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

Fall Class – Foundational Teachings

Gyoshi and Julie team up to teach a series of 11 classes on the basic teachings of Buddhism. See the Syllabus.

  • September 5. Introduction. Life of the Buddha in historical perspective, as myth, and as a teaching.
  • September 12. Earliest teachings of the Buddha: First and Second Noble Truths
  • September 19. No class (Heart of Work retreat)
  • September 26. Earliest teachings of the Buddha: Third and Fourth Noble Truths / Eightfold Path
  • October 3. The 3 Marks of Existence: Suffering, Impermanence, and No-self, part 1
  • October 10. The 3 Marks of Existence: Suffering, Impermanence, and No-self, part 2 [recording failed]
  • October 17. Karmic conditioning. The law of karma, Sange.
  • October 24. Dependent Origination
  • October 31. The arc of our lives: Six Realms / Rebirth / 3 poisons
  • November 7. Arhats and Bodhisattvas: The main Theravada and Mahayana branches. Intention, vows, practice.
  • November 14. Zen: The Five Hindrances. The Three Poisons as personality types
  • November 21. NO CLASS. (Thanksgiving)
  • November 28. Aspects of Zen: Ancestors, Zen’s contribution to Buddhist practice, and a tiny taste of Dogen


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.

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 is expected to be offered again in fall of 2019.