A beneficent cloud containing enriching moisture,
Its lightning flashes bright and illuminating,
Its thunder sounds far-reaching and shattering,
Causing the multitudes to rejoice.

Medicinal Herbs, Lotus Blossom of the Fine Dharma, trans. Hurvitz

Our temple is named for a story told by the Buddha in the Lotus Sutra. In the story, they compare the even and steady rains from an immense cloud to the ability of the Dharma to reach and nourish all living beings.

Houn Jiyu Kennett, the teacher of Dharma Rain’s founders, is also connected to that story. Houn, in Japanese, means Dharma Cloud. We adopted the name Dharma Cloud to connect our extended lineage of sanghas throughout Oregon.

Kyogen said, “Sangha is the context in which Dharma happens. Without knowing one another in a true way, knowing someone from the heart, Dharma has a hard time really manifesting. The sangha should foster a sense of knowing one another in a whole way.”

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For more information, please read these letters from Dharma Rain’s Abbot and the Chair of the Board of Directors.

Dear Friend of Dharma Rain,

We’re doing something pretty special here.  Thank you for being part of it.

There’s a terrible amount of suffering in the world and it is heartbreaking to behold.  It is vitally important to be able to be a witness and a resource to the suffering that we meet, whether it is our own, another’s, or a more global, distributed form of dukha.  At Dharma Rain, we offer the dharma, the set of skills, practices, perspectives and supports that allow us to meet suffering with an open-hearted awareness that pulls forth compassion.  Without this practice, it is perilously easy to slide towards overwhelm, a sense of isolation and difference, and a callous remove from our experience, and the actions we could otherwise take to meet the suffering we encounter.

We are grateful to have been able to keep a continuity of practice visible and available for the last several years.  As we grapple with meeting the suffering around us, we need the support of this training container, reminding us of the beauty of still, simple awareness.  We need the array of programs and offerings to step into, whether live or via Zoom, that offer a dharmic perspective on our life.  We need the myriad examples of sangha members’ unique practice to inspire us.  We need the grounding clarity of walking through the temple grounds and knowing that this land has been dedicated to meeting this need, and that it matters.  

As we have for the last two years, we’re simplifying our annual fundraiser and instead of doing a large, in-person event we are reaching out in hopes of inviting your involvement on-line.  Like the last two years, instead of a fundraising event, we are offering a variety of smaller social events over the summer.

Please, consider making a donation that will help Dharma Rain do this ongoing, important work of cultivating compassion, love and wisdom, whatever the external conditions.

Thank you,

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde Abbot, Dharma Rain Zen Center

Dear Friend of Dharma Rain,

I’m writing again because this matters.  

In reflecting on why I am reaching out right now, asking for your help in sustaining our temple, what lands most solidly for me is that the need for practice is so great.  It’s as simple as that.  It’s as core to who we are as a temple and sangha as that.  We’re making ends meet, we’re not launching anything special that requires extra funding.  This appeal is because the need we are serving is so great, and we want to keep doing what we’re doing, and we want to do it better. 

There are times in life when everything is on the line.  This can be brought out by internal or external conditions, but it feels tumultuous, raw and vulnerable.  During these times who we think we are is up for grabs, our plans and identities are dissolving in front of us.  

Sometimes we can see this happening and take refuge.  Taking refuge in awareness, in the understanding and insight you have gained, in the mandala of wholesome, supportive relationships.  During these moments we turn towards our inherent buddhahood and we find relief and a kind of leverage that just didn’t make sense before.  

If you have made this pivot at some point in your life, please take action to nurture this capacity in others now.  

If you have seen someone else transform and know it is possible, please support so that you can experience it for yourself.  

If you are simply holding the possibility that transformation could happen, please support to build that faith.

Practice has always relied on layers of sangha.  Just so, as we are.  We don’t have to be perfect, we don’t have to have the answers, we don’t have to be any particular way.  But it is our birthright and responsibility to look for the pivot points and be courageous in using them when they appear.  

Generosity is one of the practices that builds our own capacity to let go of the self of one moment and make the pivot towards the next.  Please be part of, Dharma Cloud of Sangha, our on-line fundraiser this spring and help us all make the pivots that truly matter.

Thank you,

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde Abbot, Dharma Rain Zen Center

PS: Please consider adding Dharma Rain as a beneficiary in your estate plan. Such a legacy gift helps ensure that the dharma flourishes for generations to come. Information on ways to do that are found here.

If you would prefer, donations via check may be mailed to:
Dharma Rain Zen Center
8500 NE Siskiyou
Portland, OR 97220.

All donations are gratefully received.

Letter from the Board

Roshi Kennett said time and proximity deepen practice. Sharing our practice with others gives us feedback. There is a trust built when we take refuge in the sangha. Being near others with the same intention for practice-realization expands our capacity towards wise choices and compassionate action.

The work we do at Dharma Rain individually and together as a sangha is important. I am deeply grateful for all the ways we have practice together.  There are many—from services and sanzen to sesshins and seminary. To this day, it is a wonderful mystery how sitting with others, quiet and still, in the Sodo is as intimate as anything in this life. Proximity matters.

Over the next week, we ask for your support. Your contributions sustain this collective practice. Please consider making a donation to the Spring fundraiser.

Thank you,

Todd Tsuho Sattersten Board Chair, Dharma Rain Zen Center

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