Joining a cohort group provides a way to practice with a smaller group of practitioners who have a similar set of interests. The relationships developed in a cohort group often endure long after the activities of the group have come to an end. Any Sangha member may propose the formation of a group. Guidelines for the formation of cohort groups and a bit more context are found here. Individuals with a specific interest, purpose or other proposal can initiate the process of starting a cohort group by sending a proposal form to the Dharma Council. The proposal is then reviewed by the Dharma Council to see if it conforms with Dharma Rain’s Mission Statement and also in consideration of other matters including practicality, logistics or potential liability issues.

Taking Your Seat

Taking Your Seat is a program designed to help newer members of Dharma Rain establish their meditation practice, create warm relationships with other members, and become part of the temple community. This program is for active members of Dharma Rain in their first two years of practice. The program usually begins in September and includes about six meetings over the course of four months. Registration opens a few weeks before the program begins.

Meetings include discussions and exercises, as well as informal social time and chances to practice forms. Topics are based partly on what the group wants and needs, but may include a review of foundational teachings, practicing oryoki, investigating mondo, exploring the purpose of formal practice, learning how Dharma Rain is organized, and investigating gateways for practice at Dharma Rain — or just having dinner together.

More about Taking Your Seat…

Term Student Program

The Term Student program provides a three-month structure for members of Dharma Rain Zen Center who wish to intensify their practice and strengthen their sangha connections. A Term Student program takes place every year in the fall and sometimes in the spring as well. Each program includes three one-day retreats.

Committing to a three-month term provides a clear beginning and end to a period when Zen practice and involvement at Dharma Rain take a higher priority in your life. Because you are not making a long-term commitment, and because you are joining others in the term, the chances of following through on your intention to intensify practice can be greatly improved. Registration opens a few weeks before the program begins.

More about the Term Student program…

Prison Transition Group

The Prison Transition Group is a group of prison grads, volunteers, family members, and others with a connection to incarceration that meets monthly to check in, share experiences and support each other, and discuss the Dharma as it relates to prison transition and/or prison groups inside. The Prison Transition Group is associated with our Prison Program.


Daoren means “person of the Way.” In Soto practice, “the Way” is always right before you.

Members of the Daoren Circle seek to practice the Way wholeheartedly, especially within the concrete details of our everyday lives.  We rigorously nourish this intention through exploration and commitment to the Mahayana practice of vow.  Vows in common as well as personal vows are put in place as everyday markers for practice opportunities.  Each Daoren must deeply consider how to meet these commitments in our daily lives.

While spending most of our time in lay life, outside of the supportive contact of the Dharma Rain residential community, Daoren are full and active members of the temple and are deeply inspired by the rigorous tradition of Zen Buddhist monastic form.

Daoren seek to convert personal preference and habit energy through the daily practice of zazen and the Precepts, simple ritual, and dedication.

More about the Daoren Circle…


The 7-Up cohort group is designed to address the needs of senior practitioners in the community. This discussion group is open to Dharma Rain members who have had at least seven years of practice in a meditation tradition. Not all of the years accrued have to have been at Dharma Rain, or even in the Zen tradition. Participants take turns introducing topics and facilitating the monthly meetings. The aim is for real and considered engagement without intellectualizing. For more information, contact Genko Rainwater.

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