Category Archives: Tahoma

related to Tahoma

Winter Training at Tahoma


Monday through Saturday:  6:30pm to 8:30pm. (zazen; kinhin; zazen)
Tuesday through Sunday: 5:00am to 7am (Chanting followed by zazen)
Sunday Zazenkai (community sitting): 8am to 9am (followed by tea)



For Zen practitioners it is of immeasurable value to maintain a regular zazen schedule of various durations. Thus, along with the three Training Months and the Daily Practice Schedule we are reintroducing a monthly Practice Day. The monthly Practice Days will occur on the third Saturday of each month.  NEXT Practice days are Saturday October 20, then Nov 17

Please email (Tendo Zenji) If you’d like to attend in October, especially if you will be coming early or staying later or if you have any questions:


Tahoma Rohatsu in early in January 2019. 5 days Jan 8-13.


Approximate dates for Feb 2019:

“we arrive 2/4
sesshin kokuho 2/5
Sesshin for one week 2/6-12″

Subject to change.

Thank you

Thank you to all who participated in the September training period.

42 people came for 7 day Osesshin

32 people for 5 day Kosesshin (2.0)- with Osesshin schedule

25 people for 5 day Daichi Zenni Kosesshin

Much good practice! Thanks to all for working so steadily and especially on going to the breath

Thanks to Harada Roshi for being Jikijitsu and to Tendo for leading



Image is a past sesshin at meal time

Tahoma-san Sogenji, USA One Drop Newsletter August 2018

As we leave July and enter August, historically the hottest and driest period of the year in Washington, the zendo has warmed up and as we sit it becomes all too easy to dwell on the body. But these last couple couple of weeks when the body demands unwavering attention I am reminded of the reading from the Linji Lu (Rinzai Roku) from our July Day of practice:

“Buddhas and patriarchs are people who refrain from contrivances (buji). Therefore, whether they act with or without delusion, or whether they refrain from action with or without delusion, their karma is pure. There are a bunch of blind monks who stuff their stomachs with food and sit down in zazen. They try to stop the flow of their thoughts and to prevent delusions from arising. They hate noise and seek tranquillity. This is the way of heretics.”

As we look ahead to the August Day of Practice and further ahead to the September Training Period, it is with this determination that we must bring to every sit, to every action.  It isn’t something that we can cultivate in only pristine circumstances, it isn’t something we can cultivate at all. Wherever we are, whatever task we are engaged in, we must bring ourselves completely to it.  Linji goes on to say:

“This very you who right now is listening to my talk, how can you cultivate it, how can you acknowledge it, how can you adorn it? It is not to be cultivated, not to be acknowledged, not to be adorned. If it can be adorned, then everything can be adorned. Make no mistake!”

(quotes from the Rinzai Roku translated by Eido Shimano Roshi)

-Tendo Zenji

August 3 is the deadline for September training applications –  the list will be sent out a few days later by Rozan

Saturday August 18th is a full day of training at Tahoma.  Schedule is here:

Tendo Zenji and Bruce continue to take care of Tahoma with help from Kogen and Esho.


Monthly Day of Practice at Tahoma

Monthly Day of Practice at Tahoma 

For Zen practitioners it is of immeasurable value to maintain a regular zazen schedule of various durations. Thus along with the three Training Months and the Daily Practice Schedule we offer a Practice Day the third Saturday of each month. (durning September and May when there is a full month of training there will be no day of practice.)  Our standard schedule for these day’s will be:

Practice Day Schedule

4:50 Seated in Zendo; Gosei
5:00 Choka (Sutras)
5:40 Zazen
5:55 Kinhin
6:00 Han; Zazen; Zazen
6:55 Breakfast
Breakfast Cleanup
8:15 Samu (Clappers; meet at deck)
9:30 Samu ends (Clappers)
9:50  Seated in Zendo; Gosei
10:00 Zazen; Zazen; Kinhin; Zazen; Zazen
11:55 Lunch
Kitchen Cleanup
1:50 Seated in Zendo; Gosei
2:00 Reading; Zazen; Zazen; Kinhin; Zazen; Zazen
4:00 Supper (optional, free-style)
5:20 Seated in Zendo; Gosei
5:30 Zazen; Zazen; Kinhin;
6:30 Zazen; Zazen; Kinhin; Zazen; Zazen
8:30 Kaichin in kitchen

