Tahoma Sogenji monastery

About Tahoma Zen Monastery

Located just north of Seattle on Whidbey Island in Washington State (see map), Tahoma-san Sōgen-ji Zen Monastery is dedicated to bringing traditional Rinzai Zen to North America. The monastery was founded by Taigen Shōdō Harada Rōshi, the abbot of Sōgen-ji, a Rinzai Zen training monastery in Okayama, Japan. 

Tahoma Zen Monastery maintains a daily schedule of morning and evening meditation (daily schedule can be seen here), weekend retreats once a month, (contact the monastery for dates) intensive meditation training with Shodo Harada Roshi three times a year (in February, May, and September, to be on the mailing list for info click here), and short (5-6 day) sesshin with Daichi Zenni in between February, May, and September. Announcements are sent out in Monastery Messages (sign up for mailing list above) or by emailing tahoma@whidbey.com or calling the Monastery on Whidbey at (360) 331-4142. 

Members support the local community by providing respite retreats for caregivers and the operation of Enso House, a home for people who are dying.

Harada Roshi was formally installed as Abbot of Tahoma Zen Monastery on September 14, 2011, although he continues his intensive teaching schedule at Sogenji and around the world. His disciples Daichi Roshi and Dairin Zenji were installed as Assistant Abbots at that time. Currently the head monk in residence is Dairyo. 

Contact the monastery here. To receive a monthly email newsletter about events and practice at Tahoma, subscribe here 


ZAZEN Schedule: 

Morning Chanting and Zazen from 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m.

Evening Zazen is 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Zazen (sitting meditation) is in 25 minute periods with a few minutes of break in between.  

Please be in the Zendo and on a cushion ten minutes before zazen begins.  If you arrive after a period has started, please wait in the entrance area on a cushion until the period ends before coming into the Zendo.  Chairs and kneeling benches are available.

Residents of the Monastery follow this schedule; however, non-residents are welcome to drop in anytime for one or more periods without previous announcement. The Monastery can be contacted here.

Sundays at 8:00 a.m- 9:00 a.m. Followed by Tea from 9-10 am.

Zazenkai includes sutra chanting, zazen, walking meditation, and a short reading of texts by Shodo Harada Roshi.  Afterwards, tea and sweets are served in the dining hall, and there is an opportunity for questions, discussion, and conversation.

Osesshin Schedule (7 day intensives in February, May, and September with Harada Roshi)

3:50: Wake Up Bell

4:20 On Cushion

4:30 Sutras/Baito

5:00 Zazen/Sanzen

6:55 Breakfast 

8:00 Samu


9:2On Cushion

9:30 Zazen

11:55 Lunch


12:35 On Cushion

1:00 Teisho

3:00 Exercise

3:55 Supper


5:50 On Cushion

6:00 Golden Hour

7:00 Zazen/Sanzen

9:00 Sarei/Sutras

KoSesshin Schedule with Daichi Zenni

3:50 A.M. On Cushion
4:00 Choka (morning chanting)
4:40 Zazen
5:00 Zazen, Sanzen
7:00 Breakfast

7:40 Personal cleaning
8:00 Temple Cleaning
8:30 Samu (work)
10:15 tea break- until 10:45 A.M.
12:00 Samu ends

12:30 Lunch
4:00 Freestyle supper
4:50 On Cushion
5:00 Zazen
6:30 zazen, sanzen
8:30 Sarei (tea)
9:00 Kachin
9:30 Yaza


Friday night to Sunday morning, often one weekend a month. Contact the monastery. 

Finally, a few words about NAMES:

Traditionally, Buddhist monasteries in Japan and China have been named after mountains. Keeping with this tradition, the name “Tahoma” was selected for the name of the monastery on Whidbey Island. Tahoma is the original, ancient name for Mt. Rainier which can be seen from a bluff near the Monastery land. Considered sacred for millennia, the mountain has deep and broad meaning in the Native American tradition, whose name Tahoma can be interpreted as “Having Unseen Powers” or “The Place Where Waters Begin.”

The suffix “-san” of “Tahoma-san” means “mountain” in Japanese. In Japanese the Kanji (多法摩山) for Tahoma-san means “place of abundant Dharma”.

“Sōgen-ji” is used in the formal name to emphasize the connection between the American monastery on Whidbey Island and its “parent” monastery in Japan.

“Rōshi” is a Japanese honorific title used in Zen Buddhism that literally means “old teacher” or “elder master.” Shodo Harada's surname is Harada. Born in August 26, 1940 in Nara, Japan, his given name was Seichō. After training for 20 years with his teacher Yamada Mumon Roshi, he was given the monk name Shōdō, meaning “True Way.” Occasionally, he also uses the name “Taigen,” a second name given by his teacher.

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