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Recording Categories: Dharma Talks
Years: 2014
Speakers: All Speakers
Date Title & Details Speaker Listen Download
12/14/2014
The Buddha’s Path, Your Path

Buddhists around the world have been celebrating the Buddha’s enlightenment this past week. This week’s talk is a reflection on the Buddha’s life and how so many elements of his story serve as a support for all of us today who walk the spiritual path.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jody Shintai Dungay
12/07/2014
Brightness

The World-Honored One ascended the seat and Manjusri announces, “Clearly observe the Dharma of the King of Dharma; the Dharma of the King of Dharma is thus.” Then the World Honored One descended from the seat.”

What is this mysterious and unspoken wisdom? How do we find it? Dogen called it “brightness,” and said we all possessed it. Jiko considers the words of various masters and the suggestions of our lives today as we consider this wonderful, invisible Truth.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
11/30/2014
The Work of Recovery

Genko has been working with a new Buddhist approach to recovery from addiction, called Refuge Recovery. Using the Three Refuges, Four Noble Truths, and the Noble Eightfold Path, the approach takes the strengths of the 12-step movement, replaces the Steps with the Path, and increases the emphasis on meditation as a tool for recovery.

Through her work both for herself and with prison inmates, she is discovering connections between addiction and suffering, recovery and healing, as well as new insights into liberation.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
11/23/2014
Painted Prayers

Shin’ei endeavors to reacquaint us with depth in the arts, to encourage us to look with different eyes. She speaks to the rediscovery of soul in Buddhism and American culture by way of Karma: a rich, colorful, and creative source.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Alison Shin’ei Brown
11/16/2014
Dance of Form and Emptiness

For whom have you washed off your splendid makeup?
The cuckoo’s call urges you to return.

Zen practice is endlessly subtle and ever-changing. Is the dance a waltz or a tango? When we first come to practice, we “see through a glass darkly” and later “face to face.” What is it that moves us forward? What keeps us from getting stuck? In this talk, Seido draws upon Dongshan’s “Five Ranks” teaching, which was one of Kyogen’s favorites, five pairs of koans that have been steady companions, sources of both frustration and inspiration, over the course of her training.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Debra Seido Martin
11/09/2014
The Fearful Thing

Kate Wolf sang, “Give yourself to love, if love is what you’re after.” Why is it so hard to give ourselves to each other? What holds us back from real intimacy? As individuals and as a community, we carry many patterns of fear and withdrawal, but we also have the opportunity to see and be seen clearly. Zen has a particular definition of intimacy. Exploring this can lead us back to simple human closeness.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
11/02/2014
Novelty, Familiarity, and This

If you watch your mind with any regularity, you’ve noticed that awareness is heightened when we realize that things are not as we expect, and is lowered when we perceive things as routine. But, like all generalizations, there are exceptions. Understanding these provides some useful handholds for practice.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
10/12/2014
Alive or Dead? I Won’t Say, I Won’t Say

On October 12, Abbot Gyokuko Carlson took on a Zen koan that goes like this:

Dogo and Zen-gen went to a house to show sympathy. Zen-gen hit the coffin and asked, “Alive or dead?” Dogo replied, “I won’t say alive, I won’t say dead.” Zen-gen demanded, “Why won’t you say?” Dogo repeated, “I won’t say.”

Later after Dogo died, Zen-gen went to Seki-so and told him the foregoing story. Seki-so said, “I won’t say alive, and I won’t say dead.” Zen-gen said, ” Why won’t you say?” Seki-so repeated, “I won’t say, I won’t say.” At these words Zen-gen came to awakening.

Gyokuko also offered suggestions and possible chants and practices that people might be able to do on their own to help through this time of transition and grief.L

Here’s the Mettabhavana for Dharma Rain that she re-wrote and that we chanted together at the end of the talk.

