes private rooms (some with bathrooms); the community building; and the residents’ building. The community building includes an institutional kitchen, living/dining room with library, and bathrooms. In addition, there is a tea hut and enclosed organic garden.
All or part of the facilities are available for group or individual retreats. The zendo can comfortably seat 30+ people. The dormitory building can accommodate 25+. In addition, there are many tent sites.
Dana & Service
All programs, practice, and sesshins are always freely offered and open to everyone. Jikoji’s resources are supported by dana or contributions, so if you can contribute, it is greatly appreciated. There are also service opportunities with many small and large projects. If interested, please contact Jikoji.
Sunday Morning Program
10:00 am Zazen & Kinhin (Sitting & walking meditation)
11:30 Service followed by Dharma talk
12:30 Social Lunch
2:00 pm Afternoon programs (see website or call)
Monday-Friday 6:00 am zazen & service
Monday-Thursday 7:30 pm zazen
Activities and Sesshins Schedule
December 6-12 — Rohatsu (Buddha's Enlightenment) Sesshin
December 31 — New Year's Eve Potluck Dinner, Practice and Ceremony
February 14-20 — Nehan-e Sesshin with Angie Boissevain
April 4-10 — Tanjo-e Sesshin with Ian Forsberg
April 10 — Buddha's Birthday Celebration
April 20 — June 7, Wednesday evenings Study Group and Potluck
June 1-5 — Spring Study Sesshin, With Santa Cruz Zen Center
August 19-26 — Floating Zendo Sesshin, with Jikoji sangha
September 11 — One Day Sesshin
October 18-23 — Denko-e Sesshin
December 5-11 — Rohatsu Sesshin
From Saratoga: Follow Big Basin Way (Hwy 9) through Saratoga and up to the intersection with Hwy 35/Skyline. Turn right. At about 1.8 miles, on the left side, look for a mailbox with “12100/Jikoji” on it and immediately turn left onto Ward Rd just before the wood “Jikoji” sign. Follow the single-lane gravel road down to a Y; there, continue right to parking area.
From San Francisco: Take 280 South and go via 85 to Saratoga as above; or exit at Woodside Road. Follow Hwy 84 (La Honda Road) through Woodside up to La Honda Road’s intersection with Hwy 35. Turn left/south on 35 (Skyline) and continue 11.5 miles, including about 4.5 miles past Page Mill Rd. Look for a small wood “Jikoji” sign on the right and turn immediately onto Ward Rd just past the sign and before the mailbox.
From Santa Cruz: Take Hwy 9 about 27 miles through Boulder Creek to Hwy 35; turn left onto 35 then proceed as above from Saratoga, or take Hwy 17 to exit on Los Gatos – Saratoga Rd to Saratoga and proceed as described above from Saratoga, about 38 miles all told