Wednesday evening classes

There is a class at the Zen Center most Wednesday nights, except during the summer months and the month of December. Classes focus primarily on Buddhadharma (Buddhist teaching), particularly from the Soto Zen perspective. Recordings of current classes are found below as they are available. For past classes, please contact the Center for links.

We meet at the Sodo (8500 NE Siskiyou) on this schedule:

7-7:10pm Evening Service
7:10-7:40 Zazen
7:40-7:50 Tea, Announcements
7:50~9 Class
9-9:10 Vespers

All Wednesday night classes are free and open to the public. Though there is no charge, donations are gratefully accepted.

Spring Classes

After Denkoe Sesshin, a new series of classes called Buddha / Nature: not two began April 19 and goes through May 31.

This class explores how traditional Zen practices help one realize our basic nature as not separate from the natural world. We will examine practices and themes found in Zen and how they are consistent with deep ecology, including practices of the wild and touching earth practices. A special effort will be made to connect with and articulate contemporary spiritual struggles on the topic that class members are exploring. The focus will be on creating and enhancing related daily routines and habits. Taught by Sosetsu and Kaishin.

The previous class series, Methods of Practice, is an occasional offering that explores different Buddhist practices. We invited priests and senior lay students from a variety of traditions (some this year included Shingon, Theravada, Pine Street Sangha, Zen/Quaker) to share their practice with us. This opportunity allowed us to see what is consistent among traditions and what the differences are, and also to hear how the Dharma is presented by the various traditions.

  • February 22. Introduction. How does Zen fit into the context of greater Buddhism?
  • March 1. Theravada.
  • March 8. Shingon. Was not recorded.
  • March 15. Reflective Awareness (Nelly Kaufer, Pine Street Sangha).
  • March 22. Quaker / Zen. Alison Krieger.
  • March 29. Theravada (PIMC). Was not recorded.
  • April 5. Wrap-up and processing. Was not recorded.

During the summer (June through August), we typically don’t have classes on Wednesday night. Instead, we alternate between two formats: one is two periods of sitting separated by kinhin (walking meditation) and followed by Vespers; and the other is one period of sitting followed by a discussion led by a senior member.

Dharma Studies / Seminary

Dharma Studies / Seminary classes are intended to create and maintain a shared body of knowledge and understanding about Dharma and Soto Zen within the Sangha. Classes may be taken for formal seminary credit toward graduation, or for personal enrichment without concern for credit. In either case, Dharma Studies / Seminary classes are intended for members who are senior practitioners with an understanding of fundamental Buddhist and Soto Zen concepts and vocabulary. Tuition is $120/term.

Dharma studies classes are in-depth explorations of Dharma available to members of Dharma Rain or its affiliated groups for personal enrichment. Students may choose to audit the material by attending classes and reading, or do the class assignment for their own experience. Tuition is $60/term.

The seminary program is for the training of members who expect to move into leadership and instructor roles. These students must apply and meet specified criteria. Their class work will be subject to a higher level of observation and review, with a focus on their ability to integrate and express the material. When a person enters the seminary training track, their prior work in seminary-level courses is reviewed, and it may be requested that they repeat a class in order to have their work assessed at this greater level of scrutiny.

See more information about the Seminary program, including prerequisites and how to apply.

In Spring of 2017, Kakumyo and Jiko teach a class on the Wisdom Sutras. The class will explore Buddhism’s prajnaparamita literature. This body of writing focuses on the teachings of emptiness and non-duality, and studying it is an exercise in denying conceptualization. This is a core seminary course, required for graduation. Class will be a mix of lecture and discussion, with required readings of primary and secondary texts, writing assignments and short student presentations. Ten classes on Tuesday evenings beginning March 7. See the Syllabus.

  • 3/7/17 – General Introduction, Background, Context, Key Vocabulary
  • 3/14/17Perfection of Wisdom in 8000 Lines – Verse Summary (Ratnaguna)
  • 3/21/17Perfection of Wisdom in 8000 Lines – Verse Summary (Ratnaguna)
  • 3/28/17Prajnaparamita as Bodhisattva
  • 4/4/17Perfection of Wisdom in 8000 Lines – Prose (Ashta)
  • 4/11/17Perfection of Wisdom in 8000 Lines – Prose (Ashta)
  • 4/18/17Heart Sutra
  • 4/25/17Heart Sutra
  • 5/2/17The Diamond Sutra
  • 5/9/17The Diamond Sutra

Independent Study Groups

Authorized instructors and teachers may offer study groups intended for enrichment, with permission of the Dharma Council. Such small group classes or groups are not considered seminary classes and will not count for credit toward Seminary requirements. Instructors may manage these groups independently: they can set prerequisites, limit numbers, require reading outside of class time and so on.

Each small group study has a fee of $30 to cover building costs. The instructor handles registration and is responsible for collecting fees.