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
05/05/2024
Talk by Jiko

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
05/12/2024
Temple

Jyoshin asks “What is a temple?” and goes on to explore different ways of viewing that. She talks about Nagarjuna’s The Precious Garland of Advice for a King, which contains myriad Buddhist Teachings, with a concise summary at the end.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
04/28/2024
Listening to the Insentient

It’s said that all beings, sentient and insentient, expound the Dharma. How can we listen to the Dharma of trees, rocks and compost buckets? How can we meet them?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Shin’yu Vitells
04/21/2024
Talk by Kakumyo

Kakumyo speaks about Nyogen Senzaki, Hongshi, and meditation practice.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
04/14/2024
Sangha Forum

Twice a year, the sangha has an opportunity to hear from our governing bodies and to ask questions and give feedback. In the spring, the forum is sponsored by the Dharma Council, giving updates on liturgy, classes, etc. The Board and Dharma Garden Council will also give updates.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Dharma Council
04/07/2024
Regrets Dosage Recommendations

Regret is one of those phenomena that can go different directions; it can provide wholesome clarity or throw us off our seat. How we perceive and relate to responsibility, and the quality of awareness that we offer the arising of regret plays a major role here. Kakumyo explores this dynamic.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
03/31/2024
Wishes and Questions

We all have three wishes, and one is a secret.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
03/24/2024
Flying Fish Dharma Talk

Categories: Dharma Talks

Flying Fish Murphy
03/17/2024
ESLT Dharma Talks

Three participants in the ESLT (Emerging Sangha Leadership Training) program each give a short Dharma Talk.

Categories: Dharma Talks

ESLT Participants
03/10/2024
Jyoshin’s Dharma Talk

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
03/03/2024
Visible Mind

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
02/25/2024
Ambivalence, Resistance, and Vow

What happens when we set an intention, make a vow to change something in our lives? Often, resistance arises. What is that, what causes it, and how can we work with it?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
02/11/2024
Dharma Talk by Kakumyo

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
02/04/2024
Thoughts on Buddhism and Love

What if the whole of Zen practice, from meditation to the precepts to kensho and back again, is all about learning how to love? What if the only reason we come into being is to learn to love?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Robert Reian Glass
01/21/2024
Hiding the Self

Jiko explores a concept from Developmental Psychology of the true self and the false self in the light of Buddhist practice. In what ways do we hide, and in what ways do we hope to be seen?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
01/28/2024
Integration of Formal Practice

This talk centers around questions of how to integrate formal practice into ordinary daily life. Our formal practice can feel separate from our everyday way, and at times, we might long for it to be otherwise. Questions around integrating precept work, mindfulness, sesshin, and zazen are not uncommon.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Mark Sosetsu Stauffer
01/14/2024
Bodhisattva Posture

This isn’t a talk on body mechanics, but on how, as aspiring bodhisattvas, we situate ourselves in relation to the suffering around and within us. How do we structure our life, how do we frame the events and interactions around us in a way that nurtures and expresses our bodhisattva nature?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
01/07/2024
The Perfect Quilt

Jyoshin uses an illustration from her hospital chaplain work to talk about some of the ways we get caught trying to be perfect and in so doing lose sight of the reality and importance being present with things as they are.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
12/17/2023
Everyday Practice

Dogen says, “Continuous practice, day after day, is the most appropriate way of expressing gratitude. This means that you practice continuously, without wasting a single day of your life”. What does continuous practice look like in our everyday lives?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Shin’yu Vitells
11/19/2023
Kakumyo’s Dharma Talk

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
11/26/2023
Include Everything

Chan Master Hongzhi instructed us, “Contact phenomena with total sincerity, not a single atom of dust outside yourself.” Gyoshi explores implications of this instruction.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Mike Gyoshi Kaplan
12/03/2023
We Can’t Help but Smile

As Rohatsu begins, we consider our relationship to awakening. Is it near or far? Vast or ordinary? Sometimes we can’t help but smile.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
11/12/2023
Orienting on a Pathless Path

During the Mountains and Waters Wilderness Retreat, we spend time as a group learning to navigate and orient as we journey and explore. Orientation skills are helpful not only when we get turned around or confused about where we are; when we need to change direction and explore uncharted territory; or when we are traveling off trail; but also to be at ease with being part of what is wild and unconditioned. This talk shares themes related to Zen practice.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Mark Sosetsu Stauffer
11/05/2023
Religion is Not Something for a Special Group of People

For Founders Day, Jiko talks about Keido Chisan, whose enlightened approach to Zen practice proved critical to the making of our temple today. On this day we pay homage to our most recent ancestors, even as we remember that each of us must find the path that is ours alone.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
10/22/2023
Relics

As we approach our annual Sejiki Sesshin, Genko looks at both karma and how we work with it and at those who have died in the past year and how these relics of the past remain part of our lives.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
10/15/2023
Fall Sangha Forum

Twice a year, the sangha has an opportunity to hear from our governing bodies and to ask questions and give feedback. The Sangha Forum takes the place of a dharma talk. At the forum, the sangha has an opportunity to hear from our governing bodies and to ask questions and give feedback. The Board of Directors sponsors the fall forum, and gives updates. The Dharma Council also presents updates.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
10/08/2023
Realizing Emptiness Through Abundance

In this talk Flying Fish looks at the paramita of generosity as a gateway to awakening. The more we are able to let go the more we are able to connect to the tender heart of wisdom.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Flying Fish Murphy
10/01/2023
Dharma Talk by Jyoshin

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
09/24/2023
Readiness and Receiving

Kakumyo explores some themes from the Lotus Sutra and Dogen relating to our ability to absorb Dharma. Where do we find it, what gets in the way, and what does that tell us about reality? [Note: apologies for the poor quality of the recording.]

