Dharma Talks are offered on Sunday mornings by teachers or senior students. These talks are designed to present some element of a dharmic theme in a way that is accessible to a public audience. Each of our teachers has a different dharma “voice,” sharing their understanding for the benefit of all in a way that is unique to them.  More formal than a teisho (a talk given during a sesshin), and less structured than a class or lecture, Dharma Talks bring a personal, human element to the articulation of zen topics.

Recent Dharma Talks

Date Title & Details Speaker Listen Download
04/04/2021
A Walk in the Park

Kakumyo talks about discovering the absolute within the relative.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
03/28/2021
Faith, Hope, and Charity

There’s a Christian song that starts “Have Faith, Hope, and Charity; that’s the way to live successfully.” These somewhat old-fashioned words, Biblical words, words in a song, speak of values we cherish in Buddhism as well, though we may express it somewhat differently.

What are these three virtues, and how do they manifest in our lives? What does it mean to have faith, to have hope, to have charity? Genko explores these questions and more in her Dharma Talk.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
03/17/2021
The Seven Factors of Enlightenment Class 4

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sokuchu Mader, Zonnyo Riger
03/21/2021
Ripple Effects

Sometimes the dharma rain seeps in and nourishes us in the way we’re hoping. Other times it seems to bounce off like a spring hail. Perhaps there’s no obvious button to push to change things. When we’re caught like this, we’re probably narrowing the range of our experience so the specific insult takes up more space than is warranted. This Sunday, Kakumyo will speak about how our basic relationship to emptiness subtly impacts virtually every other dharmic and life decision and perception. When we can make a little pivot in a very deep, central part of our experience, the effect can ripple through many different aspects of our life.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
03/14/2021
Identity Injury

All the qualities of our identity are empty of self-nature, especially the qualities of the body. Yet such things as skin color and gender are often treated as “real” – as permanent, fixed, and conveying value. Suffering is the result. The talk this week will focus on this ‘injury of identity,’ particularly in regard to gender, and what it means to ally on behalf of such identifiers even as we reject them as true identity. Why do we recite a women’s lineage? Why do we point out gender as a characteristic when the Dharma tells us all such characteristics are empty?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
03/07/2021
How Not to Zen

One of the barriers many people experience in meditation practice, and especially in the Zen tradition, are concerns about whether we are going to do it wrong. This shows up in many distinct flavors, sharing a common theme of anxiety. This Sunday Kakumyo will talk about how we meet this barrier and how it relates to sangha treasure and the ongoing, lifelong practice of awareness.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
02/28/2021
New Beginnings

A sense of spring is vibrating toward manifesting. Frogs are singing a symphony each night at Siskiyou Square. We spotted crocuses coming up in the garden, and there’s a hint of color in the plum grove. In spite of the recent ice and snow, and the fact that we could still get more cold weather, even snow, during the next couple of months, there’s a definite feeling of spring in the air. With new beginnings, it’s sometimes tempting to forget about the past and just forge ahead as if it never happened. Certainly I’ve seen a lot of people want to expunge 2020 from memory. It’s been almost a year since we closed the temple for a time during the first Covid lockdown. What have we learned during the past year to carry forward positively into these new beginnings?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
02/14/2021
A Zen Valentine

Valentine’s Day, a day to profess romantic love to your special someone. Chocolate, cards, flowers, coziness, making that extra effort to show you care. What might this look like in a Zen context? Rather than making an extra effort for that special someone, what if you expressed your love for everyone? What if you cultivated compassion not only on one calendar day, but all days? What would that take?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
02/07/2021
Living Practice

This Sunday we commemorate the Buddha’s death. In the sutra that details his final teachings, there’s a discussion of the mind that seeks the way. We will look at the discovery, expression, and honing of this mind, and see why it is so pivotal in Zen practice.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
01/31/2021
Sustainable Bodhisattva Practice in a World on Fire (missing audio)

