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 to recordings.

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

7-7:10pm Evening Service (Fukanzazengi)
7:10-7:40pm Zazen
7:40-7:50pm Break
7:50~9pm Class
~9-9:10 Vespers

Spring Class – Precepts

This class is about the 16 Bodhisattva Precepts, the ethical guidelines of Zen practice. Handouts with short readings will be provided in class. We will discuss both the theory and practice of working with the precepts, as well as how precepts can provide a karmic mirror for our thoughts, habits, and actions. This class leads up to a week-long sesshin (February 11-17), which culminates in Jukai (giving and receiving the precepts) ceremony on February 17. Taking the precepts at Jukai means formally becoming a Buddhist. If you would like to learn more, additional information will be provided in class. The instructor is Kakumyo Lowe-Charde.

Kakumyo is the Preceptor this year. If you are thinking of taking the Precepts, you need to meet with him. If you’re planning to take the Precepts, you are expected to take this class if at all possible.

January 2 – Introduction to Precepts
January 9 – Refuges and Three Pure Precepts
January 16 – First Three Grave Precepts
January 23 – Precepts Four, Five, Six
January 30 – Precepts Seven, Eight, Nine

Future Wednesday Classes

Beginning February 20 through April 10, Genko and Hakugyu will teach a series of eight classes on The Noble Eightfold Path. After Denkoe, beginning April 24 through May 29, Gyoshi will teach a six-week series on the Three Marks of Existence.


Seminary classes are intended to create and maintain a shared body of knowledge and understanding about Dharma and Soto Zen within the Sangha. Students may participate in the seminary program for seminary credit toward graduation or for personal enrichment without concern for credit. The Seminary Program also prepares members who are interested in moving into leadership and instructor roles in the sangha. In either case, Seminary classes are intended for members of Dharma Rain or its affiliated groups. The tuition, whether for seminary credit or non-credit study, is on a sliding scale from $25 to $50 per term.

Seminary students meet the eligibility criteria and formally enroll in seminary. Their class work is subject to observation and review, with a focus on their ability to integrate and express the material.

Students who take classes not-for-credit participate in class discussions and do the reading but are not required to complete the written assignments or projects.

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

Spring Term Student Program

The Spring Term student program emphasizes Dharma: in particular, clarifying the Dharma of one’s own life and experience, and learning to express and present it. Each of the three day-long retreat days will offer zazen, discussion, and opportunities to engage with expressing the dharma.

The Spring Term student program is open to members. Registered participants should plan on attending all three retreat days: March 9, April 13, May 4.

Please contact Jyoshin or Kengan for a brief check-in before March 5th as you will be given small tasks to prepare for the first retreat.

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.

Taking Your Seat

Finding your place in the practice of Zen and in a spiritual community is not always easy. Taking Your Seat is a program designed to help newer members of Dharma Rain establish their meditation practice, create warm relationships with other members, and become part of the temple community.

Taking Your Seat is for active members of Dharma Rain in their first few years of practice. The program is offered every other year, and will be offered again this fall.