Charles River Zen and Dharma Cloud Hermitage (Hôun-an)

This data was last updated on 30 March 2020.

Address: Watertown Center for Healing Arts, 22 Mt. Auburn Street, Watertown 02472
Phone: 617-800-9585
Website: http://www.charlesriverzen.org

History: Kyôzan Joshû Sasaki Rôshi, a Japanese Rinzai Zen Master, arrived in Los Angeles from Japan in 1962. Since establishing his first city temple there in 1968, he has been a forerunner in the propagation of Japanese Zen throughout the United States. His students have opened centers in the US, Puerto Rico, Canada and Europe. In April 2007, Roshi celebrated his 100th birthday. He is still teaching at Mt. Baldy Zen Center in the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California. The Roshi teaches a form of Tathagata Zen (Nyorai Zen) that emphasizes direct experience over an intellectual approach. The group was founded in 2001 by one of Roshi’s students, Kyôon Dokurô Osho or Dokuro Jaeckel. He became involved with Rinzai Zen in 1982 and was ordained in 1989. He is also the Buddhist Chaplain at Boston University.

Description: Dharma Cloud Hermitage meets at the Cambridge Buddhist Association's building on Sparks Street. In a residential area of Cambridge, the large house provides a quiet space for Buddhist groups to meet. Beyond the front entrance of the three-story house, there is a small room to the right of the hallway for visitors to leave their shoes, and a bulletin board with pamphlets and schedules of the groups who meet at CBA. To the left of the front hallway is the main meditation hall. Sparsely decorated with a small altar in front of a fireplace, meditation cushions line each side of the room. A room connected to the back of the meditation hall and front hallway allows one to practice walking meditation through both rooms. While the back porch and kitchen on the first floor are less utilized on a regular basis, during non-residential retreats they provide more space for contemplation and refreshments. From the back porch, one finds the fenced-in backyard of the house. The staircase from the front hallway leads up to a number of smaller, carpeted rooms on the second floor. There is a small room used for personal interviews, a room with cushions for small groups to meet and an extensive library room. Since Buddhist scholar/practitioners founded CBA, the library houses an impressive collection of books on Buddhist traditions and practices. The third floor of the house is not open to the public, and is the residence of the caretaker of the building.

Temple Leadership: Dharma Cloud Hermitage was founded by a group of long-time students of Sasaki Roshi, led by Kyoon Dokuro Osho who currently is the abbot. The vice-abbess is Shuko Rubin, an ordained Zen nun, who has been studying with Roshi since the early 1980s.

Demographics: The Dharma Cloud Heritage does not have formal membership. Eight to ten practitioners attend regular weekly meetings. There are approximately 15-20 attendees at non-residential, one-day or weekend retreats. Practitioners are primarily Euro-American or of European descent.

Activities and Schedule: The Dharma Cloud Hermitage offers regular weekly meetings. These meetings primarily include zazen (sitting meditation/contemplation), kinhin (walking meditation), chanting and a dharma talk. In addition, informal meetings with the abbot are available. The group also hosts one-day or weekend retreats throughout the year. A monthly Open House allows newcomers to Buddhism or to the Dharma Cloud Hermitage to get a flavor of formal Zen practice and meet fellow attendees. Dharma Cloud Hermitage/Hôun-an offers special private ceremonies such as weddings, memorial services, chanting services and child dedications upon request.