What is sustainable bodhisattva practice when the world is (often literally) on fire? How do we enact our bodhisattva vows in the face of all of this suffering – caused by racism, the global pandemic, the breakdown of earth’s natural life support systems, and global heating, among so many other things? Our vow is to “save all beings” but – at least in terms of an individual’s goal – that’s impossible. Domyo will offer a three-ingredient approach to honoring our bodhisattva vow in a tangible, rewarding, and sustainble way, as opposed to it being a largely irrelevant ideal.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Domyo Burk
01/24/2021
Light

The long nights of winter are slowly giving way to our long days of spring and summer. Light has many meanings, and many functions. How do we experience the shift from shadow to light? What happens when there is so much light that we can see all the detail in the world?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
01/17/2021
Asking the Question

It can be said that Zen Buddhism, rather than being a system of belief, is a practice of exploration and self-discovery. Built on the teachings of the Buddha, Zen asks us to look deeply into our lives, habits, and relationships and learn to transform unwholesome action to wholesome action. Experiences of questions and answers have flavored Buddhism since its inception and have been carried onward throughout the millennia. Yet, sometimes we can get caught in a sense of uncertainty when it comes to asking spiritual questions. What do I say? Is this appropriate? Am I being nosy? I bet everyone knows this but me…

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
01/10/2021
Practicing with Personal Transitions

We all face many transitions, both big and small, during our lives. Some we choose and some seem to fall on us with an unwelcome thud. In either case it’s ours to meet these transitions in such a way that we can grow with them. In this dharma talk, Gyoshi will address various aspects of practicing with transition: how and why we often try to block change, how we know what is ours to do, embracing impermanence, forgiveness of self and others, and how we relate to our roles and responsibilities.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Mike Gyoshi Kaplan
01/03/2021
A Bright Shiny New Year

Now we have this new year full of hope and promise. With the turn of the calendar and the magic of new numbers we can imagine that we are living in a different, better world. And of course things continue to change. Many people’s thoughts turn to aligning their lives more closely with their true aspirations, and make resolutions to shape up in various ways. How can we do this skillfully, so that real change is likely, and likely to tend in the direction we intend? Genko addresses this and more in her talk this Sunday.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
12/20/2020
Darkness

As we meet the longest night of the year, how do we enter into darkness? The dark is a rich image in Zen. Let us talk about those meanings, and the real dark and the real night of this winter.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
12/06/2020
Dharma Talk

Join us this Sunday as Kakumyo gives us a head start on Rohatsu. This retreat is where put all of the energy we have cultivated over the past year.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
11/29/2020
The Dharma as PPE

Last week, Annen spoke of dukka, the First Noble Truth, and the effects of the pandemic on dharma practice. In this week’s talk, Jyoshin will look at Dharma as PPE (personal protective equipment). This talk topic was suggested by a Buddhist chaplain and the talk is dedicated to healthcare workers and staff, as well as to all dharma practitioners everywhere.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
11/22/2020
The more things change…

“Life is suffering.” This is a common translation of the first noble truth of Buddhism and during this pandemic, suffering and sorrow seem even more visible and tangible than usual. This week, Annen considers suffering (Pali: dukka) in its pre-pandemic and pandemic forms, and the silver lining that lies hidden in plain sight

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jeanna Annen Moyer
11/15/2020
Clarity, Equanimity, and Balance in Difficult Times

We have been talking about karma and recognizing the harm we have caused and how we can heal. This Sunday, let us step back a bit and talk about the experience of being hurt in the first place. How do we hold our traumas, alone and as a community?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
10/25/2020
Clarity, Equanimity, and Balance

This week’s dharma talk is Clarity, Equanimity, and Balance in Difficult Times, a recording of a talk given by Kyogen Carlson, one of our founders, on October 12, 2008. Kyogen talks about the circumstances surrounding his and Gyokuko’s break from Shasta Abbey, the highly charged 2008 presidential election, and the transformation that can occur when all that supports us seems to be crumbling.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kyogen Carlson
10/11/2020
A Watched Pot Never Boils

