Temple Manager's News and Notes

Work around the Temple
Work around the Temple
December 19

As the nights get longer and winter is almost here, we continue to complete our Temple tasks.  We deliver Sock Monkey to homeless and sick children, gather food for the local school kids and get ready for a New Year Celebration.  We just passed our Heart of Wisdom 2nd birthday.

Bansho paints the Jizo room ceilingBansho paints the Jizo room ceiling.

Mitch digs a water line for the garden.

Mitch digs a water line for the garden.

Arlene and Nic set up the library Arlene and Nic set up the library




Happy 2013!!!  Kodo

Annual Dinner/Dance
Annual Dinner/Dance
August 29


Aug. 29, 2012

Dear Friends:

On Sept. 15 we will be celebrating our Fourth Annual Heart of Wisdom Founders’ Dinner.  This is a time to come together as a community, enjoy a wonderful meal and show gratitude for our abundance and practice.

https://www.zendust.org/displayevent/25679    (To RSVP and more information)

This year we have two types of dances both celebrating this wonderful life.  The first dance is the dance of preparation.  As we work together to bring life to this event sangha members have volunteered to cook, host, greet, set up, serve, entertain and clean up.  This is an intricate dance with ongoing choreography, set changes, life’s music and a cast of hundreds.

The second dance will be a performance by Anusha Fernando who is a member of the North Shore Zendo in Vancouver, BC. Perhaps you have sat a sesshin at Great Vow with her as she has a strong Zen practice along with her dance practice.

Anusha Fernando is a performer and teacher of Bharata Natyam, a type of classical Indian dance which grew out of the temples of South India as a form of spiritual practice.

She is also the Artistic Director of Shakti Dance, a society whose purpose is to promote this ancient classical Indian dance form through performances and training. 

It is with great pleasure that we invite everyone to this wonderful dinner along with the gift of an ancient spiritual dance performance.  Please RSVP so we know how many people to prepare for (click on the link above).

We are looking forward to seeing you!

With gratitude,

Kodo and the larger ZCO Sangha

Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple

6401 NE 10th, Portland, OR 97211

503-894-8891 (Please call if you have any questions)

Completed, Starting, Continuing
Completed, Starting, Continuing
July 25


Dear Friends:


Some updates on Temple projects....


Rain Garden -- competed.  A lot of people put in a lot of work but now almost all of the rain which will eventually pour onto our roof will flow into an official Rain Garden.  This saves money but bypassing the sewer system, it provides habitat for birds and insects and filters out pollutants.  Please stop by and take a look.


Downstairs Window Trim -- starting.  Wayne Haack (who did such an outstanding job on our zendo floor) is back with his partner Tony to trim out the downstairs windows.  Watch as a new downstairs look unfolds...there is more in the works


4th Annual Founders’ Dinner -- continuing


Here is a short history (Kodo’s version) of our now Annual Founders’ Dinner for Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple.  In 2009, Michelle Bussard took the lead and guided us in our first Heart of Wisdom Founders’ Dinner.  This was a specific fundraiser to get seed money to be in a better position to buy property in Portland when we found one.  This dinner was a great success, we asked people to donate $1,000 to become a Founder of Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple. We raised about $80,000.


The next year, 2010, our search for a building was gaining momentum and we realized that we needed a good amount of money before we could go to a bank to get a loan. Eimyo took the lead for the dinner along with Diane Brush and many, many sangha members. A beautiful grass roots dinner was held at St. David of Wales.  We successfully raised and got pledges so that we had enough money for a potential down payment. The search for a property continued.


Then, without much warning a building for Heart of Wisdom appeared.  We had enough money for the purchase (along with the generosity of the whole ZCO organization). We raided all of our funds to buy Heart of Wisdom.  Now we realized that we needed an annual fundraiser to have a capital fund to fix up the building.  Again Eimyo took the lead and another magical dinner came together at the Village Ballroom in 2011.


We now have a building, some debt and a wonderful Annual Founders’ Dinner tradition.  Eimyo is at the helm once again (she says she loves it). We have some great talent....this year from our affiliate sangha in Vancouver, British Columbia. Along with some great food from our own Great Vow garden; prepared by the current tenzo, Jogen. 


I hope you will save the date of Sept. 15, 2012 and join the ZCO sangha in this wonderful annual dinner tradition.


