Dharma Rain Blog

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.

Gyokuko’s Party


More than 150 people showed up to wish Gyokuko (in gold kesa, center) well on her retirement. The group photo shows a portion of those who gathered for a photo after the ceremony. The ceremony was brief and dignified, and after that everyone in the hall got to say thanks in whatever way they wished to in turn.
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New Stewardship Document Available

A new document looks at the history and current status of property development by Dharma Rain Zen Center at our Siskiyou property, with a particular focus on environmental stewardship. Special thanks to Kaishin for her advocacy and her work helping to create this document.

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.