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
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
03/15/2020
Bodhisattva Vows

We don’t have a lot of exposure to the Bodhisattva Vows at Dharma Rain. In this talk we’ll investigate these challenging and powerful vows. We’ll explore some of the rather different formulations of them and the koan nature of these vows. We’ll also investigate the power of wise aspiration in our practice.

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Mike Gyoshi Kaplan
03/08/2020
Developing Discernment

We live our lives having to make so many decisions. How do we see what is right for us to do? What is the role of the mind and how do we develop our own wisdom to guide us.

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Anthony Fujaku Stevens
03/01/2020
The Scope of Equanimity

It might be easy and comfortable to think about practice in terms of how it affects our mind state. This cause and effect is fairly simple and relatively observable. If the effect of practice spreads farther, what does that challenge? How would that impact our practice?

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
02/16/2020
Cultivating Joy

What is Joy? Is it the same as happiness? How does it relate to Suffering? Is it okay for a Buddhist to feel happy? In fact, Joy is one of the Four Immeasurables, as well as being one of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment. Genko explores Buddhism’s relationship to Joy, and gives some tips for cultivating it in our own lives.

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
02/09/2020
The Dharma of Straight Nails

Trying to avoid judgmental or reactive patterns, we might forego our authentic recognition of what fits. If we aim for clarity we might end up feeling disconnected. There’s a sweet spot in navigating life that allows for both wise discernment and nonattachment.

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
02/02/2020
Buddha No Buddha

We celebrate the Festival of Nehan this week, and the historical Buddha’s passge out of this world. But perhaps there never was a Buddha. What if the Buddha never really existed? What happens to our practice then?

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
01/26/2020
Strong Emotions

Whoa! What was that!? Sometimes we aim for equanimity and find ourselves surprised by reactive strong emotions. This Sunday Jyoshin will talk about selvesfromthepast appearing in the Present and ways zen practice can be used to examine habit patterns around strong emotions and reactivity.

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
01/19/2020
Precepts as Path, Vow and Koan

This Sunday Genko weighs in on the ongoing study of the Bodhisattva Precepts we are doing on Wednesday nights, led by Jyoshin and Carrie. How do we hold, keep, and commit to the Precepts? More than a set of rules, they point us to a path in a particular direction. We work with them as vows, as koans, and this raises its own questions. What does it mean to make a commitment, a vow, and to do it publicly?

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
01/12/2020
Koan of Community

The question of how to undertake a meditation practice in the midst of a practice community is one that has been asked since the time of the Buddha. What tools are we given to skillfully attend to our own personal growth, while also supporting others in a way that provides space for their transformation as well? What are our social obligations to each other in community that test our ability to embody the dharma teachings we have encountered? What happens when we take these views out into the world?

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
01/05/2020
Effort and Lack of Effort

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
12/15/2019
What do I do with this Pain?

Sometimes we see the state of the world and despair. Our experience with the suffering of all beings is hard to hold at times. How does our practice help us to navigate when it seems there is nothing to be done? Is there room for despair in the Dharma?

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
12/01/2019
Alone, Together

As we begin Rohatsu, our longest and most solemn sesshin of the year, Genko looks at sesshin practice and the intimacy it fosters in the midst of deepening silence.

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
11/24/2019
Equanimity as practice and result

This week Kakumyo discussed the most subtle and difficult of the brahma viharas or divine abidings. Equanimity is a key factor in creating the relational context that we function in. Given Zen’s emphasis on the interdependence of life, practice and enlightenment, this relational content becomes important. Holidays are approaching, get your equanimity booster while you can.

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
11/17/2019
“being armed with the great armor”

In the Perfection of Wisdom in 8,000 Lines, bodhisattvas are described as “being armed with the great armor.” This week, Jyoshin will look at what this armor might be, how we tend to think about armoring, and how we may be able to shift towards utilizing spiritual armor instead of defensive armoring.  

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
09/29/2019
Two Ancestors Memorial

With the Two Ancestors Memorial taking the place of morning service this Sunday, Jyoshin will speak on the importance of inspiration in spiritual practice. From lineage ancestors to modern day muses, what/who is the source of your inspiration? 

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
11/10/2019
Buddha and Buddha

In Taking Our Places: The Buddhist Path to Truly Growing Up, Norman Fischer quotes Dogen as saying: “Only a Buddha and a Buddha can understand it.” Fischer goes on to say: “Even a Buddha by himself can’t understand it. Only a Buddha AND a Buddha can. Only through profound relationship, deep encounter, ineffable meeting, can we ever hope to appreciate the immense dimensions of our human life.”
Our Zen practice isn’t just sitting on the cushion by ourselves, though that’s a central component of it. Where do we find these profound relationships, deep encounters, ineffable meetings? What do they look like? Genko explores some facets of sangha, and invites others to contribute their own experiences.