With gratitude for this amazing life,




Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple

Temple Manager

503-502-6474    kodo.conover@gmail.com



Great Wonders
June 23

June 23, 2012


Dear Friends:


While we were in Sri Lanka looking at the most amazing physical manifestations of the Buddha’s enlightenment...statues, temples, stupas, wall and ceiling carvings, the question that struck me and still remains is “who constructed these?” and “what inspired them to do this incredible work?”


My misconception was that the monks carved all of the statues but we found out that usually the King (who was a Buddhist) ordered the temples, statues and stupas made by the lay people....craftsmen, artisans and laborers. We read that they were paid and slaves were not used.


Today, in many ways, our life styles are like that of the kings and queens, the scholars, the advisors, doctors, lawyers, and civil servants of that ancient world. Just as in ancient times the lives of the lay and ordained Buddhists continue to be interwoven.


Now, we are the ones who can afford to finance, build and maintain our modern physical manifestations of the Buddha’s enlightenment and teachings. For ZCO these are our Monastery at Great Vow and our Temple at Heart of Wisdom.


Concerning Heart of Wisdom and Great Vow many people have asked me “who has financed this?” and “what has inspired them?”. To the first question, I answer, “the people.”  Many people find it hard to believe that we do not have a rich benefactor behind Zen Community of Oregon. We have many people who have given generously over the past years both individually and with matching grants; together we are the rich benefactor.


Once again a generous, long term Great Vow practitioner family has stepped forward and offered a $10,000 matching grant for Heart of Wisdom. 


We hope to at least match this amount by the end of July, and perhaps collect enough money to meet our loan obligation for Heart of Wisdom for one full year ($24,000).  Can you help us with this? The first $10,000 will be matched by this anonymous donor family.



Please, look at your individual finances and if you are able to and would like to see our Zen Community continue to be a solid and beautiful presence of the Buddha-dharma, send your contributions to:






Or put your contribution in the donation box at Heart of Wisdom or Great Vow; clearly write in the notation that this is for the matching grant.  


Any questions? Please call or email me.



With great appreciation,


Kodo Conover


Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple

Temple Manager

503-502-6474    kodo.conover@gmail.com



Importance of Sangha
Importance of Sangha
June 14


Knotes -- June 1, 2012


Dear Friends:


Thank you to all who helped out with the rain garden project.  We got them all dug out to 18 inches, the weeds pulled and gravel was purchased.  


Also thank you to those who have stepped forward to help with the Buddhism in the Park.


As we develop as a sangha there are many different opportunities to help and support the Sangha and each other.  Sometimes we are asked or have the ability to take the lead. At other times we are the worker bees or support people. Then there are times when we can only give moral support or send good wishes and metta.  All of these positions are important elements in creating a vital, alive sangha, one that is wide, deep and has many dimensions.  One where our connections with each other and the Buddha-dharma is of most importance.


On Sunday....in a few minutes... Chozen, Hogen, Eimyo and I are leaving on a ten day scouting trip to Sri Lanka.  Our intention is to lay the ground work for a possible pilgrimage in 2013.  Sri Lanka is the oldest country where Buddhism has been continuously practiced.


We'll visit Venerable Kusuma at her ashram, Sarvodaya where the women are making golden bodhi leaves for us to sell as ornaments.  We will visit some of the amazing Buddhist sites which we will plan to see again during the pilgrimage in 2013.


Our thoughts will be with you as we travel to the other side of the world and join with others in viewing these ancient Buddhist sites.






Abundance Abounds
Abundance Abounds
May 9


Knotes -- from HoW Temple Manager


May 9, 2012


Dear Friends:


Many thanks to those who came to the Garden Work Day at Heart of Wisdom.  Twelve people weeded, moved plants, and dug the beginning of our rain garden.  It looks great.










A warm thank you to our Teachers Chozen and Hogen for the donation of a new dishwasher at Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple.  

   We can now rest assured that our dishwashing process is safe and sanitary



The buildings and the grounds protect the Dharma

And bring peace to all.

The sangha in the ten directions will increase

In wisdom and compassion.

How this all comes to us

Is a gift we should not miss.

Kojun is conducting a small but powerful fundraising event for Great Vow mortgage.  She has arranged for a matching grant up to $10,000 given by Hoben and DoEllen Hansen of Vancouver, BC.  


