Dharma Rain has many programs available to members in addition to the regularly scheduled zazen and services.
- Practice Advisors
- Taking Your Seat
- Term Student Program
- Prison Program
- Residency Program
- Daoren Circle
- 7-Up Group
The Zen Center offers one-on-one assistance in the form of Practice Advisors to all members, whether new to Zen practice or just new to Dharma Rain. Practice Advisors are Lay Disciples who can either meet with you or chat over the phone or by e-mail to answer your questions. They can help you find your way into the community or answer questions about terminology or explain who’s who at Dharma Rain. They are ready to answer basic practice questions about sitting practice and retreat forms, and are ready to discuss lots of the other questions and concerns that come up in practice. Deeper matters or personal concerns they will refer to the teachers, but working with a Practice Advisor is a great way to get more comfortable with life at the Zen Center. If interested, contact the Center, and we will connect you with the practice advisor coordinator.
Taking Your Seat
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. This program is for active members of Dharma Rain in their first two years of practice. The program usually begins in September and includes six meetings over the course of four months.
Meetings include discussions and exercises, as well as informal social time and chances to practice forms. Topics are based partly on what the group wants and needs, but may include a review of foundational teachings, practicing oryoki, investigating mondo, exploring the purpose of formal practice, how Dharma Rain is organized, and gateways for practice at Dharma Rain — or just having dinner together. Attendance at all or part of a formal sesshin during this multi-month period is encouraged and supported. There are many chances to ask questions and get to know each other in the context of practice and the treasure of Sangha.
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The Term Student program is designed to provide structure for members of Dharma Rain Zen Center who wish to intensify their practice and Sangha connections for a specific period of time. Terms are three months long, with one term in the Fall, and sometimes one in the Spring. Committing to a term provides a clear beginning and end to a period when Zen practice and involvement at the Zen Center take a higher priority in your life.
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Dharma Rain Zen Center’s prison outreach program takes meditation and Buddhist teachings to seven institutions in Oregon. In addition, we provide Dharma Friends (pen pals and/or visitors) for inmates, and also transition services for those releasing from prison, in connection with the Home for Good in Oregon (HGO) program. We are always in need of more volunteers both for going in to the institutions regularly and also for Dharma Friends.
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Residential practice is an opportunity for members to live in the Center, part-time or full-time. Dharma Rain Zen Center residents commit to becoming an intimate part of the residential community as well as deepening their relationship to the larger DRZC Sangha. They commit to spending more time and energy doing formal practice within the context of Sangha than is usually possible outside of residency. During their term of residency they seek out and accept guidance from the Center teachers, Soto Zen teachings, and the dharma inherent in the Center’s training matrix and traditions. As work outside the temple and personal commitments allow, residents attend daily zazen, communal meals, Wednesday evening and Sunday morning programs, work practice days, Fusatsu and in-town retreats. They have informal sanzen (interview) with the Center teachers at least once a term and participate in the Term Student program if possible. They also hold regular temple jobs and make themselves available for temple work projects.
DRZC members who have been actively involved in the Center for at least a year are eligible for residency. An interview process by the Residency Review Committee (which includes a board member, an abbot, and the Head of Residency) decides with the applicant whether this is appropriate for them and us at the time.
Current residents (as of January 16, 2018): Genko, Jyoshin, Shin’yu, Sarah, Kaigen (on temporary loan from Great Vow Zen Monastery), and Will.
Daoren means “person of the Way.” In Soto practice, “the Way” is always right before you, the way you are facing.
Daoren is open to new members until July 1st. If you think you might want to become a Daoren beginning with fall term, please contact Jill Bukkai Washburn or Kyri Kengan Treiman, or speak to any grey-robed Daoren member before July 1st.
Daoren seek to practice the Way wholeheartedly especially within the concrete details of their everyday lives and activities. Daoren rigorously nourish this intention through exploration and commitment to the Mahayana practice of vow. Vows in common and personal vows are put in place as everyday markers for practice opportunities. Each Daoren must deeply consider how to meet these commitments in their lives.
Although spending most of their time outside of the supportive context of the Dharma Rain residential community, Daoren are full and active members of the temple and are deeply inspired by the rigorous tradition of Zen Buddhist monastic form.
Daoren constantly seek to convert personal preference and habit energy through the daily practice of zazen and the precepts, simple ritual and dedication.
Continue reading… [Daoren Circle]
Designed to address the needs of senior practitioners in the community, this discussion group is open to DRZC members who have had at least seven years of practice in a meditation tradition. Not all of the years accrued have to have been at Dharma Rain, or even in the Zen tradition. Participants take turns introducing topics and facilitating the monthly meetings. The aim is for real and considered engagement without intellectualizing. If you have questions or feedback you can contact the Center.