Heart to heart, face to face
Weekly on Zoom, and sometimes together. The Zoom link opens a few minutes before each session. All are welcome, no charge.
- Wednesday mornings 8:00–9:00 am Pacific time through December (sometimes we extend 10-15 minutes, for hellos and check-ins.) Open Door via Zoom
- Also – occasional live, safe, small gatherings and day-retreats are resuming in the Portland area. Please contact us for schedule updates or more information.
Open Door Dharma gatherings offer easy refuge and balance, using simple chants and mantras and periods of silence, in a small community of practice. Chanting, meditating, and reflecting together, we cultivate stability, ease, resilience, compassion, and community. The format is lightly fluid for the group. (Scroll down to learn more about our dharma view.)
Our eclectic model weaves together Eastern devotional practices and Buddhist teachings, Western traditions, and timeless Earth-centered wisdom. Practices and insights from all these paths open the door to our true nature.
Our gatherings open with simple chanting (mics are muted on Zoom), interspersed with silent or lightly guided meditation. After meditation, brief conversation stays tuned to dharma perspectives. For private conversation or teaching, reach out here.
NOTE: On Zoom, seeing and hearing each other enables us to connect even over physical distances. If you prefer to keep your camera off, an avatar or photo of yourself or something you love is appreciated. Voices are muted during chants and sitting; participants usually unmute after our final bell.
Open Door Dharma practices cultivate resilience and an easy sense of balance. Regular practice in community – whether we call it sangha, fellowship, satsang, congregation, or circle – nurtures stability and belonging, no matter what arises day to day. Despite physical distance and the tensions of this time, we deepen our experience that we truly are all One, all living parts of this living earth. Together we are the body of Buddha, the heart of the Beloved, brothers and sisters as expressions of Pure Awareness.
Click here to add your address to receive occasional texts or emails with schedule reminders (contact info is never shared).
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So, what is this path?
More than fifty years ago, Ram Dass and many Western seekers were roaming the Himalayan foothills of India. Many, including RD (formerly a Harvard cohort of Timothy Leary), found their way to Neem Karoli Baba, affectionately known as Maharajji). In his presence, they immersed themselves in his timeless, simple path of devotion, wisdom, and service.
Maharajji’s lineage is one of deep love and engaged spirituality, a way to be active in our roles in life, without disconnecting from we really are. We don’t need to “add” anything, only to soften the grip of the enculturated identities we all hold, to patiently wipe away the dust that distorts our full picture.
In Open Door dharma gatherings, our tapestry of spiritual practice includes Buddhist wisdom, Hindu devotional practices, chanting and meditation, and shared orientation toward being of service to others. It’s a rich mix of the world’s enduring spiritual traditions.
All backgrounds, experience, and curiosity are welcome. Sweet voices chant right alongside creaky pipes, and longtime practitioners and devotees join friends who are newer to spiritual exploration.
Together we’re learning how the rich Western dharma growing from ancient Eastern roots can flourish to balance the world in this unstable crisis time, while it brightens and enriches our lives, here and now.
In the late 1960s, a one-time professor at Harvard named Dr. Richard Alpert was among the first Westerners who somehow found themselves sitting at Maharajji’s feet in the Kumaon foothills of northern India. From their first encounter, his life was forever changed – the rest is history, as they say. An ever-evolving trove of Ram Dass’s life’s work can be found in traditional and electronic forms at ramdass.org. His books are also available online and in bookstores and libraries everywhere.
In India, the acclaimed and somewhat notorious professor was given the Hindu name Ram Dass, meaning servant of God. In 1969, he carried Maharajji’s teachings back to the US, where countless students and scholars, housewives and hippies, activists and artists from all backgrounds were ripe to listen. The counterculture 60’s generation was deeply influenced by Ram Dass’s workshops, retreats, lectures, interviews, and books, where his intellectual clarity blended with humor, devotion, and compassion, honoring his guru by his commitment, or surrender, to love and being of service in the world.
Spiraling forward from that time, what Ram Dass shared continues to echo and open hearts around the globe. He continued deepening his spiritual immersion in Maharajji’s love and wisdom throughout his life, and visited India many times over the next three decades, even after enduring a massive, near-fatal stroke in 1996. Ram Dass continued writing, teaching, and serving until his death on December 22, 2019.