Northwest Dharma Association



NW Dharma News

Winter 2019, Volume 32, #2

NW Dharma News

Trains, Cats, and Dharma; A Great Man Gone

David was a great lover of cats…and they loved him

In September the Northwest Dharma community was saddened to hear of the passing of David Forsythe, the long-time volunteer leader of Northwest Dharma Association. For the past several years NWDA has been re-visioning and planning for the transition to a new generation of Dharma leaders and association volunteers. If it hadn’t been for David’s vision and skill, the organization might not have survived long enough to make those transitions. David came to Seattle from upstate New York, where he’d been managing online library catalog systems. He began volunteering for NWDA in 1996, and was unfailingly enthusiastic about rolling up his…

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Dharma Education

Mindfulness Retreat Transforms Teens in Oregon

Teens practice mindfulness while prone, a favorite during the retreat.

This past August more than 50 teens and adult mentors gathered at the Ananda Center at Laurelwood, just outside of Portland, to spend a week together practicing the art of mindful meditation. This was the 6th teen retreat held in the Pacific Northwest sponsored by Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme – “I be me”). Today’s teens report high levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Add to that family conflicts, the prevalence of drugs and alcohol use, and national problems such as overt racism and political adversity, and our teens need more support than ever. Inward Bound Mindfulness Education retreats for…

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Dharma in Canada

Retreat Center Offers Canadian Mountain Solitude

The Mahasiddha Retreat Centre provides a tranquil and inspiring environment for retreat and study

Less than a year after opening in the snowy Canadian Rockies, the Mahasiddha Retreat Centre is planning more retreats for 2020. Mahasiddha is the first rural retreat center to be operated by Seattle-based Nalandabodhi. That organization, under the direction of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, offers traditional Tibetan Buddhist teachings tailored for contemporary practitioners. Mahasiddha Retreat Centre complements Nalandabodhi’s normal focus on daily practice, study and mindful activity. Since its opening last spring Mahasiddha Retreat Centre has supported several group retreats. We’ve also welcomed retreatants who found there the space and tranquility for individual practice of several days or weeks. We look…

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Compassionate Action

Pacific Northwest Peace Pagoda, a dream revived

Nipponzan Myohoji monks and nuns make an offering

In August people traveled from across the U.S. and Japan to Poulsbo, Washington, to celebrate the ground purification ceremony for what will be the first peace pagoda on the West Coast by the Nipponzan Myohoji Order. The 150 attending the ceremony witnessed a living prayer for peace; with a soft breeze moving the many colorful flags, and sunlight illuminating the grass, the trees, and the opened earth for the peace pagoda. The pagoda project is being led by Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist nuns, monks, and their supporters. The ground purification ceremony or Jichin-sai, is a traditional Buddhist and Shinto ceremony asking…

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Dharma Healing, Arts

What’s New and What’s Ancient With Your Mala?

People wearing malas celebrate a "Listening to the Sound of Silence” retreat at the Trappist Abbey in Carlton, Oregon. The retreat was taught by Jerry Braza from the Order of InterBeing.

Around the Northwest, Buddhist practitioners are using the strings of beads called malas in new and sometimes-surprising ways. And maybe not so surprising, here in 2020, some people are adapting digital devices to support their dharma practice as effectively as physical malas have since the time of the Buddha. As I reached out to Buddhist practitioners around the region, I was fascinated by the array of perspectives they bring to their mala use. Malas sold in Seattle empowering refugee Tibetan nuns in India Seattle-based Tibetan Nun Project in 1987 began raising funds to educate and empower nuns in the Tibetan…

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Sangha News

Female Leader Takes Over at Seattle Soto Zen

Outgoing teacher Eko Jeff Kelley prepares to bow with Kanshin Allison Tait, incoming teacher, in 2019.

Leadership changed at Seattle Soto Zen in September, with new spiritual director Kanshin Allison Tait replacing Eko Jeff Kelley as resident teacher. Kelley has retired after serving in the role for nearly 10 years. Shortly after the teacher transition ceremony Seattle Soto Zen conducted its annual September sesshin at Camp Indianola, west of Seattle. Tait and Kelley shared teaching responsibilities for a topic Kelley had chosen, “Impermanence Is Buddha Nature.” The sesshin participants were very aware of the truth of impermanence, as they said farewell to their beloved teacher. “Now things are changing,” said Kelley in his closing remarks. “That’s…

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Go to Full Calendar of Events

What's Happening

Dharma Relief: Let’s get medical supplies to where they’re needed!