The Monastery’s regularly scheduled periods of zazen from 5 am to 7am and 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm will still be observed and anyone can drop in for either of these or any of the other zazen periods. You are also welcome to arrive on Friday before the Practice Day and/or stay though Zazenkai on Sunday, if you’d like to extend your practice. In all cases it is expected that the monastery’s schedule will be followed.

Please email us If you’d like to attend, especially if you will be coming early or staying later or if you have any questions:

Sesshin Application – September 2018

Dear One Drop Sangha and Friends,

The September 2018 training period at Tahoma Zen Monastery begins on Wednesday the 5th, and concludes Monday the 24th. The online application can be found here:

FULL TIME RESIDENTIAL TRAINING is available September  5 – 24, 2018*

OSESSHIN: Wednesday, September 5 – Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Kokuho is Wednesday evening, September 5.  Osesshin, led by Harada Roshi, concludes the evening of Wednesday, September 12.

KOSESSHIN: Thursday, September 13 – Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Kokuho is Thursday evening, September 13.  Five full days of sitting led by Harada Roshi.

KOSESSHIN – Wednesday, September 19 – Monday, September 24, 2018
Kokuho is Wednesday evening, September 19. Led by Daichi Zenni.  *This kosesshin will conclude on the 23rd or 24th.  To be confirmed at a later date.

The application deadline is August 3.  Acceptance emails will be sent soon after the deadline date. Please send your sesshin fee once you have been notified of your acceptance.  The maximum cost for the month is $500.  The cost of Osesshin is $350. The cost of kosesshin is $50/day.
September 28, 2018
One Day Sesshin with Daichi Zenni
Water Moon Dojo, Seattle
Register for this event by sending email to:
Schedules, guidelines for conduct, and directions to the monastery can be found here,
Attending Osesshin is a commitment to full time participation.  Kosesshin allows for less than full time participation.  In order for kosesshin to run smoothly we request that you provide your arrival and departure dates and approximate times and keep us updated of changes.  Temple housing is limited and we appreciate your flexibility.  Any help with set up before or clean-up following sesshin is greatly appreciated.  There may be a wait-list for any part of this month of practice. People on the wait-list will be contacted immediately as spaces become available.
Thank you,
Rozan Lenny Gerson
Tahoma One Drop Zen Monastery
6499 Wahl Road
Freeland, WA 98249
Phone:  360.331.4142

September 2018 Training at Tahoma

September Training Period

Applications here:

Subscribe for mailing list here to receive announcement with details-

Once the application deadline listed on announcement has passed, and applications have been processed, a follow up email with more information will be sent.

Please read this blog for sesshin guidelines. It’s expected that you plan your stay to participate in sesshin preparation and clean up at the monastery.

Harada Roshi Sesshin:
Kokuho for Osesshin: Wednesday, 5 September

Osesshin: 7 days:
Thursday, 6 September – Wednesday, 12 September: ending in late evening of 12 September.
Full time participation ONLY.

Kokuho for the Roshi’s five day kosesshin: Thursday, 13 September

Kosesshin: 5 days, Friday, 14 September – Tuesday, 18 September, ending in evening of 18 September. Part-time participation accepted.

Daichi Zenni Kosesshin: 4-5 days
Kokuho: 19 September Wednesday
20 Thurs, 21 Fri, 22 Sat, 23 Sun, 24 Mon

[Tentatively; 24th. may be cancelled] 
Part-time participation accepted. 