We settle gently into a place of peace and trust that the gentle guidance of the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and ancestors will guide us through whatever changes come our way. We extend that hope to all people and forms of life, seeking to surround all with Infinite Love and Compassion. We send out compassionate thoughts to those in suffering or sorrow, to all those in doubt and ignorance, to all who are striving to attain Truth, and to all those whose feet are standing close to the great change we call death, we send forth oceans of Wisdom, Mercy and Love. Particular to all those in our community, near and known to us or far and invisible, who are in sorrow, grief, or fear, we offer our tender hearts, the salt of our own tears, the warmth of our smiles, the support of our patient presence. May we all be at peace, may we all be kind, may we all be free from fear.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Gyokuko Carlson
10/05/2014
The Rabbit in the Moon

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jill Bukkai Washburn
09/28/2014
Ancestors

On Sunday, September 28, we did our annual Two Ancestors memorial service to honor Eihei Dogen and Keizan Jokin. Genko talked about honoring our ancestors, and of course this included some talk of Kyogen as he takes his place in the ancestral line. Who are our ancestors? How do we honor them? Why do we chant all those names? What are their stories and why does that matter? And maybe even more important, how do we continue to learn from and listen to our ancestors?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
09/14/2014
Just Over the Next Ridge

People often use the metaphor of climbing a mountain when describing spiritual practice. For example: “there are many paths but they lead up the same mountain.” There are number of problems with this view. The main one is that spiritual attainment has many different facets, and we confuse ourselves by rolling them together. “Mountain” might better be plural. This view may make practice seem less heroic and more approachable. We’ll discuss the trials and tribulations of evaluating our progress, and point out some footholds that are trustworthy.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
09/07/2014
Turn, Turn, Turn, Turn!

For the first Ango Sunday in fall 2014, Bukkai referenced a Pete Seeger song, with words from the book of Ecclesiastes:

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jill Bukkai Washburn
08/31/2014
Is Nothing Sacred?

What is “sacred?” Why have we human beings, throughout our existence on this earth, nearly universally created rituals and images invoking the sacred? How do we use the word today, and just what does it really mean? What then, if anything, fits that definition? Does Buddhism, specifically Zen, point us toward the sacred? What about the zen of “everyday mind,” and “nothing special”? What’s holy, or sacred about that? Join us for the Dharma Talk this Sunday as co-abbot Kyogen Carlson explores these and related questions.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kyogen Carlson
08/24/2014
Criticize Nothing, Accept Everything

This Dharma Talk is about actively engaging in the practice of not criticizing, and specifically not complaining. Taking the practice of cultivating acceptance off the cushion and into all the situations and people we encounter in the course of our lives is quite a challenge. Is it even possible to really do this practice of “criticizing nothing”? Shintai has been wrestling with it since November and will offer up both the challenges and gifts of diving into this practice.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jody Shintai Dungay
08/17/2014
The Prediction

Everything is always changing; on what can we rely? All passes away. Where is our ground? We seek for something and it is pulled away. The Buddha repeatedly predicted perfect enlightenment – Buddhahood – for all beings; how can this be true if everything is conditioned and dependent and changing? The word sometimes used for this prediction also means affirmation. This talk follows a recent talk on trust, which focused on our willingness to trust others as well as ourselves, down the rabbit hole of no one on which to rely, nothing on which to depend, and whether there is a little light at the end of that tunnel after all.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
08/10/2014
Gratitude

This Dharma Talk is about Gratitude. Kakumyo finds much to be thankful for.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
08/03/2014
Ganji’s Family

The Dharma Talk for Sunday, August 3, was about family. Bukkai’s way in is an unusual koan from The Hidden Lamp collection entitled “Ganji’s Family.” Bukkai found much food for thought in the story and she hopes that those hearing this talk will as well.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jill Bukkai Washburn
07/27/2014
This Old Heap

A “being,” according to the Buddha, is made up of “aggregates,” or “heaps.” These, of course, are common translations for the Buddhist term “skandha,” which originally could refer to a “mass,” “heap,” “pile,” “gathering,” “bundle” or even “tree trunk.” So, we are an amalgamation of changeable things, in five layers from “form,” the body, to “consciousness.” Even the continuity we feel over time is included in the skandhas, and this offers important clues to our practice.

Co-abbot Kyogen Carlson, one set of “heaps,” offered a Dharma Talk on this to all other sets of heaps that gathered together into one big heap on Sunday, July 27, at Jason Lee Elementary School. Look at the Scientific American article on “Habits” he refers to.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kyogen Carlson
07/20/2014
No One Listening

The Canadian wilderness guide Carl Rustrum used to look forward to solitary winter camping, because he enjoyed being where “you can holler for help and not be heard.” The Japanese word for trust can also mean confidence. What does it mean to have trust? Sometimes we need to trust ourselves and find a deep self-reliance. But sometimes we need to surrender and trust another person to do that. From a Zen perspective, true intimacy comes when we realize that our existence is completely entwined with others – and yet our life’s path is ours alone. How do we find the balance in truly trusting ourselves, as well as others?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
07/13/2014
Are You Serious?

