The Palolo Zen Center is located on 13 acres in the lush valley of Palolo on the island of Oahu (Google Maps).
The Palolo Zen Center was designed and built by Donald Stoddard, with the help of many sangha members and friends in the 1980s. We began holding sesshin at the Palolo Zen Center in 1989. The building consists of three sections that are connected by covered walkways. The teacher’s wing includes a small three-bedroom apartment for our teachers’ use, a small library, and the office. The library consists of several hundred books, most of which were collected by Robert Aitken throughout his life and are now housed in the temple library. The books include those on Zen, general Buddhist texts, and books on related subjects. Eventually, the books will be available for sangha use. Currently they are being catalogued, and are not available for check out or use. The office houses our Administrator and Temple Keeper. The Administrator has regular office hours so sangha members, friends and visitors can drop by to get information or conduct business.
The main zendo seats 37 on the teak floor, and is mostly screened to allow the wind and the calls of the local birds to be intimately present.
In addition to the main zendo, there is an adjoining small 8 seat zendo that also houses a columbarium where ashes of departed sangha members and friends are interred.
Outside the zendo is a covered area for ceremonial instruments such as the densho (big bell), drum, and han (wooden block). Covered decks surround the entire temple.
In addition, the hojo, where dokusan (meeting individually with the teacher) takes place, is strategically placed near the zendo.
The residential wing includes bedrooms for up to six residents including the Temple Keeper, several larger rooms for sesshin sleeping, a common area for reading and relaxing, the kitchen and the dining hall. Furnishings are simple.
We also have a large deck area where together we have tea, meals and enjoy other events. The kitchen tends to be a gathering place for residents and other sangha members, and serves an essential purpose during sesshin and other events where we prepare meals for large groups. It is a vegetarian kitchen, and meals prepared are simple and healthy.
We grow our own bananas, which are shared with sangha members, as well as other delicious fruits, vegetables and herbs in the zendo garden.