Dharma Rain Blog

Dharma Rain News

A family enjoys the snow on Wednesday. Many people from the surrounding neighborhood regularly enjoy the property with children, dogs, cameras, etc.


Thursday morning icicles dangle from the snow packed on top of the Sodo. The man in the red shirt was doing plumbing inside of the duplexes. A snow-flocked Rocky Butte is visible above the duplex rooflines.

Kakumyo works on utility closets inside the duplexes. During Jukai, these closets got framed in, and sheet-rocking began.

Wednesday Work Parties

We have regular Wednesday work parties from around 9:30am 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.

A Safe Foundation for Practice

Mike Gyoshi Kaplan
Western psychology tells us that our personal needs for safety must be met before we can do much with our instinct towards spiritual transformation. This seems to be true, but that ‘seems’ encompasses a lot of territory that’s worth exploring: What is the source of the sense of danger that often arises as we push against our edges of practice? How does a sense of danger interfere with our practice? How can we discern between real and imagined danger? Can fear even assist our spiritual journey? How do the three refuges help? How can we practice with this? We will explore these and other questions together. Please bring your aspiration and fear.

Join us this Sunday, February 25, for Zazen, sanzen and Gyoshi’s Dharma Talk. Gyoshi and Gyokuko offer sanzen.

8:30am Zazen
9:00 Kinhin (walking meditation, with optional sanzen)
9:10 Zazen
9:40 Full Morning Service
10:10 Break / Announcements
10:30 A Safe Foundation for Practice
11:45 Informal Community Lunch – All invited.

New Lay Buddhists

On Sunday, February 18, 14 people took the Precepts at Dharma Rain, the largest cohort in several years. Now that we are settling into our new space, we are moving forward as a Sangha into new growth. Shown from left to right (all rows) are Renso (Jisha), Wayne Elowyn Lowe, Anne Harper, Donna McGeein, Rachel Meier, Karen Howard, Mark Espina, Michael Shur, Brian Howard, Jiko Tisdale (Preceptor), Will Roberts, Andy Peters, David Schumacher, Carl Peters, John Burkett, Annen Moyer (Shuso), Ian Young, Ko’in Newsome (Jikko).

Jukai Ceremony – Lay Ordination

This Sunday culminates several weeks of study and one week of retreat for those taking the Precepts in our annual Jukai Ceremony. The retreat is in full swing, leading up to the ceremony on Sunday, when individuals receive the Bodhisattva Precepts and formally become Buddhists. Please come to witness this important event in the growth of the Sangha.

Join us this Sunday, February 18, for Zazen and the Jukai Ceremony. Note that the schedule is a little different.

8:30am Zazen
9:00 Kinhin (walking meditation)
9:10 Zazen
9:40 Short Morning Service
10:00-10:45 Break/Rehearsal
10:45 Zazen
11:00 Lay Ordination
12:00 Informal Community Lunch – All invited.

Dharma Rain News

We are in the middle of Jukai Sesshin, and you are welcome to join in for any part of it except meals. See the schedule to find out when you can slip in and partake of this container of practice. (The Sunday early morning schedule may change.)

During February we have seen some beautiful sunsets from the property. This photo was taken from the porch of Uji.

We have rearranged the zendo so that more chairs are forward from where they have been. We hope this encourages people to move up, particularly for Dharma Talks. It should allow those who need to sit in chairs to be more integrated into the rest of the sangha in the zendo.

Last week, we got sidewalks installed in front of the duplexes, which has been a great help in ongoing work. This week, in addition to work on the duplexes, work practice during the sesshin has included work in the gardens, sewing, kitchen, housekeeping, and landscaping work on the property. It all makes a difference.

Wednesday Work Parties

We have regular Wednesday work parties from around 9:30am 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.

Awe, Insight, Immediacy

As the stream of life flows through awareness, some moments stand out as being more meaningful, impactful, or important. We may assume that it’s because of the content of what we’re aware of, but usually, it’s not. How do we cultivate experiences of awe, insight and immediacy in our daily life?

This talk was given Sunday, February 11.