What is the balance between holding things lightly and being serious about our lives and practice? What is the place of humor in Zen practice? Genko raises these questions and is hoping that we can explore them together.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
07/06/2014
Recognizing Responsibility

Holding awareness that “This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am” is a classic meditation on anatta, the lack of an independent self. Gradually we learn to hold the self more lightly. But without a self, where does responsibility or integrity land? We’ll explore how agency and choice are affected by an openness to anatta.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
06/29/2014
Drag, Masks, Roles, Costumes

Part of the gay subculture, Drag and Camp have a long history. In the wider culture, we find a similarly long history involving carnival, clowns, fools, theater performances, masked balls, and the like. On a more mundane level, we all have various roles to play in the world, and find ourselves donning various costumes / uniforms and masks. To what extent is this reasonable and to what extent is it extra or problematic?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
06/22/2014
Summer Solstice

What does Buddhism have to offer us on this turning of the seasons? Solstice is very significant in ancient cultures and earth based spirituality, but is it irrelevant to the followers of the Noble Eightfold Path? Gyokuko will explore the natural phenomena of solstice, equinox and the changing physical environment and how this fits the ebb and flow of practice at Dharma Rain.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Gyokuko Carlson
06/15/2014
A Day of Remembrance

The first talk given after we moved from the southeast Madison St location to meeting at the Jason Lee Elementary School cafeteria June 15, 2014.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kyogen Carlson
05/25/2014
A Day of Remembrance

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
05/11/2014
Mistakes, Failures, and Disasters

Categories: Dharma Talks

Genko Rainwater
04/27/2014
Being a Good Lamp

Shakyamuni encouraged all of us to be a lamp unto ourselves; to steadily notice what is wholesome, and how we are affected, as we try to walk this spiritual path. How does this advice intertwine with Buddhism’s reliance on those who have gone before to point the way? We’re confronted with the choice to engage our life and practice thousands and thousands of times, and sometimes we need support to make it. How do we partake of this support, how do we know when we need it, and how do we get confused by it? How do these questions apply to sanzen, the teacher-student relationship in Zen, and spiritual authority?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kakumyo Lowe-Charde
04/13/2014
God Help Us! Part Two

On April 6, 2014, Gyokuko spoke about prayer and devotion in Zen Buddhism. On April 13, Kyogen continued that theme with more on prayer, and also on faith, trust, belief, and other elements of spiritual life. He drew on his conversation with Evangelicals and other Christians about what non-theistic religion can look like.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Kyogen Carlson
04/06/2014
God Help Us!

On April 6, 2014, co-abbot Gyokuko Carlson took a Dharmic look at the subject of prayer and how Zen Buddhists work with it.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Gyokuko Carlson
03/30/2014
All My Karma

Many of us carry burdens of regret, guilt or shame about past events. When we recite the confession verse, what does it mean to acknowledge “All my past and harmful karma”? How can we take responsibility for all of it? What is mine? This talk explored the different ways we experience repentance and atonement in Buddhist practice, and how we can work with painful feelings of remorse.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Sallie Jiko Tisdale
03/16/2014
Putting Forth Not One Word

As we headed into our week-long retreat, DaiJukai, or “Great Jukai” (Giving and Receiving of the Buddhist Precepts), Seido talked about how we understand the study and practice of ethical action in Zen. She particularly focused on one of the ten grave precepts – Do Not Speak Dishonestly – Communicate Truthfully – and its commentary:

In the realm of the inexplicable Dharma, putting forth not one word is the precept of not speaking dishonestly. The Dharma wheel turns from the beginning. There is neither surplus nor lack. The sweet dew covers the earth and within it lies the truth.

How do we uphold this precept amidst complicated social interactions? What does it mean to speak truthfully when our view is naturally limited? How does this precept inform us about all other precepts?

Categories: Dharma Talks

Debra Seido Martin
03/09/2014
This Year the Precepts Bring Two New Things

Bukkai finds that in every season of precept practice there is something new and vital to be found, like the first slightly surprising appearance of spring growth. She talked about two gifts of this season.

Categories: Dharma Talks

Jill Bukkai Washburn
Date Title & Details Speaker Listen Download

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