Jessica Swanson

Offering each other refuge

by Greg Satir, board vice president

Last month, Portland Friends of the Dhamma Board and community came together and formally agreed to purchase the Dharma Rain Zendo. Soon we will produce a formal offer to Dharma Rain. Since this is a transaction between two Dharma groups, there is enormous goodwill and shared interest in making this sale and transition easy on both communities. So, instead of simply handing an offer to Dharma Rain, first we met Board-to-Board to talk about what each community would find of greatest support both around and outside of the financial details.

The guiding principle of refuge soon emerged in our conversation. Portland Friends of the Dhamma has been homeless since May 2013 and this has been a strain on our community. Though it will take a while to close on the sale, anything we can do now to increase our feeling of refuge in this building will be of great benefit. Similarly, Dharma Rain is about to enter a homeless period that could last even longer than ours, as they embark on a huge building project. Any amount of refuge they can continue to find at this building beyond the close of sale will help them.

A beautiful shared interest in offering each other refuge during this transition became clear.  So, for example, even before we have made a formal offer,  Dharma Rain has given over use of their sewing room in the lower level as an office for our Spiritual Director, Sakula. This 24/7 foothold in the building increases our community’s refuge here.

On our side, we learned that Dharma Rain has a practice period that goes through June 1. Even though the sale will likely close before then, it would be a benefit to them if they could stay moved in and arranged in the manner they are used to. Again, easy for us to offer and a huge benefit for them. They are able to plan their transition in June without worry of when the formal close is.

This ability for us to find refuge before the sale and them to maintain it after the sale is something rare in a half-million-dollar transaction. These conditions are very fortunate: two Buddhist groups in transition, able to help each other.

The Board meets monthly on the second Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Dharma Rain. All meetings are open to the public, please consider joining us. Email for more information.


Notes from the Annex

A report on the latest efforts of PFOD’s Board of Directors

When the possibility of purchasing the Dharma Rain Zendo first came up, the natural question was, Does the community support this purchase? One way to interpret this is purely financially: Do we have the money coming in for a downpayment and monthly loan payments. Of course, support is more than financial and it’s even more than volunteer energy. The question truly is: Would the community make its home here and deeply settle into this building?

A pledge drive answered these intertwined questions. Right now, we have $3,115 per month in pledged support from 50 community members. This amount of money — more than we’ve ever taken in before — shows that we can consider taking on a loan. But the fact that there are 50 people who came forward to offer this support has been an inspiration to the Board that the community support is here.

Now, it’s time to consider what kind of offer we can present to Dharma Rain. To avoid the natural winter holiday slump in community energy as people turn to their families and travels, the Board has set a goal of bringing an initial offer to Dharma Rain by the middle of December.

In order to make an offer that the Board has confidence in, we need to consider what conditions create a viable purchase. We have undertaken to learn:

  • what shape is the building in

  • how much insurance will cost

  • how do we create a useful reserve fund

  • what initial remodeling might be beneficial

  • how renting to others will facilitate this purchase

It also means considering other community costs like better supporting the Spiritual Director and getting some professional help with our bookkeeping systems.

In short, there are a lot of plans to be made during this next month. It is an exciting time, with many people putting time into supporting the community by working on this purchase, keeping our programs going and practicing together. The energy is building and the signs are promising.

To learn more about our directors and view our board meeting dates, visit:

Greg Satir, vice-president

Exciting Times!

Fall is upon us, and what exciting times for Portland Friends of the Dhamma!

Here’s a glimpse of some of PFoD’s top news.

Call for volunteers!! We can use your help!

Share in PFoD’s good fortune. October is rich with monastic visits, so there is an abundance of opportunities to serve. Assistance with preparation, support during the events, cleanup, and resetting the shrine room are needed. Please contact Sallie if you are able and willing to help. Here’s the schedule:

Benefit for Portland Friends of the Dhamma

A Benefit with Luang Por Pasanno, Ajahn Sudanto, joined by Abhayagiri & Hermitage monastics
Friday and Saturday: October 11th and12th

Friday Evening: Tea Time from 5:30 – 6:45 pm; Meditation and Dhamma Talk: 7:00 – 9:00 pm

Saturday Daylong Event

9:00 – 11:30 am –Precepts, Chanting, Meditation, Dhamma Reflections 

11:30 – Pot Luck Meal Offering (downstairs)

1:004:00 pm – Reflections and Encouragements

4:00 – Closing

All donations go toward the goal of purchasing the Dharma Rain Zendo

On Sunday, Luang Por heads out to White Salmon Wa. in support of the Pacific Hermitage Pah Bah (to volunteer for Pah Bah, please contact Scott Benge).

But wait, there’s more…

  • Ajahn Sudanto and the Pacific Hermitage monks Friday night October 18th.
  • Tuesday evening with Ajahn Jayasaro, October 22nd.

Working together, we can enjoy in the Dhamma goodness as a community!

Ajaan GeoffAjaan Thanissaro’s visit cancelled (another reason to buy Dharma Rain Zendo!). Ajaan Thanissaro was scheduled to visit in November. Due to a scheduling conflict with Dharma Rain needing the space, Ajaan’s visit has been cancelled.



Regarding the purchase of Dharma Rain Zendo:

  • We have a total of 39 pledges for $2410 per month! We are 60% of the way to our goal of $4000 per month. Thank you everyone for your support!
  • In addition to monthly pledges, there are commitments for $31,000 towards a down payment.

If you haven’t pledged yet, and would like to, you can find more information here.

It’s Arrived!

butterflyCheck out our new website! There’s lots of new photos and information to explore.

The site is still evolving and expanding. In the meantime, we want to hear from you. Please look around, and if you have any comments or suggestions, we would appreciate hearing them.

Looking for more? Check out Portland Friends of the Dhamma on Facebook.  It’s an easy way to tap into the community and interface with a wide variety of folks on a daily basis without clogging up your email box.

Don’t forget the twice monthly newsletter. A delightful dose of Dhamma delivered directly to your inbox: You can sign up for that here.

We are working hard to keep you informed, and to encourage participation and support of the PFoD community!