Dharma Rain Blog

Regarding Failure

kakumyoOne of the attachments that many of us work hard to satisfy is an aversion to failure. This is a particularly interesting attachment for several reasons. This Sunday, Kakumyo will explore why, and make a dharmic case for failure as a crucial ingredient in one’s spiritual path.

Join us this Sunday, January 15, for zazen, sanzen and Kakumyo’s Dharma Talk. Kakumyo and Bukkai offer sanzen.

8:30am Zazen (with optional sanzen)
9:00 Kinhin (walking meditation)
9:10 Zazen
9:40 Full Morning Service
10:10 Break/Announcements
10:30 Regarding Failure
11:45 Informal Community Lunch – all invited.

News at Dharma Rain

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The beauty of a rare winter snowstorm has been breathtaking.

p2017-0111_engawa-900The weather has impacted our attendance, though we have continued our schedule of events. A few hardy souls trickle in to various things, like the sewing class on Tuesday and Wednesday’s Precepts class. We are asking that people use their own best judgment about whether they can safely attend events.
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Surcharge on the Move, and then Not

p2017-0110_surcharge-moving-900Excavators and dump trucks arrived Monday to move the big surcharge to the eventual site of the School Building. This is being funded by EPA, so we are taking advantage of that to take this step at this time. The workers had hoped to have the job done by the end of this week.
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However, beginning Wednesday, and continuing through today, the machines have sat idle because of the snowstorm that dumped a foot of snow on us. We’re not sure when they will be able to get back to it, likely not until next week.

We continue to work on finishing details inside and outside the Sodo, as well as on landscaping. Regular Wednesday work parties are a great way to spend time with sangha doing useful things on the property. There are plenty of tasks for everyone who shows up between 9:30am-3pm. If you are around for lunch time (12:30pm), you get lunch for free.

Kessei-Jodo

On December 18, 2016, Kakumyo ended his kessei term with a Jodo ceremony. It began with a procession from Uji to the Sodo.

Procession (right to left): Genko (Ino), Gyokuko (Abbot), Ko'in (Shuso), Kakumyo, Shin'yu (Jisha) and Alison (Jikko).
Procession (right to left): Genko (Ino), Gyokuko (Abbot), Ko’in (Shuso), Kakumyo, Shin’yu (Jisha) and Alison (Jikko).

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Once at the Sodo, Kakumyo took off his regular gold kesa, and put on a new brown one.
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The hall was filled with sangha members, lay disciples, DRZC lay and ordained teachers, and visiting teachers Chozen and Hogen Bays from Great Vow Zen Monastery.
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Kessei Jodo Ceremony

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
This Sunday marks the end of Kakumyo’s Kessei term, the year of “abbot-with-training-wheels.” As with the shuso term, it ends with a testing ceremony, like Ko’in did last week. He will present several verses, and then those in attendance have an opportunity to ask a question. If Kakumyo passes, he is then qualified to become abbot. Next steps in that process would involve a nomination from Gyokuko, a vote from the board, a ratification vote from the sangha, and an installation ceremony.

Join us this Sunday, December 18, for zazen, sanzen and Kessei Jodo Ceremony. Bukkai and Gyoshi offer sanzen.

8:30am Zazen (with optional sanzen)
9:00 Kinhin (walking meditation)
9:10 Zazen
9:40 Kessei Jodo Ceremony
11:45 Informal Community Lunch (vegetarian) – all invited.

Dharma Rain News

p1213barnpaper-900In spite of the weather, work has been continuing on the barn, which is now all enclosed and nearing lockability. That is, doors are in the process of being installed, and moisture barrier has been put up. The photo shows Ikuo, Kakumyo, and Joel working on that.
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Those of us who live at and near the temple grounds are continuing to keep the schedule, though attendance from outside is necessarily sparse because of weather hazards. It looks like the snow and cold will stick around for at least the next few days. We encourage everyone to stay safe, and in any case, we will be closed with no programs at all beginning December 19 until January. That includes no Wednesday work parties for those two weeks.
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And one more photo from last week’s ice storm:
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Frog Song News

Margot helps Addy put on her shoes.
Margot helps Addy put on her shoes.
Frog Song is on winter break until January. This term, the children and teachers established three agreements for the classroom, drawing pictures of them and referencing them in connection with things that happen during the day. The agreements are:

  • We are safe
  • We are kind
  • We help each other

Precepts for preschoolers! And remarkably reminiscent of our three pure precepts:

  • Cease from evil
  • Do only good
  • Do good for others

Prison News

From eastern Oregon, comes this news from Mugaku, who works with two prison groups there, Two Rivers Correctional Institution (TRCI) in Umatilla, and Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution (EOCI) in Pendleton. Mugaku is wearing an orange shirt in these pictures.
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Hi everybody, this is the first picture of our TRCI group I have ever seen. All of the folks in this picture have signed a release. Nice group, eh? I love these guys.

trci-altar-supplies1-940The International Bodhisattva Sangha (IBS) Prison Program from San Diego offered their services to TRCI, who put them in contact with me, and they have provided much of what you see at the altar, including chant books and library of dharma books. As a result, I no longer bring the altar with me each week, but continue to supply incense, candles with vessels, water pitcher and bowl.

The center altar cloth is from Chaplain Karuna Thompson who visited our sangha several times, sharing her teachings over the past year.

The year has been rich in a deepening practice with the men. I am grateful for the opportunity to practice with them. We begin our study of the precepts early in the new year in preparation for DRZC’s Jukai at TRCI and EOCI in the spring.

Bows to all, Mugaku

Shuso Hossen

koinThis Sunday, the current shuso, Nicole Ko’in Newsom, will take her “final exam,” presenting a verse and answering questions from teachers and sangha members. Come help “prod the loaf” to see whether she’s done. This will take the place of the usual Dharma Talk.

Join us this Sunday, December 11, for zazen, sanzen and Shuso Hossen. Jyoshin and Shintai offer sanzen.

8:30am Zazen (with optional sanzen)
9:00 Kinhin (walking meditation)
9:10 Zazen
9:40 Short Morning Service
10:00 Break/Announcements
10:15 Shuso Hossen
11:45 Informal Community Lunch (vegetarian) – all invited.

News from Dharma Rain

p1207-frost-900We are in the midst of Rohatsu Sesshin this week. There is work practice going on with the barn, with planting, painting, cooking, and sewing. Wednesday morning’s frost in the Japanese garden gave way to yesterday and today’s cold weather storm, while 20-30 people diligently sit and practice.
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Regular Wednesday work parties return next week, and are a great way to spend time with sangha doing useful things on the property. There are plenty of tasks for everyone who shows up between 9:30am-3pm. We also have a mid-day sit from 11:30am to 12:30pm. If you are around for lunch time (12:30pm), you get lunch for free.

On Chickens and Eggs

bonelesschickenThis Sunday, Genko explores bodhicitta, or Way-Seeking Mind. A few months ago, someone asked where it comes from, which brings to mind the old koan: “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

What is bodhicitta? Is it something we cultivate? Something that just happens if we sit still long enough? Where is it, and where do we find it? How does it fit with other aspects of our practice?

This talk was given Sunday, December 4.

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