Ashland Zen Center began in 1993 when Harold Little and Patty Krahl moved to the Rogue Valley. They set up a few meditation cushions in their living room and soon a small group of people were joining them every week to learn how to sit zazen.
By the following year the group had grown in numbers and were invited to practice at a larger space, the Siskiyou Aikikai Dojo. Beginning to feel like a community, the nascent sangha adopted the name Siskiyou Sansui Sangha. The name of a mountain range in our region, Siskiyou, is an Indian word for moving mountains; sansui is Japanese for mountains and waters; and sangha means a Buddhist community.
This special temple name, eventually changed to Siskiyou Sansui Do (do means temple) now is second to our common name, Ashland Zen Center. Our name comes from the environment in which we live and
practice, and expresses simply what we are.
By the spring of 1999 the sangha’s commitment to offering Zen practice to the greater Rogue Valley led us to our first dedicated facility at 246 Fourth Street, and to our incorporation in the state of Oregon as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
At Fourth Street we were able to expand our practice opportunities, set up a founders’ altar, begin a library, and operate with a full kitchen and our own garden. We practiced at Fourth Street for six and a half years. True to the sangha’s intention, having a high-profile presence in the community allowed many people to get a taste of Zen practice.
During that time our sangha overflowed the small house we were leasing, leading us to consider the need for a permanent Zen Center in Ashland. As a group we decided that was what we wanted. We conducted a fund drive in order to purchase and create our own center, and in 2003 we bought 3/4 of an acre with two older houses on Tolman Creek Road.
In 2005 we completed a remodel and moved to 740 Tolman Creek Road.
(Keep reading below photos.)
Happy and Tired on Moving Day: Leaving Fourth Street
Tolman Creek Road: Temple-Opening Ceremony, Autumn 2005
In 2012, Patty and Harold transitioned into retirement from temple administration.
The day-to-day workings of the temple are carried forward by priests Ramana and Stacy Waymire, under the guidance of their teacher, Harold.
Harold and Patty still teach, and are available to students.
Visit the picnic table in Lithis Park dedicated to Harold and Patty, and enjoy the words on its plaque!
The sangha dedicated a park table to them this as part of their retirement gift.
The table can be found in Lithis Park, near the top of the stone staircase, between the Cottonwood memorial area and the Parks Department office, along Granite Street.