Dharma Rain - Fact Sheets
Fact Sheets — Draft
Adult Sangha Fact Sheet
Mission — Dharma Rain Zen Center (DRZC) seeks to help people find and
understand the source of suffering in daily life, and to release and cure
that suffering for the benefit of themselves and others. A Zen Buddhist temple
for lay practice, DRZC is dedicated to helping people realize, cultivate and
integrate principles of compassion, loving kindness and peace of mind in everyday,
normal American lives. DRZC strives to help each person find his or her own
center in meditation, live a moral daily life and bring an energetic mindfulness
to all situations.
History — DRZC has been continuously active in the greater Portland
area for over 30 years. Originally founded as an affiliate of Mt. Shasta Abbey
in California, DRZC has operated as an independent organization since 1986.
DRZC has been under the guidance of co-abbots Kyogen and Gyokuko Carlson,
ordained Zen Buddhist priests, for 20 years.
Uniqueness — DRZC is the largest Zen Buddhist congregation in the state
Oregon, and has an intentional focus on lay practitioners. DRZC is open to
all persons regardless of spiritual or religious affiliation. All programs
are either free or low-cost. DRZC is engaged with the broader Zen Buddhist
community on the national, state and local levels, and encourages its members
to be actively engaged in the community at large.
Structure — DRZC is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization
governed by an 11-member Board of Directors. Spiritual and operational guidance
by the co-abbots. DRZC has more than 160 dues-paying members, and owns
and occupies three facilities totaling 20,000 square feet in Southeast Portland,
including two houses and a temple. A volunteer-driven organization, DRZC
with a $150,000 annual budget.
Programs — In addition to services on Sunday mornings and Wednesday
evenings, DRZC’s Adult Sangha program includes four components:
- Community Outreach includes presentations by DRZC at colleges and universities,
visits to DRZC by area students enrolled in philosophy or religion
classes, and participation in area interfaith dialogues.
- Education Programs include Introductory Workshops providing visitors
or newcomers with a broad overview of meditation and Buddhist practice.
Workshops are offered twice a month, are two hours in length, and
are free of charge.
Introductory Classes are held on most Wednesday evenings, explore
related Buddhist themes over four to eight weeks, are interactive, and are
of charge. Seminary Classes are held most Tuesday evenings for members
an established practice, and an interest in more in-depth study.
- Retreats provide an opportunity to delve deeply into meditation and
self-reflection, range from one day to one week in length, and
are offered five times a year.
- Residency provides members with a chance to deepen their practice by
living at the temple while maintaining their work, education
or other lay commitments. Residency periods can range from several days
People Served — DRZC served more than 1,000 unduplicated men and women
Dharma School Fact Sheet
Mission — DRZC’s Dharma School program seeks to teach kids compassion,
loving kindness, equanimity and peace of mind, provide tools for self-reflection
and insight, and provide the vocabulary and tools to facilitate their later
History — DRZC’s Dharma School was founded in 1984 by Abbot Gyokuko
Carlson in response to requests from members and non-members for family and
youth-friendly programs. Four children were part of the first Dharma School
in 1984. As a natural extension of Dharma School, and again at the request
of members and non-members, Dharma Camp was added in 1995. Five children attended
the first camp.
Uniqueness — DRZC’s Dharma School program is the largest
child-specific program operated by a Buddhist congregation in Oregon,
and one of the oldest and largest operated by a Buddhist group in the
country. The program is open to all youth regardless of spiritual or
religious affiliation, emphasizes a practical, skills-based focus, and
operates almost exclusively with volunteer labor
Structure — DRCZ’s Dharma School program consists of two components:
- Dharma School is offered every other Sunday morning from September through
June. Programming includes music, meditation, lesson and discussion, and
facilitated recreation. Participants range in age from 3-18 years old, and
into five age-appropriate groups - pre-school, early elementary, late elementary,
middle school and high school. Approximately 27% of participants are youth
of color, 50% do not come from DRZC member families, and 25% come from
families with no spiritual or religious affiliation. A total of 75 unduplicated
were served in 2006, and some 20 DRZC members volunteered as activity leaders
- Dharma Camp is a seven day residential camp held at a sister facility
in Clatskanie, Oregon in August each year. Daily programming includes
meditation, group discussion, arts and crafts and facilitated recreation.
in age from 8-18 years old, and are clustered into four age-appropriate
groups – middle
elementary, late elementary, middle school and high school. A total
of 42 unduplicated youth were served in 2006. Of those, approximately
on full or partial scholarships and 17% were youth of color. Camp utilized
some 30 volunteers, including 20 DRZC members and 10 members of a sister
congregation in Clatskanie.
Youth Served — A total of 101 unduplicated youth were served in 2006.
Prison Outreach Fact Sheet
Mission — DRZC’s Prison Program seeks to: 1) give men and women
who are incarcerated the tools to deal with their own lives, gain insight
into the habits and patterns that have got them where they are, stop harming
themselves and others, and become happier and freer people wherever they are;
and 2) help men and women transition successfully back into society upon release
from prison, starting or maintaining a self-evaluation and insight practice.
History — DRZC’s Prison Program was founded in 1997 by a 65 year
old University of Oregon French Literature professor who had a brother who
was murdered. When a man on death row in Arkansas contacted the Temple requesting
support, she corresponded with him until he was executed. One year later two
men on death row in Oregon contacted her, and in response, the program was
started. Since retiring in 1999, the now 73-year old has since made this program
her life’s work
Uniqueness — DRZC’s Prison Program is the largest prison outreach
program in Oregon operated by a Buddhist congregation. The program is open
to men and women regardless of spiritual or religious affiliation, and has
a practical skills-based focus. Since its inception, services have been provided
almost exclusively with volunteer labor.
Structure — DRZC’s Prison Program consists of two components:
1. Prison Groups include meditation, facilitated
discussion on topics such as compassion, loving kindness, equanimity and peace
of mind, and workshops
on topics such as anger management and non-violent communication. Active
prison groups are located in the following locations:
- Oregon State Penitentiary (Salem) meets twice a month, with an average
attendance of 25. Some 1/3 of participants are men of color, most
are serving long term or life sentences for serious crimes, including murder.
of 40 unduplicated men were served in 2006.
- Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (Wilsonville) includes two groups:
i) Minimum Security meets every other Saturday morning, with an
is 8. 20 unduplicated women were served in 2006. ii) Medium Security
meets every Friday evening, with an average attendance of 15. A
total of 35 unduplicated
women were served in 2006.
- Two Rivers Correctional Institution (Umatilla) meets quarterly. A total
of 30 unduplicated men were served in 2006.
- Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution (Pendleton) meets weekly.
A total of 15 unduplicated men were served in 2006.
2. Dharma Friends consists of DRZC members who
volunteer to be paired with a woman upon release to provide ongoing support.
of 5 unduplicated
women were served by 5 volunteers in 2006.
People Served — 110 unduplicated men and women incarcerated in state prisons
were served in 2006.