Photo of little boy trying out an instrument in the zendoLittle boy in the zendo


The Rochester Zen Center’s family program views Buddhist teachings and family life as intertwined.  We welcome all current and prospective Center members, and are open to children and families of any class, race, ethnicity, religion, or gender expression.

We work to create opportunities for parents and children to engage in regularly scheduled activities and special events at the Center, and we support families in carrying Buddhist teaching and practice into the daily context of family life as well as enabling parents and children to meet others with similar interests

Through sharing Buddhist teachings and Dharma practice with youth, the RZC’s family program seeks to enable children to cultivate self-awareness, kindness, and understanding. Raising children in a spiritual tradition helps to give them the foundation they need as they grow. By starting at a young age, we have the opportunity to create life long patterns that give our children support through difficult times.

Sunday Youth Program

The Rochester Zen Center’s youth and family program meets on scheduled Sundays from 8:30 am to 10:30am. We welcome children of all ages. Children who are four years old or older may be dropped off, and parents are invited to sit in the zendo during Sunday services. Children under four years old must be accompanied by a parent at all times. The Sunday youth program includes activities such as a greeting circle, altar set-up, meditation, chanting, story-telling, crafting, games, and unstructured play. Families are welcome to stay for our community brunch afterwards.

Other Youth and Family Program Activities

Family sleepovers take place every few months at Chapin Mill Retreat Center in Batavia, NY. These events usually begin around 4pm on Saturday and end at 1pm on Sunday.

Families are always welcome at the following annual ceremonies and special events:

  • Buddha’s Birthday
  • Work Retreat
  • Annual Picnic
  • Ceremony of Gratitude
  • Thanksgiving dinner
  • Youth Jukai
  • Temple Night
  • Sangha Entertainment Night
  • Sangha Dinners

Families are also welcome to attend the brief weekly chanting services at Arnold Park, which are held at 3:30 p.m. from Wednesday-Friday.

If you’d like to be added to the email list for the Youth and Family Program, contact Trueman (