Tahoma Sogenji monastery

About Tahoma Zen Monastery

Located just north of Seattle on Whidbey Island in Washington State, the 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. For brevity, the monastery on Whidbey island can be referred to simply as “Tahoma Zen Monastery.”

The Tahoma Zen Monastery maintains a daily schedule of morning and evening meditation, weekend retreats once a month and intensive meditation training with Shodo Harada Roshi three times a year (in February, May, and September). 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 and Dairin were installed as Assistant Abbots.

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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