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
09/17/2023
Don’t Worry

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
09/10/2023
The Three Tenets

The Three Tenets of the Zen Peacemaker’s Order are: Not Knowing, Bearing Witness, and Taking Action. We’ll look at the practice of sesshin through the lens of these three tenets.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Shin’yu Vitells
09/03/2023
Practicing Together

Sosetsu talks about two slogans – Practicing Together and Be a Good Ancestor – and a little about sports.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Mark Sosetsu Stauffer
08/27/2023
Term Opening

Jyoshin talks about forms: how we work with form and practice in a big-picture view. 

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
08/20/2023
Loving-Kindness and Trust

Trust is important in an ongoing Buddhist practice. However, fear and apprehension can sometimes interfere with its expression. Metta (lovingkindness) practice can disarm us and provide the sense of openness and safety needed for the arising of trust. Daigai reflects on the benefits of metta practice, particularly the connection between lovingkindness and the manifesting of trust.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Daigai Filbert
08/13/2023
Going Forward Is an Everyday Affair

This line in the Fukanzazengi, which we recite for our evening program, snagged my attention this week. What is going forward? What is an everyday affair? How do we live our everyday lives in such a way that we keep going forward?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
08/06/2023
Gathas

Flying Fish talks about Gatha practice.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Flying Fish Murphy
07/30/2023
Impermanence

Anicca, or Impermanence, looms large among our basic Buddhist teachings. It’s one of the three Marks of Existence and is intimately related to the Four Noble Truths. Impermanence seems pretty straightforward: everything changes. It’s pretty easy to intellectually accept that, but not so easy to wholeheartedly live it. Why do we struggle so hard to avoid impermanence? What are our often unconscious strategies for avoiding it? How can we engage with it? Who are we when we stop resisting impermanence?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Mike Gyoshi Kaplan
07/09/2023
Pilgrimage

Twelve Dharma Rain members leave today (July 9) on Pilgrimage to visit several temples south of us. We are going to the Bay Area and back home, stopping along the way, and will be gone for a week. This Dharma Talk explores the topic of Pilgrimage: what is it, how does it relate to our lives, and how does it differ from other forms of travel?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
07/23/2023
Juniors and Seniors

It is said that a senior is a person wholly comfortable with being a junior. What does that mean? How does this simple designation of rank work in practice? What are the lessons each can give us?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
07/16/2023
Post-Pilgrimage

Kakumyo shares some stories about the Pilgrimage that 12 people went on, and draws some lessons from it.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
07/02/2023
A Rock in My Shoe

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
06/18/2023
The Poison Arrow

What does it mean to study our past? How do we both practice attention and presence in our life today, and understand wounds and conditions of the past?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
06/11/2023
Maitreya and Hope

Flying Fish explores the theme of Hope by looking at Maitreya “of future birth.”

Categories: Dharma Talks

Flying Fish Murphy
06/04/2023
Coming Alive in Nature

In her student talk, Zonnyo explores the teaching of suchness in relation to nature, and some history of earth-based practices in Zen and Chan Buddhism. As we experience the climate crisis, what role do joy and grief play in our experience of “just this?”

Categories: Dharma Talks

Zonnyo Riger
Dharma School Skits!

The students of the Dharma School program present skits to illustrate some of what they’ve learned in the last year. Ir was not recorded.

Categories: Dharma Talks

No Dharma Talk
05/21/2023
Generosity, Vulnerability, and Belonging

Dana, often translated as giving or generosity, is one of the six perfections of Bodhisattva cultivation and embodiment. It is often described as a merit producing practice of giving that which is life sustaining, but can also be offering dharma or spiritual teaching, or providing freedom from fear. Ultimately, all beings are naturally giving through the unfolding of life, just like a flower blooming in spring provides nectar without thought. This talk will focus on how the capacity for generosity relates to practicing with vulnerability and how holding and befriending vulnerability when it arises can help one realize belonging.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Mark Sosetsu Stauffer
05/14/2023
Savoring Significance

This Sunday Kakumyo will explore an exchange about meaning that happened during last week’s Dharma Talk. Questions about what matters, what we’re practicing for, and how the dharma is expressed all weave their way in.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
05/07/2023
What Does it Mean to Practice?

Asking this question can bring up a lot of different answers. Sometimes we think we know what “practice” is or what “our practice” is. At other times, it might seem murky. This week, Jyoshin looks at practice and the ways we can examine what might be fruitful to bring to our efforts or non-efforts.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
Date Title & Details Speaker Listen Download

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