Dharma Rain Blog

Perfect Morality

Genko Rainwater
Genko continues looking at the Six Perfections, with the second of the Perfections: sila, usually translated “morality” or “ethics.” The problem with focusing on morality is that we sometimes get into judgments of good and bad, which is not so helpful. How can we live an ethical life and still find contentment and a sense of self-worth? Genko will talk about how we work with the Precepts to create a state of mind that lends itself to taking moral action naturally.

Join us this Sunday, August 12, for zazen, sanzen, service, and Genko’s Dharma Talk. Genko offers sanzen.

8:30am Zazen
9:00 Kinhin (walking meditation, with optional sanzen)
9:10 Zazen
9:40 Full Morning Service
10:10 Break and announcements
10:30 Perfect Morality
11:30 Informal Community Lunch – All invited.

Successful Fundraiser!


A wonderful time was had by all at our summer party on August 4. Croquet, cornhole, competitive oryoki, and a bounce house were some of the entertainment that kept everyone happy during an afternoon of perfect weather. Gyokuko is shown rallying the troops when we were about 2/3 to our goal, as shown by the lovely graphic behind her. She took her check to the donation table, and others continued to pitch in, until we made our goal of $20,000 and a little more. Ticket sales covered the cash costs of the event, which also included lots of wonderful food, both catered and home-made. Something on the order of 100 people came to participate in this very successful event. Many thanks to everyone who helped prepare for this, and also to all who participated by bringing yourselves and your good energy to the day. And of course, to all who contributed monetarily so we could reach our goal and balance our operating budget for the year.

Wednesday Work Parties

We have regular Wednesday work parties from around 9am to 3:30pm. There is plenty of work for people to do, inside and outside, light and heavy. Come for as much or as little of the time as you wish. We have tools and gloves, but if you have your own, feel free to bring them. If you are around at 12:30pm, we feed you lunch.

Buddha Nature

Gyokuko Carlson
The teachings of Zen tell us that all living beings have Buddha Nature. We do our practices to uncover that which always there. Gyokuko explores some of what we experience in the practice of uncovering and discovering our true nature.

This talk was given Sunday, August 5.

Dharma Rain News – Inspection Passed!


Top news this week is that the duplexes have passed the final inspections, and are now certified for occupancy. As a result, our residents can officially move in, and we have flexibility to arrange these spaces for our use. This comes out of a lot of hard work on the part of many volunteers, and the leadership and shepherding from Kakumyo keeping it all together. Per the direction of the Board, we will continue working on fine-tuning and finishing the projects we have and paying down existing debt before starting anything new. Yesterday’s work party included Gary working hard on finishing the Unit 2 bathroom, among several other volunteers doing other tasks. Greatly-appreciated improvements are visible every week.


The gardens are beginning to produce on several fronts. These beautiful Lakota squash are Hanshin’s special project, and the residents already enjoyed the first one for dinner Wednesday night. Tenzo Shin’yu proudly shows other things coming from the gardens: beans, tomatoes, basil, red pepper, cucumbers. Oddly enough, we have almost no zucchini this year.

Wednesday Work Parties

We have regular Wednesday work parties from around 9am to 3:30pm. There is plenty of work for people to do, inside and outside, light and heavy. Come for as much or as little of the time as you wish. We have tools and gloves, but if you have your own, feel free to bring them. If you are around at 12:30pm, we feed you lunch.

New App for Donations and Payments

A new way to make donations or payments to DRZC is now available through a free app. GivePlus is designed for smart phones, and is compatible with Apple and Android devices.

After downloading the app, you can either enter Dharma Rain Zen Center or tap the Find Churches Near Me link. You can do a one-time donation or create an account to set up recurring donations. If you are already set up in Vanco, use your current user name and password. Check with Jyoshin in the office if you have questions or problems.

The app gives you control over your donations and payments – you can pay for retreats and classes, add new pledges, change recurring donations, and see the history of your donations.

We are adding options to pay for retreats and classes through Vanco on our registration forms. An advantage for Dharma Rain is that funds coming in are deposited directly to our bank, with a high level of security.

The Spectrum of Presence

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
We recognize that instances of giving and receiving attention are not all equivalent. Sometimes it can feel profound,other times trivial. We’ll explore this range, what it means, and our ability to affect where our behavior lands.

This talk was given Sunday, July 29.

Dharma Rain News

Kakumyo and two more volunteers worked on the playground structure Wednesday afternoon. More volunteers worked in the morning, and the structure is coming along nicely. Continuing to work in the afternoon in the current heat is difficult at best, requiring both dedication and making good decisions about when to stop.

Wednesday Work Parties

We have regular Wednesday work parties from around 9am to 3:30pm. There is plenty of work for people to do, inside and outside, light and heavy. Come for as much or little of the time as you wish. We have tools and gloves, but if you have your own, feel free to bring them. If you are around at 12:30pm, we feed you lunch.

Dongshan’s “Cold and Heat”

Jyoshin Clay
While we do not engage in formal koan study at Dharma Rain, many koans are held in our collective mind as valuable teaching stories. Jyoshin explores Dongshan’s “Cold and Heat”, a particularly apt study for our current summer weather patterns.

This talk was given on Sunday, July 22.

Dharma Rain News




Every Saturday morning, a happy group of immigrants from Ethiopia and Eritrea come to work in the community gardens next to the barn on Siskiyou property. This is a partnership with the Oregon Food Bank’s Seed to Supper program and the Ethiopian and Eritrean Cultural Resource Center. The garden has also received some financial support from the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) and the East Portland Neighborhood Office.

Yonas was trained and hired to serve as a Seed to Supper Ambassador so that he could bring gardening to his community. The program is designed to empower immigrant and refugee community leaders with the tools, resources and skills needed to teach their respective communities how to garden on a budget and to create thriving community gardens.

On Saturday, July 21, they were celebrating three of the women being pregnant, and also beginning to harvest food from their garden beds. Four boys decided they were going to dig a tunnel in the compost pile.

Here are some additional photos from the garden.

Wednesday Work Parties

We have regular Wednesday work parties from around 9am to 3:30pm. There is plenty of work for people to do, inside and outside, light and heavy. Come for as much or little of the time as you wish. We have tools and gloves, but if you have your own, feel free to bring them. If you are around at 12:30pm, we feed you lunch.

Perfect Generosity

Genko Rainwater
A new book – The Six Perfections by Dale Wright – inspires this talk. He writes about how to cultivate character using the Buddhist teachings on the paramitas. Genko reports on this and then goes on to explore the first paramita – dana, generosity.

This talk was given Sunday, July 15.

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