Dharma Garden Teachers & Staff

Gyokuko Carlson founded the Dharma Garden program. She is the director and co-abbot of Dharma Rain Zen Center and has been teaching Zen for over 20 years. Class teachers are active members of the Dharma Rain Sangha who bring their personal experience of practice and appreciation of children’s development to their lessons and classes.

Dharma School

When new teachers join the school, they serve a short apprenticeship under a more experienced staff person and then volunteer as assistants, usually for at least one school year. On average, Dharma School teachers have done about ten years of Zen practice.

2018-2019 Dharma School Teachers

  • Daisy Group:
    Ko’in & Sarah
  • Willow Group:
    Brandon & Kemyo
  • Dogwood Group:
    Sokyo & Carrie
  • Spruce Group:
    Kyra & Hakugyu
  • Doug Fir Group:
    Kevin & Kakuon
  • Parents Group:
    Jiteki & Jyoshin
  • Music:
    Gabe, & Dave

Although Dharma School is a program of Dharma Rain Zen Center, and most of the teachers are involved in Zen practice, we strive for a non-sectarian atmosphere and curriculum, as children from numerous other Buddhist traditions regularly attend. Parents are an important part of the program, but act in supportive roles rather than through direct contact with children. This provides alternative role models for the children, and fosters parental involvement with the adult sangha.

We have been running this program since the mid-1980s. Our best measure of success is the school’s continuing growth and the number of children and young people who keep returning and asking for more.

Dharma Garden Council

DGSC Steering Committee
The Dharma Garden Council serves to guide and administer the Dharma Garden programs. Current members include: Nicole Ko’in Newsom, Jennifer Jiteki Freda, Shin’yu Vitells, J Kakuon Christian, and Audrey Kemyo Lingley.