Water Moon Dojo One Day Sesshin with Daichi Zenni, Sept 28, Seattle

Tahoma Sogenji San Zen Monastery

6499 Wahl Road
Freeland WA 98249

(360) 331-4142

Thank you

Finding Our Essence of Mind- Harada Roshi commentary on Platform Sutra in Tricycle Magazine

Harada Roshi is the featured Dharma Talk of Tricycle Magazine Spring 2018. The following teaching is a commentary by the contemporary Japanese teacher Shodo Harada on the fourth chapter of the Platform Sutra in Tricycle Magazine. From his new book Not One Single Thing: A Commentary on the Platform Sutra, by Shodo Harada © 2018. Reprinted with permission of Wisdom Publications (

Not One Single Thing Book available here

Article here:

Finding Our Essence of Mind

When we stop holding on to our thoughts, we observe each experience just as it is, freeing ourselves to address only what’s necessary.

By Shodo Harada Roshi

The following teaching is a commentary by the contemporary Japanese teacher Shodo Harada on the fourth chapter of the Platform Sutra. One of the most popular and influential texts of the Chinese Chan Buddhist tradition, the sutra is attributed to Fahai, a disciple of the Sixth Patriarch of Chan, Huineng (638–713 CE). Its ten chapters relate the patriarch’s talks.

One day, when addressing those gathered to hear him teach, the Sixth Patriarch focused on the nature of meditation and wisdom, explaining, “Meditation is the essence of wisdom, and wisdom is the function of meditation.”

Meditation and wisdom are not two separate things, as is stated clearly in the first two verses of the Dhammapada, a canonical collection of sayings attributed to the historical Buddha:

We are what we think, having become what we thought.
Like the wheel that follows the cart-pulling ox,
sorrow follows an evil thought.
We are what we think, having become what we thought.
Like the shadow that never leaves one,
happiness follows a pure thought.

This is the essence of zazen, or meditation. Some people have many thoughts, and some have few. What we think about and hold on to affects what we perceive. When we hold on neither to thought nor to anything at all within, we perceive correctly with all our senses. Yet zazen and wisdom are not two separate things; we don’t do zazen and then become able to function wisely. Both our sitting and our actions are clarified when we let go of obstructive thinking.list of buddhist terms

Wisdom comes forth only from clear, quiet mind. To hold on to nothing and not leave behind any remnant of thought is the mysterious nature of wisdom and the samadhiof meditation. Then everything we do is that samadhi, that Mu—eating, sleeping, standing, walking. But if we become attached to that practice, we again become trapped in our thoughts about it. Instead, leave no remnant of any thought behind, all day long! Even if you can do it in the zendo [meditation hall], if you are not able to keep it alive in your daily life, that is not true zazen. Zazen is not the form of sitting, but the practice of continually cutting away every extraneous mind moment. We cut as we see, as we hear, as we taste, as we smell, as we think, as we feel, and because we do this we are no longer pulled around by all that we see and hear and smell and taste and feel. But this does not mean that we don’t respond to things—we respond more sharply than ever, and more appropriately. If we are all falling asleep, feeling vague and fuzzy, we are not doing zazen correctly. It is a question of whether we are truly cutting and doing the practice thoroughly.

Here the Sixth Patriarch is talking about the actual essence of the continuing, clear mind moments of shikantaza. Many claim to be doing a shikantaza practice, but this is an advanced practice that is difficult to do correctly. In shikantaza practice our mind, exactly as it is, is the Buddha. This is not just a technique; it is an actual realization of this state of mind. Following a technique is not the point. If what we realize in the zendo is useless outside the zendo, we will be unable to guide others. This is not about causing a physical change in the brain either. We have to use our brain fully, but without being moved around by things in any way whatsoever.

Although we talk about sudden awakening or gradual awakening, there is only one path. Even though everyone hears the same dharma [teaching], some realize it quickly and some take longer. This doesn’t mean that there are different dharmas, only that those who walk the path have different characteristics. The Sixth Patriarch was one who awakened suddenly, on merely hearing the words “abiding nowhere, awakened mind arises.” In that instant all his burdens fell away. But there are not many like this.