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
10/27/2019
Sejiki

This Sundays’ dharma talk was replaced by the Sejiki Festival.

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

No Dharma Talk
11/03/2019
The Fixed Self

These are familiar words to any Zen student. But what does it really mean to forget the self? What is body and mind falling away? It is both nearer and more precious than we think. 

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
10/13/2019
Practice is Plural

This Sunday, Kakumyo will talk about the trade offs between practices which tend to be subtle but thorough, and practices that tend to be easier, but only go so far or leave some kind of residue.  We need some of both, and there’s an art to the assessing of our level of awareness and choice of an appropriate method.

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
10/06/2019
On Founders Day

This is a recorded talk from Kyogen Carlson

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kyogen Carlson
09/22/2019
Right Effort No Effort

Between what, you may well ask? Perhaps between two extremes. Perhaps between one season and the next, or what happens in the middle of a transition from one state, or one life, to another. Perhaps it’s a moment between thoughts on the cushion. It may be another way of saying the Middle Way. Genko explores some of these ways of looking at the theme of this weekend’s retreat.

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
09/15/2019
The Space Between

Between what, you may well ask? Perhaps between two extremes. Perhaps between one season and the next, or what happens in the middle of a transition from one state, or one life, to another. Perhaps it’s a moment between thoughts on the cushion. It may be another way of saying the Middle Way. Genko explores some of these ways of looking at the theme of this weekend’s retreat.

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
09/08/2019
Turning Toward Joy

 Buddha did say, “I teach suffering…” but he went on to say “…and an end to suffering.” In a spiritual tradition rooted in the teaching of suffering, what role does joy play? How does practicing with our suffering facilitate or inform our joy? Senior lay disciple Thomas Bruner explores the concept of turning toward joy with the same curiosity, attention and intention as turning toward suffering.

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Thomas Koshin Bruner
09/01/2019
Meeting Sangha

On the kickoff for Fall Ango 2019, we’ll explore our connection to our sense of purpose and meaning. How do our deepest wishes ripple through the intentions and aspirations of our everyday life? Are we feeding this process, and are we drawing from it appropriately?

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
08/25/2019
Receptivity to Purpose

This week we will talk about interdependence, dependence, and the practice of meeting old age, disease and death around us, drawing on some early Pali sources for inspiration

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
08/18/2019
Dynamic Balance

For many zen practitioners – oldtimers, newcomers, and those in their zen-midlife, there is a question of “how much?” How much formal practice? How much time spent at the temple? How much time spent studying Buddhism? Often the reply that comes is a perplexing, “find a balance.” What does this even mean? What does a balanced practice look like? How do we recognize that sweet spot?

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
09/08/2019
Turning Toward Joy

  Buddha did say, “I teach suffering…” but he went on to say “…and an end to suffering.” In a spiritual tradition rooted in the teaching of suffering, what role does joy play? How does practicing with our suffering facilitate or inform our joy? Senior lay disciple Thomas Bruner explores the concept of turning toward joy with the same curiosity, attention and intention as turning toward suffering

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Thomas Koshin Bruner
09/01/2019
Meeting Sangha

On the kickoff for Fall Ango 2019, we’ll explore our connection to our sense of purpose and meaning. How do our deepest wishes ripple through the intentions and aspirations of our everyday life? Are we feeding this process, and are we drawing from it appropriately?

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
08/11/2019
High Places Low Places

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
08/04/2019
Tide Pools

 With late summer settling in, the coast beckons. A cool breeze, ocean waters, little purple anemone. Anticipation and delight fill the mind. How do we keep refreshing enjoyment from becoming sticky attachment? What happens when anticipation meets actual experience? This Sunday Jyoshin talks about the dharma teachings of tide pools.    

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
07/28/2019
How Long Does it Take?

This Sunday, Kakumyo will give a numerical answer to this often asked question about Zen practice. Should be a short talk.    

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
07/21/2019
Millions of Manjushris

In a society that trains us for standing out and being special; collecting likes and retweets; and developing our personal brand, how can the teachings of our ancestors even be relevant? Did Dogen offer anything that comes close to addressing the needs of this world? (hint: the answer is ‘yes’.)  

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jyoshin Clay
07/14/2019
Small Jobs

There are many invisible beings supporting our practice. Sometimes we think of our tasks as small or unimportant. But in the matrix of Buddha Nature, no task can be greater or smaller than another. How do we approach our tasks when there seems to be a difference in importance?  

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
07/07/2019
The End of Life As We Know It

Genko starts with a recent book that describes and explores the previous five mass extinction events on this planet, and goes on to talk about other disasters, moving from global to regional to community to personal. What is a disaster, and how do we practice with it?

Tags: Student Talk, Thomas

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
Date Title & Details Speaker Listen Download

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