Several Buddhist groups are organizing a charity relief program to help deliver medical supplies to where they are needed. You can help by donating and by coordinating supplies. Visit

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Buddhist Centers Respond to Pandemic

Responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are shifting rapidly. Many centers have suspended public events and are streaming programs via Zoom, YouTube, Facebook, and other video platforms. The following are a few announcements made in recent days. Check with your local center to confirm whether events are being held.

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Finding upsides in digital sangha when we have no choice

Practical tips on leading meditation and discussion using video conferencing.

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Group Members

Ocean Light Zen Center

Welcome to Ocean Light Zen Center. We are a small, sincere community of Zen practitioners in West Seattle. Please join us any Sunday morning at the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse for meditation in good company. We offer group meditation practice, retreats, public talks, and other programs to support the beginning and sustaining of a rewarding Zen meditation practice. Ocean Light is affiliated with the Kwan Um School of Zen, which has a worldwide network of Zen centers and teachers to provide even more support for your practice.

Tradition: Zen || Location: Seattle, WA

Sorig Institute

The Sorig Institute is dedicated to teaching Sorig Rigpa - the Science of Healing - and the related Vajrayana practices.  The curriculum of traditional Tibetan medicine follows that taught for centuries in Tibet based on the Four Tantras. The spiritual practices follow the Yuthok Nyingthik and related practices.  These practices were handed down by Yuthok Yonten Gompo and have a number of wonderful characteristics.  These practices are a full cycle of Vajrayana practices from ngondro to mahamudra and dzogchen practices.  Further, they are intended for householders and those who have little time for practice.  In the West they are one...

Tradition: Tibetan || Location: Seattle, WA

Dance Mandal

Emphasis is on the sacred arts particularly of Vajrayana Buddhism, and focusing mainly on a style of vajra dance from the Nepalese lineage of Newar Buddhist priests. Dance classes and performance offerings are held regularly at the Newar Buddhist temple of Nritya Mandala Mahavihara. Dance Mandal also offers presentations, workshops, and performances for dharma centers, universities, schools, museums, etc.

Tradition: Non-sectarian || Location: Portland, OR

Buddhist Institute of Universal Compassion

The Buddhist Institute of Universal Compassion is a part of the Universal Compassion Foundation. The purpose for which UCF is formed is to promote universal compassion and world peace through Buddhist wisdom and service.

Tradition: Tibetan || Location: Spokane, WA

Seattle Pragmatic Dharma Society

The Seattle Pragmatic [Underground] Dharma Society (SPUDS) is a group of friends in Seattle who meet weekly to discuss meditation.  The word ‘underground’ in the name is used in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, both mocking the group’s unstructured nature and helping round out the acronym.  SPUDS started unofficially in early 2016 when a few individuals who connected through online meditation forums gathered in person in a local coffee shop to discuss meditation techniques, maps & results.  The point of the group was to provide a complement to some of the features of other local sanghas that were already available in the...

Tradition: Pragmatic Dharma || Location: , WA

Katog Choling Hillsboro-Portland Practice Group

We meet for study and meditation, temple mantra rolling project, Compassion in Action project.  Weekly Bodhichitta practice.  Monthly live webcasts of Khentrul Rinpoche's teaching.

Tradition: Tibetan || Location: Hillsboro, OR

Whidbey Island Sangha

We are a many teachered sangha, on South Whidbey Island. For 20 years, we have supported and practiced the teachings of Lama Tsultrim Allione and the retreat center Tara Mandala in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. We have also invited Lama Wangdor Rinpoche from Tso Pema India, and his translator Lama Lena to teach here for many years. We are also students of Kilung Jigme Rinpoche who's seat in the West is on Whidbey Island and supporters of Pema Kilaya. Please see Pema Kilaya member group.

Tradition: Tibetan Buddhist || Location: Langley, WA

Rainbowdharma International

Rainbowdharma is a discreet organization of international Buddhist practitioners. The founder, Lama Rangdrol, is an independent teacher of Buddhism and meditation in the Nyingma Dzogchen tradition. Known for his clarity of insight, he has taught meditation in Buddhist, ecumenical, non-sectarian, Christian, Interfaith, and secular communities on three continents. He has authored five books on race relations in American Buddhism, two music albums, and produced an award winning film. His work on meditation in the African American experience is recognized worldwide. He teaches regularly in the Seattle Area when not traveling or giving counsel to students and scholars at home and...

Tradition: Nyingma - Dzogchen; Navayana || Location: , WA

Go to the Group Directory page for more!