Nonetheless, if we continue to be diligent, the more we realize, the deeper we go—until abiding nowhere, awakened mind arises. Just hearing these words, the Sixth Patriarch understood. We may hear and understand as well, yet in our daily lives still be subject to our habitual ways. And so we do zazen to cut all of this habitualization away. If we don’t cut, we end up carrying more and more burdens around. We have to use our koan or our susokkanpractice as a sharp sword for cutting away everything! If we don’t actualize this, then we will have only an intellectual understanding of the words “abiding nowhere, awakened mind arises” and not be able to help others to awaken either.

Whether it takes 20 years to be realized or one instant, the awakened essence is the same for everyone. Even though this is what the Sixth Patriarch taught his students, his school in southern China became known as the Sudden Enlightenment School, while the teachings of Jinshu Joza (Chinese, Shenxiu) in northern China were called the Gradual Enlightenment School. This dichotomy reflects the poems the two wrote at the request of the Fifth Patriarch. Jinshu Joza’s poem says,

Our body is the bodhi tree,
And our mind a mirror bright.
Carefully we wipe them hour by hour,
And let no dust alight.

In response, the Sixth Patriarch wrote:

There is no bodhi tree,
Nor stand of a mirror bright.
Since all is void,
Where can the dust alight?

We are always thinking and confused, so Jinshu Joza said we should continually sweep our mind clean, but the Sixth Patriarch responded by saying that even thinking there is such a thing as a body and a mind is already extra—there is nothing from the origin, so why should we worry about dust alighting on it? These names sudden and gradual describe ability or perseverance, but in our buddhanature there are no differentiations such as earlier or later, first or last, sudden or gradual—that mind will not open completely if we hold to any such ideas!

The Sixth Patriarch’s unique way of putting this is:

This teaching of ours has first taken nonthought as its central doctrine, the formless as its essence, and nonabiding as its fundamental. The formless is to transcend characteristics within the context of characteristics. Nonthought is to be without thought in the context of thoughts. Nonabiding is to consider in one’s fundamental nature that all worldly things are empty.

No one else has expressed the deep awakening of the Buddha and all of the patriarchs as well. We may believe otherpeople are good or bad, sick or healthy, but as long as we are concerned with our form or the form of others, we will be pulled around by our beliefs. In our true nature there are no such distinctions. This is Zen’s fundamental point. In our essence of mind, mountains are simply mountains, flowers are flowers, and the sound of the wind is the sound of the wind. We hear, we see, and we leave each thing as we hear or see it, adding nothing at all to it. Everything but that is just dualistic thinking. Changing with every single moment, our mind manifests our clear nature. This is “abiding nowhere, awakened mind arises.” In this way the Sixth Patriarch taught us.

Portrait of Shodo Harada Roshi
Photo by Roland Schmid

We have a physical body, but our body is only a robe, and we will eventually have to take this robe off. Our body is not just moving around aimlessly, manipulating its arms and legs. Something is moving through it, something is wearing this body like a robe. Everyone takes the robe for what they are, but our true essence is not restricted by the design or form of this robe. In the words of Master Hakuin in his Song of Zazen: “Realizing the form of no form as form, whether going or returning we cannot be any place else. Realizing the thought of no thought as thought,platform sutra historywhether singing or dancing we are the voice of the dharma.”

As we go to the zendo or to do our work, we have to see how our mind actually functions. And so we carry our koan or our susokkan while working, sitting, eating, with no sense of doing any of these activities. With Mu as a sharp sword, while we eat, work, and sit, we are not moved around by the doing of that activity—a full, taut state of mind pours through us, manifesting as the activity. Not fuzzy and foggy but sharp and taut, we become the zendo. As we do in kinhin [walking meditation], we become the floor, with our whole body. With our whole being we work, we eat meals, and in this way we become that place of nonabiding. Not absorbed by objects when in contact with objects, we become one with whatever we do, becoming ever more transparent.

