Dharma Rain Blog

The Marathon Monk of Mount Hiei

by Todd Tsuho Sattersten

I prepared this report for a seminary class I took at Dharma Rain Zen Center and found the topic so fascinating I wanted to share it further.

In 2015, James Lawrence completed a feat in endurance sports. Lawrence, who is also known as the Iron Cowboy, completed fifty Ironman marathons across fifty states in 50 days. Each day, he swam, biked and ran 141 miles and in the roughly two months, he covered over 7,000 miles.

Take a moment and note your reaction to that story. Do you believe me? Do you think it was a waste of time? Do you wonder why anyone would do that? I appreciate all of those reactions, but I want to tell you another story that may seem even more unbelievable.
read more…

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 17, for zazen, sanzen, and the Jukai Ceremony. Jiko and Fumyo offer sanzen. Note that the schedule is a little different.

8:30am Zazen (with optional sanzen)
9:00 Kinhin (walking meditation)
9:10 Zazen
9:40 Short Morning Service
10:00 Break / Rehearsal
10:45 Jukai Ceremony – Lay Ordination
12:00 Community Lunch – All Welcome

Fudo and Kojin

This Sunday we’re in for a special treat. Kosho Finch, a Shingon priest and the new reverend of the Henjyoji Temple, will do a talk on Fudo-Myoo and Kojin, represented in chants that we do regularly (particularly the Fudo Ceremony). Fudo is the statue to the right of Manjushri in front of the hall (to your left as you look toward the altar). Kosho notes that there are interesting overlapping practices for Shingon and Zen in Fudo and Kojin, and will share some of those with us.

This talk was given Sunday, February 10.

Prison Program Panel

Several Sangha members are involved in DRZC’s prison program, as volunteers, adults in custody, and prison grads. Many DRZC members don’t have a clear sense of who these folks are, how the program works, or what involvement in it might look like, so every few years we like to report back. Grads and volunteers talked about the rich gifts available in this experience. Genko and Gyoshi facilitated.

Due to technical glitch, some of Genko’s introduction was not included in the recording. So here is text from the first bit of it.

We wanted to start with Kyogen’s voice, when he introduced a similar panel in 2012. He was the one who gave Getsushin a letter from a inmate on Oregon’s death row almost a quarter-century ago, and started our prison program. Getsushin ran the program for several years, and finally stepped down into retirement. Genko and Gyoshi are now the co-facilitators.

At this point, volunteers go in to

  • Oregon State Penitentiary (OSP) in Salem
  • Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville – which is actually 3 prisons, and we go
    in to the two women’s facilities, Medium Security and Minimum Security
  • Eastern Oregon in Pendleton and Two Rivers in Umatilla
  • Columbia River Correctional Institution here in Portland
  • Maclaren in Woodburn, a youth facility
  • Multnomah County Inverness Jail here in Portland, seeing both men and women

All of these have volunteers going in every week or every other week for 1-2 hours.

What we bring in to these meetings

  • Silence, zazen
  • A way to be seen and heard
  • Assurance that someone values and cares about them
  • Dharma discussion
  • Tools for transformation
  • Assurance that transformation is possible

Good Friends

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
The Buddha told us to find good friends, and keep them close. What does this mean to a person of practice? How do we manage relationships? What is intimacy and companionship on the Path?

This talk was given Sunday, January 27.

Dharma Rain News

We now have two new residents, Mike and Josei. They will be here for a month. Fujaku arrives February 10. Other new residents will be coming in soon. Current residents are Jyoshin, Genko, Shin’yu, Ember, Kevin, Mike, and Josei. We’re glad you’re here!

Wednesday Work Parties

Dharma Rain hosts 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.

Weaving Precepts and Nehan

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
Both Shakyamuni Buddha and Eihei Dogen gave their last dharma teaching on the same topic. We’ll look at this teaching, a description of the marks of practice, and why both teachers felt it was so important for their students to remember.

This talk was given Sunday, January 20.

Dharma Rain News

On Sunday, January 13, Dharma School students, teachers and parents surprised Gyokuko, arriving at her back door to sing Dharma School songs and offer flowers. A small way to say “Thank you for Dharma School!”


Wednesday’s work party brought out several people who braved the windy and cold, but mostly dry weather to do winter cleanup and prep for spring in the garden. It was great to see so many people out there working harmoniously together, and the garden is looking great.

Wednesday Work Parties

Dharma Rain hosts 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.

Lineage Stories

Genko Rainwater
It’s a time of year when we look forward and back, and we can look to our lineage ancestors to provide us with inspiration for the future. Genko talks about the many ways we share stories and how that practice creates, maintains, and continues to build Sangha for all of us.

This talk was given Sunday, January 13.

Dharma Rain News

At yesterday’s work party, one of the tasks was to take down a tree that was in danger of falling. Here Kakumyo leads a crew in pulling it down.

Wednesday Work Parties

Dharma Rain hosts 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.