Please have patience while we update and expand aspects of our website. Thank you.


Welcome to the homepage of Karuṇā Tendai Dharma Center / Jiunzan Tendaiji and the Tendai Buddhist Institute, (est. 1997). Karuṇā Tendai Dharma Center is a branch temple of Enryakuji, Mt. Hiei, Japan (the administrative center of the Tendai School and the birthplace of Japanese Buddhism), and an official North American representative of the Tendai School of Japanese Buddhism. We are also the first fully authorized Tendai Buddhist training center for the education of priests and the establishment new Tendai Buddhist Temples and Dharma Centers in North America and beyond.

As Compassion (karuṇā) is a central virtue of the Mahayana Buddhist path, the name for our village temple in East Chatham, NY is “Karuṇā Tendai Dharma Center.” As an branch temple of the Tendai Buddhist lineage, we also have an official Japanese name, registered with Enryakuji Temple on Mt. Hiei, which was given to us by Rev. Shōshin Ichishima: “Jiunzan Tendaiji.” This name means “Compassionate Cloud Tendai Temple,” and reflects the natural surroundings of the Berkshires. The name Tendai Buddhist Institute refers to the educational wing of our organization, which oversees the training and education of priests and the establishment of new Sanghas.

Find here a copy of the Daily Service.


Weekly Meditation

Buddhist meditation services are held on Wednesday evenings, and are free and open to the public. You do not have to be a “Buddhist” to join our service. All are welcome. There is no fee and reservations are not required.

06:00PM, we gather in the main house for a Dharma talk and discussion.
       Schedule of topics may be found in our newsletter, The Shingi: Newsletter of the Tendai Buddhist Institute.
07:00PM, meditation service in the Hondo (Main Hall).
08:00PM, potluck dinner in the main house.

Other Regularly Scheduled Events

Sutra Study classes are held on the first Saturday of every month.

Dharma School and Family Service is held once a month.

Special services such as weddings, memorial services, baby blessing ceremonies, refuge taking ceremony, retreats, and annual events and holidays are held throughout the year.

Please contact us if you would like more information.

September Wednesday Meditations and Discussions
5                Bishamon-ten  There are three images on the Shumidan (front altar on which the flowers and images sit) in our hondo. The main image, or Honzon, is Yakushi Nyorai – The Medicine Buddha. The image to the left of the Honzon is Bishamon-ten. We will discuss the symbolism of Bishamon-ten and why it is in the front of the hondo..

12               Gender in Buddhism –  Using the works of Bernard Faure we will investigate the ways in which gender has been treated by and transformed Buddhism. That would be an incomplete reckoning if we did not go further and explore how Buddhism in the post-modern era is responding to the forces of gender equality.


19             Fall O-Higan – What is meant by Prajñā(wisdom) in the Sixth Paramita?  –  The sixth paramita is filled with meanings. We will examine the way the word was originally used, how it is most often used now, and how do we put it into play on our daily lives.

26               Guest Lecturer – Roger Whitmer   – – Discussing the book Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright.  A review by Peter Singer – “What happens when someone steeped in evolutionary psychology takes a cool look at Buddhism?  If that person is, like Robert Wright, a gifted writer, the answer is this surprising, enjoyable, challenging, and potentially life-changing book.”

Other Events in September:

8                     Sutra Class and Morning Service, 8:30 – 10:30 AM – The Maha Prajna Paramita Hridaya Sutra (Heart Sutra) is  the most often chanted, cited and best known sutra in the Mahayana canon. We will read and discuss two different translations and commentaries (Mu Soeng’s and Red Pine’s) as a set throughout the classes We will be finishing this sutra soon. Join us for the finale, this month or next..
21-23                 O-Higan Kokoro Retreat: 7:30 PM Friday the 21st through 1 PM Sunday the 23rd  In Japanese, there are three words for “heart”: shinzou, which refers to the anatomical organ, ha-to, which is the Romanized word for a love heart, and Kokoro (心), for which there is no equivalent term in English. The closest approximation for the term I have seen is ‘heart=mind=spirit’ – the three qualities in one entity. In Sanskrit this is hṛdaya, as in heart from the Heart Sutra. We will investigate this Buddhist concept as an underpinning of much of Buddhist philosophy and practice. Please make reservations no later than September 14th
23                     11:00 AM – 12:00 PM – SegakiCeremony (feeding the hungry ghosts) will be included at the end of the retreat. The segaki began as a way for Maudgalyayna, on instruction of his master, Sakyamuni Buddha, to free his mother from the realm of the gaki or hungry ghosts. Our ceremony lasts about 30 minutes and is performed in memory of our loved ones who are deceased. Everyone is welcome to attend. Bring a food item that your loved one enjoyed to put on the Segaki-dan as a part of the ceremony. A pot-luck lunch will follow the ceremony.            
Food Pantry at Jiunzan Tendai-ji – Gratitude is best shown by extending to others the thoughtfulness we have received. Please bring non-perishable food items to the Tendai Buddhist Institute on Wednesday’s.  We contribute these items to the Chatham Silent Food Pantry. 

Website Guide

For more information about our temple, lineage, and recommended reading list, please see our About Us page.

For more information about Shakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, and the other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the Mahayana Buddhist Tradition, see our Buddha Page.

For more information about the teachings and practices of Buddhism, see our Dharma Page.

For more information on temple life, and to see if there is a temple near you, see our Sangha Page.

To learn more about the priests and trainees affiliated with the Tendai Buddhist Institute, please see our Tendai Buddhist Institute Page.