In our daily lives we are always carrying around self-conscious awareness. Being so familiar with that state of mind, we think it is normal and have to work at cutting it away. The more varieties of contact we have with the outside, the more we have to cut away. In this way Jinshu Joza’s lines “Our body is the bodhi tree, and our mind a mirror bright,” have relevance. And the Sixth Patriarch’s lines, “There is no bodhi tree, nor stand of a mirror bright,” tell us we cannot just conceptualize in that way and feel we have truly understood. We have to do it with our whole body; our practice has to be done with everything we are. As long as you are stuck in your head, your buddhanature will not be revealed. When you realize the actuality of each movement and can let go of all that differentiation, your breath naturally aligns. You come to know this place of “Realizing the form of no form as form, whether going or returning we cannot be any place else.” This is what the Sixth Patriarch is teaching.

In what way do we realize and awaken to the Buddha’s mind?  Everything in nature has a physical body, yet a rock doesn’t call itself a rock or a flower call itself a flower. Only humans are stuck on how they are or should be. The healthiest way of being is to have no need to explain our being, but for it  to manifest naturally. We get stuck because we feel a need to explain. We express many forms, but do we say when we are working, “Now I am working”? We don’t need such an explanation. While having a body, we must not get caught on the fact that we have a body. This is the essence of zazen: in everything to become what we are doing completely and totally. We live completely, and then we die completely. We don’t set our lives aside because of a fear of death; instead, we live wholeheartedly with every bit of our being. A dead person doesn’t say, “Now I am dead.” 

Photo of Shodo Harada Roshi in a formal interview room
Shodo Harada Roshi in his sanzen [formal interview] room at Sogen-ji 1995 | Photo by Roland Schmid

Nonthought does not mean not to think; it means not to be carried away by any particular idea. We are humans, so of course we think; that’s what humans do. It has even been said that humans are legs that think. The purpose of Zen is not to become people who don’t think, but to think only what we we need to; not to be lost in unnecessary thoughts, but to see what is most necessary right now. If we cook rice, we have to think about how much to cook and how to do it the best way. If we are chopping wood, we have to think about the best way to chop, or if we grow vegetables, we have to think about the best way to cultivate them. But people are always thinking instead about how they look to others. When it is cold, put on clothes; when you are hungry, just eat. No extra decorations need to be added to these actions. When you are sick, become sick completely. When meeting a crisis, instead of grumbling and saying, “Why did this have to happen to me?” just become that crisis completely, without separating from it and complaining. Don’t think about extra things, but live totally embracing just what comes to you, not carrying thoughts about the past or wondering what’s going to happen in the future. If you only think what is necessary, you won’t be carrying the past around, thinking, “I should have done that,” “Oh, if I’d only done it this way.” We miss the present when we carry around these kinds of thoughts. Live this moment fully in the most appropriate way! sixth patriarch background

Nonabiding or nonattachment is the characteristic of our essence of mind. With nonattachment we have no time to get caught on things; we are always flowing. When we stop flowing, our mind becomes foul like stagnant water or fixed like water frozen into ice. If we are distracted by extraneous thinking while doing zazen, it is not dangerous. But if we are driving a car and get lost in our extraneous thoughts, it is dangerous. The nonabiding mind of zazen is not just for being in the zendo. Whether we are sitting, moving, working, silent, or speaking, all of it is zazen. The cultivation of flowing mind is zazen. Then we can become the flower, become the moon, become the stars—absorbed into them, we become everything we encounter completely and totally. That is our correct state of mind.

From Not One Single Thing: A Commentary on the Platform Sutra, by Shodo Harada © 2018. Reprinted with permission of Wisdom Publications (

May 13 Calligraphy Demo and Dharma Talk with Harada Roshi, Whidbey

Taigen Shodo Harada Roshi will give a talk and demo

Free admission

on Whidbey Island Washington at Bayview Hall

5642 Bayview Road, Langley WA 98260

May 13 2018 2 pm,

Calligraphies, scrolls, and books will be for sale. Dairin Zenji will be present with mounted calligraphies for sale. Elia, Margaux and Tehan will come from Bay Area to help make this a wonderful show!

Contact (360) 331-4142 for more info.