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
10/04/2020
Proving Dharma

One impediment to making good use of our meditation practice and the teachings of Buddhism is a lack of confidence that they apply to an actual situation or that they will be effective. On Sunday, Kakumyo will explore some of these concerns and discuss the Buddha’s answer to this question.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
09/27/2020
Emptiness Upon Emptiness

In honor of the Two Ancestors, Dogen and Keizan, celebrated this week, we will consider the story of the Buddha holding up a flower, and ask ourselves, when is a flower just a flower?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
09/20/2020
Commitment and Vigor

Kakumyo speaks about the difficulty of staying available for practice. How do we continue to show up for difficult, transformative work over time?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
09/13/2020
Transitions and Transformation

One of the ways suffering occurs is when permanence is sought where there is no permanence. Ease occurs when the realization that we are grasping at concepts arises and the mind reorients. In other words, things change – even if we don’t want them to. Things change – often in ways we hadn’t expected or imagined them to. This Sunday, Jyoshin will talk about transitions and transformation and how they ripple out into the world.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
09/06/2020
Ending the Pursuit of Happiness

Linda Hoka Bebernes will show how ending the pursuit of happiness has enabled her practice to unfold, while sharing some insights from the edge of her practice now.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Linda Hoka Bebernes
08/30/2020
Sangha Speaks Sharing the Experience of Covid-19

This Sunday Kakumyo gave a talk in which he opened the floor for everyone to talk about how their world view has changed during this pandemic.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
08/23/2020
Climate of Mind

Seido will speak to our collective fears about the impact of a changing climate and how Buddhism liberates us from the two extremes of apathy and despair. This talk emerged after a January joint sangha sesshin in Corvallis focused on our intimate relationship to the natural world, the experience of deep time, our capacity to face the profound losses and still care for the vibrant life within which we are always embedded.  

Categories: Dharma Talks

Debra Seido Martin
08/16/2020
Do Buddhists Pray?

Buddhism is not a theology, but it is a religion. Many Buddhists have a deep relationship to a spiritual mystery. How do feelings like devotion and prayerful urges work in Buddhism and Zen? What does it mean to surrender in our practice?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
08/09/2020
Tranquility and Discernment

The process of perception is a rich topic of investigation in Buddhism. So much of who we are and the world we inhabitat is mediated by our own filters. This talk will explore how the capacities for tranquility and discernment nourish each other.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
08/02/2020
Chimyo Atkinson

Chimyo Atkinson was ordained in 2007 and received Dharma transmission under Rev. Teijo Munnich in 2015. She completed her monastic training in Japan and the US. Until recently, she served as Head of Practice at Great Tree Zen Women’s Temple in Alexander, North Carolina

Categories: Dharma Talks

Chimyo Atkinson
07/26/2020
Race, Tribe, and Self

Did you know that the Buddha addressed racism explicitly in his teachings? He was dealing with the caste system, and expressed clear views on it. If we are all one people, why and how did we get to this mess of perceiving different races, and treating people differently based on it. Why is it so hard to change it? Genko attempts to untangle a few of these threads, and suggests some ways forward. (Hint: they all are based on Buddhist practice.)

