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.

Winter Classes

We began Precepts study in January, a six-week series leading up to DaiJukai in mid-February. The Precepts are our ethical guidelines, and we work with them in a particular way.

Our current class began February 22. Jyoshin facilitates a 7-week series of classes on Methods of Practice, an occasional offering that explores different Buddhist practices. We invite priests and senior lay students from a variety of traditions (some this year include Shingon, Theravada, Pine Street Sangha, Zen/Quaker) to share their practice with us. This is an opportunity 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 Journaling (Nelly Kaufer, Pine Street Sangha).

Following this series, and after Denkoe Sesshin, a new series on Buddhism and Nature begins April 19 and goes through May 31.

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

Seminary Class Registration - Wisdom Sutras - Spring 2017

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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.

Zen Sewing Workshops. This six-week series will look at sewing as practice. Each week’s lesson will include history and theory, how-to instructions, and hands-on practice with real projects (DRZC’s or your own). We will begin with sewing Buddha’s Robe (kesa, rakusu, wagessa), then move to Zen clothing (meditation robe, samue), and finally sitting aids (zabuton, zafu). If you are already working on something or wish to start something new for yourself in any of these categories, you are invited to join us to sew in community.

Equipment and most materials provided. Taught by DRZC Sewing Master Genko Rainwater Tuesdays 7-9pm, from January 3 to February 7 in the Sodo. Cost is $30. Register with Genko [genko at], or just show up for the first night of class.