For more information on forms, retreats and other offerings of the Dharma Cloud Lineage, also see the Dharma Rain Zen Center website.  Mark Sosetsu Stauffer is a transmitted lay teacher in the Dharma Cloud Lineage.

Ango Period (and opening aspiration sharing)

Ango is a traditional time in fall and spring of practice marked by an increased commitment to exploration, meditation, service, and study. 100 days of aspirational practice provides an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding one’s life. Some aspirations can be like a north star; it is a compass that points us in the right direction even though it is not the path. Each person tailors their vows or aspirations to adapt to their life circumstances. These can be challenging, and also, joyous and lite, or just practical. By sharing our practice in community, we support one another and witness each other. 

Robe Verse (optional chanting 3 times after the first sitting period of the day)

How great the robe of liberation!

A formless field of benefaction,

Wrapping ourselves in Buddhas teaching,

We free all living beings.


For twenty-five hundred years the practice of Zen meditation and the essence of Buddhism has been transmitted. Zazen simply means “seated meditation.” In Soto Zen, we use the method known as shikantaza, or “serene reflection.” The meditation is an expression of awakened awareness and stillness; one is instructed to “just sit” and let go of intentional and patterned thinking when it arises.  In addition, the Soto Zen tradition is unusual in that practitioners face toward the wall when sitting Zazen.

Zazen brings a state of stable, focused presence by repeatedly and lightly bringing the mind back to present. Rather than using mantras, images, or other anchors, it is an objectless method of meditation. Although simple and straightforward at first glance, it is radical in its acceptance of conditions. Zazen helps us see clearly and become intimate with our heart-mind ("shin") and how our habit patterns effect our present moment and daily life. Through stillness and seeing, an awareness of the dynamic, impermanent nature of mind arises as a confidence in how things are. Thoughts, feelings, patterns, ideas, etc. can be noticed as temporal against the limitless ground of mind itself. The practice of Zen is a direct method of finding this place of real truth within ourselves, and learning to function with this wisdom.

Kinhin (or walking meditation)

Kinhin is a type of walking mindfulness often done in a zendo (i.e., meditation hall).  It may be slow or fast paced depending if it is inside or outside respectively. 


A private interview between a Dharma teacher and a dharma student. Email Mark Sosetsu to arrange a time.