We have two wonderful gems in Great Vow and Heart of Wisdom.  I encourage everyone to give $10, $20, $100 or whatever is in your budget to help with our building costs at Great Vow.  To donate or see how the fundraiser is progressing, go to: 




 I donated yesterday and the links and connections all work fine.



One last note....Kojun will be giving a class at Heart of Wisdom on Sundays

from 4:00 - 6:00 on the Inner Critic.  This will start June 3 and continue through June 24.  This will be a great chance to take a look at and learn about the killer of joy....the inner critic.  Please consider attending. 


With more joy for us all,






Three Good Things
Three Good Things
April 22



April 22, 2012


Good Morning:


They say good things come in threes and right now there are three new, discrete offerings at Great Vow and Heart of Wisdom coming at the end of May and beginning of June. I encourage everyone to register right away for these one time uniques offerings. You can attend all three!  I have registered for sesshin and am seriously considering the other two. Please see listings at zendust.org




Great Vow Zen Monastery’s 10th Anniversary will be commemorated with a special Memorial Sesshin.


May 21 - May 27, 2012.













The Painting Experience is a unique experience which is being hosted at Great Vow and lead by Stewart Cubley.  It is  an unprecedented journey into the wild territory of painting directly from intuition. It’s a leap beyond the predicted and expected - a venture into color, form and image where no rules apply.  


 May 30 through June 2, 201




















Mindfulness and Sustainability




Cosponsored by Zen Community of Oregon and

Ecopsychology in Counseling Certificate Program,

Lewis & Clark Graduate School  


Dr. Greg Hill and Thomas Doherty, Psy. D. will weave together zen practice and ecopsychology during this day long workshop.  This workshop has been in the making for several years.


June 9, 2012 at Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple.




Gassho and Happy Earth Day,



Heart of Wisdom Temple Manager


New and Deep Roots
New and Deep Roots
April 15


Knotes from the Temple Manager

4/15/2012 -- Sunday am


Dear Sangha and Friends:


After a day of zen meditation at our new Temple I was reflecting on this strong feeling of  newness of everything at Heart of Wisdom.  Even though our building is old, built in 1891, there is a feeling of unfolding excitement as we flow through sitting, working, eating, listening, reflecting and renewing together.


Spring inherently brings forth a renewal of life and that same new life energy is beginning to emerge at Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple.......


I was reflecting on the warm and many thank yous that I have received from the sangha about the work at Heart of Wisdom.  It is very encouraging.  Now, I would like to shine the light on two people who have quietly and effectively given time, energy, money and their wonderful skills to Heart of Wisdom.


Yesterday, as I glanced out the window I happened to see Nan and Allen hard at work in the garden and thought what an amazing couple!


Nan and Allen Whitaker-Emrich have been a stable and mature couple at to our place of practice long before we moved to our new building.  They have offered hours of encouragement and involvement in the community then turn around and pitch in to do the hard work. Nan and Allen are the roots and nourishment of Heart of Wisdom.


Nan has been the Programming Chair for many years and has worked with us to develop a yearly calendar, getting in sync with the Great Vow calendar, not an easy task.  She has developed both event leaders and a cadre volunteers who support and run our events. She has juggled many people’s schedules, needs and interest with ease and joy. She’s doing remarkable work for Heart of Wisdom.


If that work hasn’t been enough, Nan has almost single handedly designed and planted our beautiful garden.  Most of the mature plants that we have in this one year old garden have come from Nan and Allen’s home.  She is an advocate for the garden, our events, our sangha and our temple.  And don’t forget the flowers...arranged and bought by Nan.


Now let’s look at Allen.  When there is a need at the Temple, Allen can be found doing it.  He has taken on the janitorial task of cleaning the whole place, top to bottom each week.  He mows the lawn, removes debris and supports Nan in her many projects. 


Wearing another hat, Allen has been instrumental in the different recovery programs at Heart of Wisdom.  After a long career as a psychologist, Allen continues to help and support this vital part of our temple offerings.  He is always ready to help and is often called upon to support a sangha member in crisis.


Nan and Allen have been married for 20 some years, are so obviously in love, have families, kids and grandchildren, careers as family therapist (Nan is still working) and have been and continue to be at the core....as said earlier they are the roots and nourishment of Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple.  Thank you from the whole sangha.


With deep appreciation,






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