With roots going back to 1975, the Portland Buddhist Priory was established in 1987 by a handful of lay practitioners who wanted to follow the teaching of Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett and be a part of the Order Of Buddhist Contemplatives (the OBC). Today, we are continuing the evolving work of practicing Soto Zen Buddhism within this tradition.
In addition to the wide variety of practice opportunities listed on our calendar page, we offer spiritual counseling, naming ceremonies, funerals, weddings, and house blessings as well as funerals, naming ceremonies and ordinations for animals.
Four aspects of the Dharma are particularly important to our practice: sitting meditation, the Buddhist Precepts, the teaching that all beings have a bright, pure Buddha Nature and the practice of compassion.
Sometimes called serene reflection meditation or themeless sitting, zazen is characterized by sitting still with a bright mind, allowing thoughts to come and go and training the mind to not get caught up in what arises in our bodies or minds.
Working with the precepts emphasizes looking at our minds through the lens of these moral guidelines so that we might come to know where we create suffering for ourselves and others and so we can discover how we might alleviate that suffering.
Working on the precepts and practicing meditation work together to help us to uncover our own bright Buddha Nature which becomes obscured by the suffering created out of ignorance.
The practice of compassion is the effort we make to be aware of the difficulty that we and other living beings encounter in this world and the willingness to take steps to alleviate that suffering.
Each of these four foundations mutually benefit and reinforce each other. The beginning root of Buddhism is the compassionate wish to help beings and it is by taking up the meditation and doing the preceptual work that actualize this compassionate wish: the precepts help us to see where we create suffering and the meditation helps us to find the strength and wisdom to change ourselves.