After falling ill and being asked to quarantine to help protect residents and sangha during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dharma Rain priest and teacher Genko Rainwater recently re-entered the residential community. Her time away from responsibilities and community was not easy and stimulated old, karmic baggage. In this edition of Dharma Gates, Genko shares an essay… Read more »
Several Sangha members are involved in DRZC’s prison program, as volunteers, adults in custody, and prison grads. Many DRZC members don’t have a clear sense of who these folks are, how the program works, or what involvement in it might look like, so every few years we like to report back. Grads and volunteers talked… Read more »
Prajnaparamita, Perfect Wisdom, completes the series of talks on the Six Perfections. Wisdom has been an integral part of each of the other five we’ve discussed, and is one of the key wings of practice we cultivate (along with Compassion). It can be difficult to talk about, but we will provide some pointers at least.… Read more »
For this fifth out of a series of six talks on the Paramitas, we look at Zen’s core practice. “Meditation and Wisdom, the final two Buddhist Perfections, … [are] the culmination of the sequence … upon which the entire structure is founded” (from The Six Perfections, by Dale Wright). This talk was given Sunday, November… Read more »
Genko continues a series looking at the six perfections (paramitas) with Virya, sometimes translated as Energy. Dale Wright says in The Six Perfections: “Virya mean[s] the energy of accomplishment, the effort, courage, and power to see spiritual endeavor through to its completion. Viryaparamita is the perfection of this energy, the power of unyielding commitment to… Read more »
Genko continues to examine the six Perfections (Paramitas) and this month looks at Kshanti, translated variously as patience, tolerance, and forebearance. Patience has gotten a lot of press in Buddhist teachings, being considered a central virtue. According to Dale Wright, who wrote The Six Perfections, “Bodhisattvas who have trained in this virtue are imperturbable and… Read more »
Genko continues to look at the Six Perfections, with the second of the Perfections: sila, usually translated “morality” or “ethics.” The problem with focusing on morality is that we sometimes get into judgments of good and bad, which is not so helpful. How can we live an ethical life and still find contentment and a… Read more »
A new book – The Six Perfections by Dale Wright – inspires this talk. He writes about how to cultivate character using the Buddhist teachings on the paramitas. Genko reports on this and then goes on to explore the first paramita – dana, generosity. This talk was given Sunday, July 15.
We are entering into Portland Pride season. “Pride” turns up on both Christian and Buddhist lists as one of the seven deadly sins or one of the five poisons, respectively. In what ways is it negative? How can it be seen as positive? How does it relate to Shame (which is generally listed as a… Read more »
Genko looks at how the Three Refuges (also called the Three Jewels or Three Treasures) can provide a place of safety and support for us in our practice. What is refuge? What is safety? How do we work with these in our lives? This talk was given Sunday, March 25.
What is Justice, and how does it relate to Mercy? Both are kind of old-fashioned words, old-fashioned virtues, and both are interpreted in a variety of ways. Genko talks about Dharma Rain’s prison program, social justice, and how all of this relates to the Dharma. This talk was given Sunday, January 14.
The Four Noble Truths, one of Buddhism’s basic foundational teachings, is all about suffering. This can sound dreary, even grim, not very inviting. It’s important to focus on suffering, but also important not to forget the possibility of joy. What is Nirvana, and how is it possible? This talk was given Sunday, October 15.
This Sunday we celebrate the Two Ancestors Memorial, honoring Eihei Dogen and Keizan Jokin. As part of that, we chant the “Life Span Chapter” of the Lotus Sutra, which describes the Buddha enlightened since the remote past, or the eternal Buddha. As the seasons change, time passes, people are born, sicken, and die, and yet… Read more »
Genko tackles the topic of Time: what is it? how do we work with it? some of the many aspects of time as something that exists, or maybe not. Are we moving forward? What about developmental stages? What about how much time we’ve had in practice? And of course, Dogen’s fascicle, “Uji,” addressing existence-time, has… Read more »
Our list of grave Precepts begins, like those of most religions, with Do Not Kill. The commentary says “holding no thought of killing is the Precept of Not Killing.” What are these thoughts, and what does it mean to hold them? Genko explores some of the ways this Precept applies to us all. This talk… Read more »
Before we turn completely toward spring, it seems useful to pay attention to the winter just past to see what it has taught us. Genko looks back at the challenging weather, illness, and darkness with curiosity, and is also interested in hearing from others what they have learned. This talk was given Sunday, March 12.