Dharma Rain Blog

Gyokuko’s Retirement Ceremony

Gyokuko Carlson
On Sunday, January 6, Gyokuko will officially retire as co-abbot of Dharma Rain Zen Center after more than four decades of service. She and her husband Kyogen co-founded Dharma Rain Zen Center in 1974. A special ceremony will mark the occasion of her retirement formally, in place of the Dharma Talk, and a party following will include lunch and refreshments for all.

Join us this Sunday for zazen, sanzen, and the Abbot Retirement Ceremony. Jiko and Gyoshi offer sanzen.

8:30am Zazen (with optional sanzen)
9:00 Kinhin (walking meditation)
9:10 Zazen
9:40 Short Morning Service and Shuso Installation Ceremony
10:10 Break / Announcements
10:30 Abbot Retirement Ceremony
11:30 Retirement Party with Community Lunch – All Welcome

Dharma Rain News

Garden volunteers agree: this is the best time of year to weed the garden – the weeds come out so easily, unlike late spring and summer. Here a couple of the garden beds have been weeded and given compost, with more processing to go to get them through the winter and set up for spring. We can always use more help, of course, so if you are itching to get your fingers into the dirt, even in winter, please come join us on a Wednesday to get your hands dirty.

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.

New Year’s Eve

Though the temple is closed for two weeks, our annual joint New Year’s Eve celebration with Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple is here this year. Join us here at the Sodo for a different and wonderful way to ring in the new year.

We begin with a vegetarian potluck at 7pm, and move into sacred dancing, zazen, ceremonies, and end at midnight with formal tea ceremony where priests serve sparkling cider to each person individually.

The approximate schedule is as follows:

7pm – Potluck
8:30-9pm – Sacred Dance (led by Heart of Wisdom)
10pm – Fusatsu Ceremony (led by Heart of Wisdom)
10:30pm – Zazen & Kinhin with 108 tolls of the bell
11:30pm – New Year’s Ceremony (led by DRZC)
midnight – Priests serve sparkling cider to all assembled
afterwards – 108 additional tolls of the bell to welcome new year

Dharma Rain News – Bluebirds

Since mid-November, we’ve been visited by many birders looking to spot the eastern bluebird, as there have been many sightings on our property and in surrounding areas.

According to Wikipedia, the eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis) is a small thrush found in open woodlands, farmlands, and orchards. It is the state bird of Missouri and New York. Eastern bluebirds are found east of the Rockies, southern Canada to the Gulf states, and southeastern Arizona to Nicaragua.

It’s rare to see them this far west, hence the excitement. Birders communicate with each other online, so people have been coming from all over.

Here’s a recent correspondence from from one of the birders:

“First, thank you SO very much for allowing birders to enjoy these fantastic bluebirds on your Siskiyou campus. We appreciate your generosity, as well as your land stewardship, which created a good home for these birds.

“More importantly: You may have been warned already, but IF the birds stay through January 1st, you’re going to get a big influx of birders visiting/re-visiting the site the first couple weeks of the new year. This is because many of the birders who saw the birds in 2018 will want to see them again for their 2019 “Year Lists” (a list of all the bird species they’ve seen in Oregon that calendar year).”

It has been fun to watch birders in their native habitat enjoying the land. They are all respectful and grateful. Two of them pointed out a couple of birds in a tree right next to the path a couple of days ago, so it seems the birds like it here.

Transition of Winter Solstice

Jyoshin Clay
Jyoshin speaks of the need for honoring deep winter by taking some down time. We close down the temple for two weeks partly as a way of following the direction of the earth in resting in the darkness and the cold.

This talk was given Sunday, December 16.

Practicing with Brightness

Ko’in explores Dogen’s Komyo (Brightness), Koun Ejo’s Komyozo Zanmai (Treasury of Luminosity) and how she has been practicing with brightness and these teachings in this student talk.

This Sunday is the end of Rohatsu, and the end of fall Ango. We’re flashing back to an earlier time, when we traditionally ended Rohatsu with a special Festival of Jodo. This will take the place of Full Morning Service.

This talk was given Sunday, December 9.

Dharma Rain News

We are on Rohatsu Sesshin this week. Annen shared this beautiful image of the crescent moon and the morning star over the Sodo on Monday, December 3. She points out that we are blessed to practice in this beautiful place.

In other news, the 2018 Annual Report is now available for your perusal on the web site. Check out this impressive report of the year just past.

Dharma Rain News


Fall’s beauty invites photographs. Between Rocky Butte to the east of us, and the beautiful trees and shrubs all around us, we are blessed in this land. We are moving toward Rohatsu next week, and looking forward to sharing silence, sharing space, sharing beauty.

Ember happily puts lids on packages of pumpkin pie filling donated by Grand Central Bakery. Looks like lots of yummy pies in the future. Don’t worry, we’ll share!

Dharma Rain hosts regular Wednesday work parties but Next Wednesday (December 5) there will be no regular work party because of Rohatsu. There will be one more this year, on December 12, before the temple closes for two weeks.

Perfect Wisdom

Genko Rainwater
Prajnaparamita, Perfect Wisdom, completes the series of talks on the Six Perfections. Wisdom has been an integral part of each of the other five we’ve discussed, and is one of the key wings of practice we cultivate (along with Compassion). It can be difficult to talk about, but we will provide some pointers at least.

Join us this Sunday, December 2, for zazen, sanzen, and Genko’s Dharma Talk. Genko and Jiko 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 Perfect Wisdom
11:30 Community Lunch – All Welcome