A Brilliant Sea of Clouds: Celebrating Dharma Rain’s 50th Anniversary

Dharma Rain Zen Center 50 years, A brilliant sea of clouds

Celebrating Our History

In 1986, Kyogen and Gyokuko Carlson founded Dharma Rain Zen Center. The Carlsons shared a vision for a Zen temple that supported a variety of practice expressions, including both lay and monastic, family practice, and sesshin (retreats.) In the beginning, the sangha that would become Dharma Rain could fit in a living room. Five decades later, with the leadership of Abbot Kakumyo Lowe-Charde and a variety of leadership councils, Dharma Rain Zen Center is thriving — with 220 members, six active ordained priests, four active transmitted lay teachers, a 14-acre campus centrally located in Northeast Portland, and a vital youth program of the sort that is rare in Western Zen temples. 

To celebrate Dharma Rain’s history, we made a timeline! You can check it out on our history page, here.

We’re also throwing a party! Help us celebrate Dharma Rain’s 50th Anniversary on June 1st from 2:00-7:00 pm. The program will include a formal celebration, a program of speakers, an outdoor procession, dinner, and dancing. More information is on the calendar, here.

Looking Forward: A Brilliant Sea of Clouds Capital Campaign

We’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dharma Rain Zen Center by reflecting on the values that shaped the sangha from the beginning and looking towards the next phase of our evolution.   We’re a temple that offers a broad spectrum of practice opportunities for a broad spectrum of people. The vitality of our youth programming, the beauty of the campus, the synergy of lay and monastic paths, and the intimacy of being seen and known by the sangha are some of our greatest strengths. 

We’re leaning into these strengths over the next few years with a project that brings further expression to our core values. As part of this project we will build a classroom building, add solar to the dormitories and parking lot, complete numerous energy efficiency upgrades, and continue to improve the ecology of Dharma Rain’s broader site.  The new classroom building will have two classrooms on the first floor, shared between Frog Song Montessori and Dharma School.  This doubles the size of our preschool and provides dedicated space for all of our children’s programs.  The second floor will include three bedrooms and common spaces, improving our retreat accommodations and increasing our residential capacity. 

A combination of sound decisions and fortuitous circumstances has given us an opportunity to take a major step forward with this project.  Even better, this step is projected to be about 75% grant-funded.  That said, we will need your engagement and financial support. Learn more about the Brilliant Sea of Clouds Capital Campaign.

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