Affiliate of the
Silent Thunder Order

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Buddhism originated in India more than 2,500 years ago. A prince named Siddhartha Gautama had tried many spiritual paths without satisfaction, until one day, while sitting in meditation, he came to a profound realization of the nature of existence. He was thereafter known as the Buddha, the "Awakened One". 

Buddhism spread from India to China, then to Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia. Early in our century, Japanese masters began to bring its teachings to Europe and the United States.

Soto Zen is one of the major sects of Zen Buddhism. The Soto Zen tradition emphasizes the practice of zazen, or sitting meditation, and individual effort. By learning to put our entire being into our practice, we are able to realize our original nature and to carry that experience into daily life.


matsuoka photoelliston photoThe Atlanta Soto Zen Center (ASZC) was founded in the early 1970's with the leadership of Abbot Zenkai Taiun Michael Elliston (picture at right), who was a disciple of Rev. Dr. Soyu Matsuoka-Roshi (picture at left) in Chicago during the 1960's. Elliston-sensei remains the Zen Center's spiritual leader. 

ASZC supports its members by providing a Sangha, or group to sit with. Zazen, or sitting meditation, is available mornings and evenings every day of the week. Experienced teachers are available to respond to any questions that arise.

ASZC hosts daily and weekly discussion groups and has an extensive lending library. The Center also conducts a prison outreach program and offers meditation instruction to prisoners throughout the state of Georgia.

ASZC has affiliated groups in Athens, Georgia; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia; Huntsville, Alabama; Statesboro, Georgia and Wichita, Kansas.

Our Sangha

The ASZC Sangha (community of members) comprises lay practitioners from throughout the greater Atlanta area and our affiliate centers. We welcome new members to our practice. Our members are as varied as our lives (pictures from various events below).