The Daoren Circle
of Dharma Rain Zen Center

Daoren means “person of the Way.” In Soto practice, “the Way” is always right before you, the way you are facing.

Daoren seek to practice the Way wholeheartedly especially within the concrete details of their everyday lives and activities. Daoren rigorously nourish this intention through exploration and commitment to the Mahayana practice of vow. Vows in common and personal vows are put in place as everyday markers for practice opportunities. Each Daoren must deeply consider how to meet these commitments in their lives.

Although spending most of their time outside of the supportive context of the Dharma Rain residential community, Daoren are full and active members of the temple and are deeply inspired by the rigorous tradition of Zen Buddhist monastic form.

Daoren constantly seek to convert personal preference and habit energy through the daily practice of zazen and the Precepts; simple ritual; and dedication.


Full members of Dharma Rain, who live primarily outside of the Zen Buddhist residential community, have taken the precepts, participated in at least one session of the Term Student program, and who have attended at least one sesshin, are eligible to join


The application begins with a statement of intention to the Daoren Guiding Teacher by July 1st of each year, followed by an interview and exploration of intention and work on personal vows, finishing up at the end of August. The Daoren year starts at the beginning of September with a zendo ceremony and ends in June.

The Daoren Guiding Teacher is Jill Bukkai Washburn. She can be contacted at [jllbwashburn at]. Or contact Hoka at [linda at].

Vows and Group Meetings

Daoren commit to vows and practice principles in common as well as individual vows. Vows may be taken for a specific period of time and may continue for repeated years and eventually be taken for life. An opportunity for review and revision is taken between terms in February, halfway through the practice year. Summer traditionally allows for flexible and less formal practice.

The Daoren Circle members meet face-to-face at least three times during the year, most often in each others’ homes. Monthly check-ins, mondo and daisan are practiced online.

Relationship with Dharma Rain


  • are not usually residents within the temple community, yet they remain one with the Sangha while continuing to carry out their vows and the duties of their particular lives and occupations, wherever they may be in the world.
  • are guided and inspired by continued spiritual association with a Dharma Rain Teacher and with the Sangha.
  • seek transparency in temple relationships and are open to being mentored on occasion by the Daoren Guiding Teacher and by each other.
  • involve themselves visibly and fully in the life of the Dharma Rain sangha, follow the temple calendar and take ownership and responsibility for the Sangha jewel to the extent that they are able.

Practice Principles

Daoren recognize that their success as positive examples of zen practice depends primarily on the practice of zazen. They keep their own meditation practice constant and vital.

Daoren fully commit to the Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts and continue to deepen their relationship with the Precepts through regular recitation, recollection and contrition. They practice the spirit of the Precepts by making the living use of material things, by cultivating gratitude for what is given, and by caring for life in all its forms.

Daoren cultivate trust in the Dharma and try to see the practice opportunities within challenge and constant change. They practice patience and good humor within the sufferings and difficult conditions that come to everyone.

Daoren practice giving and seek to be friendly and warmhearted to all beings, especially those suffering in body and mind, young children and the aged, and those who are lost or unprotected.

Daoren seek simplicity, respect and clarity in relationships, as they fulfill the duties of their lives, especially with regard to the care of their families and dependents.

Daoren seek guidance and instruction when they are in doubt or troubled.

Practice Form

Morning or evening 3 times a week.

Daily Ritual
Begin and end each day with a simple ritual.
Begin each meal with the Five Thoughts.

A period of simple labor, beginning with a dedication, done as silently as practical, at least 3x weekly.

Service to Sangha
At least 4 hours every month in whatever capacity is needed. This might include a communal responsibility such as maintaining the temple library.

At least 10 days every year of a communal schedule focusing on silence and zazen.

Monthly E-Mail Check-in
Monthly communication among Daoren members fostering accountability to vows and common forms.

Daoren Circle Meetings
Several times yearly face-to-face to foster support and enthusiasm for practice, and an exchange of views.

Meeting with a Teacher
Ongoing spiritual relationship with a Dharma Rain Teacher.

Personal Vows
Daoren may choose personal vows for a short period such as:

  • Practice with the Body
  • Creative Activities
  • Working in the Community
  • Family Relationships
  • Zendo Role
  • Part-time temple residency
  • Dharma Study