Dharma School

Approximately 125 students and 75 families participate in Dharma School (DS), which offers classes for various age groups on most Sundays throughout the school year. The school’s mission is to increase knowledge of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism and to provide an appreciation of the interdependency of all living things through greater awareness of the working of Amida Buddha’s infinite wisdom and compassion in students’ daily lives. Superintendents and a board of directors oversee Dharma School and its activities.

Dharma school classes:

  • infants and toddlers
  • pre-k & kindergarten
  • 1st & 2nd grades
  • 3rd, 4th, & 5th grades
  • middle school (6th, 7th, & 8th grades)
  • high school (9th, 10th, 11th, & 12th grades


Dharma School & Sunday Services

Typical Sunday Schedule During the School Year
10:00-10:30 a.m. Family service in the hondo (about once a month, there is a separate children’s service in Memorial Hall)
10:30-11:30 a.m. Dharma School classes
10:30-11:00 a.m. Adult English service (in the hondo)
11:00-11:30 a.m. Dharma School Parents’ Dharma Exchange (in Memorial Hall)
11:00-11:30 a.m. Sangha Dharma Exchange (in the dining room)
11:00-11:30 a.m. Japanese service/program (in the hondo)

Parents’ Meetings and Parents’ Dharma Exchange

Parents have the opportunity to meet while students are class. Once a month, at a parents’ meeting facilitated by a Dharma School Board member, parents learn about upcoming services and activities and exchange information. These meetings also give parents an opportunity to express concerns, ask questions, and to meet other parents while building a strong Sangha.

On other Sundays, parents meet for a dharma exchange or mini-workshop often focused on themes of particular interest to families.

Note: Parents meetings and parents’ dharma exchanges are typically not scheduled when there is a special service or guest minister.

Registration

Most registrations occur at Dharma School registration tables the first two Sundays of the new school year (mid-September). Completed registration forms may also be handed to your child’s teacher or mailed to the temple. Completing the form enrolls your child in a Dharma School class and includes him or her in the student directory.

Membership in the Temple

Although there is no registration fee for Dharma School, participating families are encouraged to join the temple as Ijikai members. For more information, see membership information.

Participation in the Sangha and Volunteering

In addition to attending parents’ meetings and dharma exchanges, parents are encouraged to participate in and provide volunteer support for temple events and functions such as luncheons in the gym and the summer Bon Odori festival. Volunteering is an excellent way to get to know temple members and strengthen our sangha.

An important volunteer role directly connected to Dharma School is service on the Dharma School board. Parents are nominated to the board and are elected to two-year terms.

For more information, please contact the Seattle Betsuin office at office@seattlebetsuin.com.

See Also: Dharma School History

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