The Dharma Rain community strives to be a warm and welcoming place, while upholding the forms and expectations necessary for disciplined Zen practice. We honor a variety of practice expressions, including both lay and monastic paths, family practice, and sesshin (retreats). Our Lineage Tradition and Temple Culture document describes our founding teachers and traditions, our core teachings and practice, our tradition of group practice, and contemporary temple culture.
Our tradition is Soto Zen Buddhism, which is described on the Soto Zen Buddhist Association (SZBA) website as follows:
What is Soto Zen? Soto Zen was developed in the ninth century by the Chinese Monks Tozan (Ch. Dongshan) and Sozan (Ch. Caoshan), the first syllables of their names making up the subsequent name of the school. It stressed doing meditation without a goal, as everyone is already inherently enlightened. Seated, silent meditation is an expression of this.
Soto Zen Buddhism is distinguished by its focus on the down-to-earth practice of “everyday zen.” It encourages awareness of the workings of one’s own mind as a means of living mindfully in all areas of daily life – at home, at work and in the community.
In his “Instructions for the Cook,” Dogen taught that cooking and caring for other people were as important as sitting zazen and chanting sutras.
Soto Zen is for those who want to practice Zen in everything they do. In coming face to face with their life in all its aspects, they come to know themselves and find their relationship to all other things. They learn to be truly here and to serve in all ways.
Our Founders Kyogen and Gyokuko Carlson trained with and received Dharma Transmission from Roshi Jiyu Kennett at Shasta Abbey in Mt. Shasta, California. After moving to Portland, Oregon, in 1982 to teach at the Shasta Abbey Priory, they established Dharma Rain Zen Center in 1986 as an independent Soto Zen temple.