Looking back at 2016…

Dear friends of Charles River Zen and Rinzai Zen practice,

Just a few days ago the calendar turned over and a new year of 2017 began. Sometimes it is helpful to take a look back at the elapsed year and to draw a summary that helps us understand how the Charles River Zen sangha spent their time during that year. Once again, we had a physical change of location, but not too dramatic this time: within the Watertown Center for Healing Arts we moved to the Skylight Studio. The move required that we change the entrance to the building: for access to the Skylight Studio we now enter at 22 Mt. Auburn Street.

As the Abbot of Charles River Zen I am submitting this report of the CRZ activities and the Abbot’s activities to you and extend a heartfelt Thank You for all of your help and dedication.

Activity Overview

Evening Zazen Meetings

All Day Sits

Web Visitors

Dharma Talks Posted


Zen practice in the Japanese Rinzai tradition is not easily found in America. There are only a few places and sanghas that offer access to this style and format of practice. At Charles River Zen we strive to establish a permanent place for this practice in the Boston area. To allow for that to happen we need to build the sangha, membership, and to raise the needed funds to accomplish the goal. All of this is done without advertising – we only make our presence known without the intent to pull in individuals. From our own history and practice we know that those who gravitate towards this deep practice will show up at the doorstep and enter.

In 2016 Dokuro continued to engage in advanced training under Shinge-shitsu Roko Sherry Chayat Roshi, the current Abbot of the Zen Studies Society. Along with her husband, Shuko-san, the Vice-abbess of CRZ, also attended sesshin at Dai Bosatsu Zendo as well as in other locations around the country. Altogether Dokuro spent 36 days in sesshin, gave 12 Dharma talks at retreats at Dai Bosatsu Zendo, New York Zendo, Haku-un Ji in Tempe AZ, and at Syracuse University. At Dai Bosatsu he led one Intro to Zen Weekend, Soen Shaku sesshin at New York Zendo, and a three and a half day zazen-kai at Haku-un Ji.


Dokuro and Shuko traveled to Rinzai-ji in July to participate in the commemoration of the anniversary of Sasaki Roshi’s passing. With the conclusion of the Sanki-kai (third service) the official remembrances came to a conclusion. In all services, beginning with the private service before cremation, the official funeral, and the two following annual services Dokuro had the honor to serve as the Ino, chanting the dedications and reading translations of Noritake Roshi’s ceremonial poems. In July the official ceremony making Donge-shitsu Shunan Noritake Roshi the Acting Abbot (kenmu jushoku) was celebrated at Rinzai-ji.

Another great event was the participation at the Dual Anniversary: 40 years Dai Bosatsu Zendo and 60 years Zen Studies Society, which was held at Dai Bosatsu Zendo on July 3. Noritake Roshi returned to DBZ for the last day of the Anniversary Sesshin and gave a speech at the Anniversary Celebration.

In February we began to post Dokuro’s talks on, a service that allows listeners around the world have free access to the talks. A total of 29 talks were posted so far and they were played 1,145 times over the course of the last ten months. Our social media presence has increased with a Facebook Page and Dokuro’s brief Dharma words on Twitter.

We need your help!

Charles River Zen is a small place and in the context of the Boston area we rely on contributions to our organization to keep operations possible. Dokuro and Shuko freely give their time to make this group possible, as do those who come and support the group as time-keepers, tea-servers, and through membership contributions. All that said, CRZ has been operating with a loss for the last few years and our modest reserves are shrinking.

Please support us with your donation of any amount. Thank you!