Dharma Rain News


The successful Feldenkrais workshop attracted a mix of people, members and non-members of Dharma Rain, who found it valuable for increasing range of motion and overall physical health. It was gentle enough that everyone was able to work to their own capacity. If there is interest, we may offer the workshop again. The photo shows people warming up while Sarah checks people in.

Wednesday Work Parties

We have regular Wednesday work parties from around 9:30am 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.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Dharma Garden and Prison Sangha

Thank you to the 88 members who completed our recent diversity, equity, and inclusion survey. Now we turn our attention to surveying Dharma Garden families (Dharma School, Dharma Camp, and Frog Song Preschool), and members of our Prison Sangha in seven correctional facilities across the state. Findings from all three surveys will be included in our final report and recommendations in late spring.

Many Zen sanghas in the West, including Dharma Rain, have grappled with issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion for decades. At the same time, our communities are becoming increasingly diverse. Taken together, these trends pose both opportunities and challenges in our effort to ensure the dharma is available and accessible to all. Dharma Rain recently launched a diversity, equity,and inclusion assessment and planning process, which is being facilitated by Bruner Strategies.

Nehan

Jyoshin Clay
On Sunday, February 4, we celebrated our annual Nehan ceremony, commemorating the Buddha’s passing into parinirvana. Jyoshin’s talk reflected on the teachings of the death of the Buddha and explored its significance for those of us practicing the Buddha’s path 2600 years later. How do we relate to these teachings? What is applicable for modern Zen students in a culture where death is often hidden away out of sight?

Listen to this talk.

Fifth-Graders Field Trip to DRZC

Shin’yu gives instruction and leads children in meditation in the zendo.

On Friday, February 2, a fifth-grade class from Cedarwood Waldorf school came to do a field trip to DRZC to work in the orchard and also to spend some time in the zendo learning about Buddhism. Afterwards, their teacher sent an e-mail and attached photos.

Thank you all so much for yesterday’s visit to Dharma Rain. I’ve heard from several parents in the last 24 hours about how captivated their kiddos were by the Zen Center.

Here are two reflections from two of the parents who joined us:

Kakumyo explains the task.
From Bob:
I was very interested to see how the kids would do with the work project. I don’t know the group very well yet, so it was hard to know what to expect. But I guess I wasn’t surprised, really, given what I do know from limited observation. The kids worked hard and actually got a lot accomplished in a relatively short time. I joked … that the job might involve clearing an amount of blackberries equivalent to one’s body weight, but, luckily, this wasn’t necessary.

The class was well-prepared to receive the orientation given inside the main meditation hall. They put effort into the short meditation session and provided thoughtful responses during the short discussion afterward. I am planning to ask [my daughter] some questions over the next days and weeks about her impressions of the place; I expect we will return to help with more projects there and we may investigate joining. … I am happy to see the class explore yet another fascinating corner of Portland.

Children got to explore the instruments as part of their time in the zendo.


From Amy:
We explored the acreage that not so long ago was strewn with construction site garbage. Some remaining piles of concrete are now covered with the most stunning green mosses, fitting well with the Japanese aesthetic of the property. We learned about the thousand new trees planted. We saw chickens, hummingbirds, olive trees and quince that is in bloom (its fresh branches adorning each altar). The children worked diligently – a high priority in the buddhist spiritual practice. Children’s hands were in the dirt, or pruning or hauling heavy buckets of mulch. Some kids mastered the pitchfork.

Finally, we spent time in the temple. Loveliest for me was watching our kids dialogue with the monk. She asked questions and children answered. Children were curious and she enlightened us. The teacher taught about the four noble truths and led us in a 10-minute meditation (you could have heard a pin drop). The children were engaged and mindful, showing they were reverent and present in the sacred space. I am so thankful the children had this opportunity to experience what it can feel like to notice self, be curious, listen in stillness. As the bus drove off, I considered how we grew in consciousness about what spiritual life can look like. Today we were near to goodness that gives life meaning.

The children, directed by their teacher, sang us a thank-you song before they left, with words said by the Buddha.

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