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
07/19/2020
Responsibility and Abundance

This Sunday, Kakumyo will talk about the process of discerning whether some discordance in our life is ours to transform or not. If it is, what do we need to help this transformation along? If it’s not, how do we relate to it?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
07/12/2020
Dwelling on Past Mistakes

One of our Precepts says “Do Not Dwell on Past Mistakes.” We usually study this Precept as it applies to us personally, as we dwell either on our own or others’ mistakes. We’re in a place now nationally where many of our society’s past mistakes are coming home to roost, and we’re being asked to study and acknowledge past failures. Typical responses to this can be guilt, paralysis, defensiveness, anger, defiance, and confusion. What does it mean to “dwell” on past mistakes, and how do we move forward constructively from this place? Genko doesn’t have all the answers, but explores some of these questions in Sunday’s Dharma Talk.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
06/21/2020
Try Something New but not Too New

Bukkai retired from the Dharma Rain teaching group three years ago but returns to talk about summer ango and how we can relax a little while keeping our intention.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jill Bukkai Washburn
06/28/2020
Sweat the Small Stuff

Kakumyo will be talking about some of the common misunderstandings and pitfalls in bringing more light and freedom to unwholesome karmic patterns.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
06/07/2020
Appreciate the View Part Two

This week Kakumyo will continue some themes from his last Dharma talk: Aliveness and interdependence; separation and solidarity; humility and clarity.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
05/31/2020
Discipleship and Beyond

Many transitions are being marked this Sunday. It is the end of spring Ango, and so we will have a Term Closing ceremony. It is the end of the Dharma School year, and there will be a matriculation ceremony for those young adults just entering the adult sangha. And four new Lay Disciples will have just been ordained the night before with their teachers. Genko is inviting each new disciple to introduce themselves and to speak about what this means to them. Kyogen used to talk often about being ordained into your life. How does each of us do this? What does practice and transition look like for each of us?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
05/24/2020
Turning the Question Around

There are many kinds of currency in today’s world: money, information, affection, prestige. We chase after them thinking they will satisfy a lack, a need. Often, we find they are not nearly as fulfilling as we had hoped and crave more. How will we find contentment and satisfaction? This Sunday Jyoshin talks about discerning what is wholesome versus unwholesome about this process, and learning what is enough.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
05/17/2020
Inconveniences

Our lives of late have occasional moments of deep fear, and many hours of mild irritation. What does it mean to be annoyed? How do we practice with the minor inconveniences of life? In fact, these small obstacles are one of the most effective ways to deep wisdom.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
05/10/2020
Appreciate the View

There are many urgent, complex problems in the world, and at times we all get caught by them, and information and analysis doesn’t actually free us. But there is something to notice that does help. The benefit is apparent on both a personal and a much larger level.  

Tags: kakumyo

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
05/03/2020
Wesak

This Sunday we celebrate the Buddha’s birth; an event that has many stories associated with it. This Sunday Jyoshin will circle around stories and storytelling in our tradition. Bring your tea and a comfortable seat up to your device to zoom in to listen to the talk.

Tags: jyoshin, wesak

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
03/22/2020
Passing Through the Net

This Sunday Kakumyo will talk about getting caught and unstuck and what a meditation practice can bring to bear on our current situation.

Tags: jyoshin, wesak

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
04/26/2020
The Self in Times of Change

When circumstances take a sudden shift from what we have come to think of as normal, it can shake our sense of who we are. Almost all of us have had to deal with massive changes recently that may seem catastrophic. In addition, we can be confused by the curious juxtaposition of the sense of staying physically separate from each other as much as possible, and a paradoxically strong sense of connection. Genko speaks to these conditions and others in this Sunday’s Dharma Talk.

Tags: jyoshin, wesak

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
04/19/2020
Your Buddhahood Has Been Predicted

2,500 years ago, Shakyamuni Buddha himself predicted that all of us would realize Buddhahood. Buddhist scripture is replete with this assurance. But if our Buddhahood is assured, why do we struggle so with self-doubt? How do we balance the Buddha’s unbridled optimism with the frustration that inevitably arises in our practice?

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Thomas Koshin Bruner
04/05/2020
What is Real?

In exploring Buddhist teachings and trying to incorporate them into our life, questions like “What is real?” move from being vague or frivolous ideas to concrete practices that shape our day. In this talk Kakumyo will see how this question shapes how we relate to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
Date Title & Details Speaker Listen Download

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