Affiliate of the
Silent Thunder Order

STOmokuraiLogo transp 100


Zen Buddhist Mediation Center
Everyone welcome

Upcoming Events:

February Zazenkai

Feb 13-14, 2015

"Why Study...

Why Not Just Meditate?"

Seminar at

Three Streams Retreat Center
361 Albone Branch Rd
Hayesville, North Carolina

In Zen tradition, Dharma or Ancestor Study is often given a secondary role, with the primary emphasis on your direct experience on the meditation cushion. We will survey selected excerpts from Zen teachings of the countries of origin — Japan, India and China:

Dhyanayana — Finding your way amongst the Ways — Matsuoka Roshi
Bendowa — Discourse on the practice of the Way — Master Dogen
Sandokai — Harmony of sameness and difference — Sekito Kisen
Metta Sutta — Loving kindness — Shakyamuni Buddha

With study and discussion periods interspersed by brief meditation sessions, you will begin to understand why Master Dogen referred to dharma study and meditation as being "like two stones rubbed together until there is no gap between them."

Taiun Michael Elliston Roshi
Tesshin James Smith
Fees are $50 ($45 for supporting members) per day and $15 for overnight accommodations if required.
Register on line for address and driving directions!

Food: Vegetarian meals will be provided.

Car Pooling: We will contact you (Be sure to register!) a few days before the retreat to organize car pooling for the attendees.

Zen Retreat NC Mountain

Winter 2015 90-Day

1 - March 31, 2015

"Ango" is a Japanese term for a three-month period of intense training
(meditation/ zazen, study and work)
for students of Zen Buddhism

We hope you will join us for zazen

Sunrise Meditation @ 6:00 & 6:45 am (Every Day!)
Noon Meditation @ 11:00 & 11:45 (Mon - Fri)
Afternoon Meditation @ 4:00 & 5:00 (Mon - Fri)
Sunday Morning @ 9:00 Includes Dokusan with Abbot
and Dharma Discussion

 Mon, Tues, Wed, and Thurs evenings at 7:30 pm 
Zazen, Dharma Study, and Discussion.

From the Mouth of Matsuoka Roshi

Matsuoka Roshi"Be careful of that one little thing that you allow yourself... that is what will get you."

This particular quote from Matsuoka Roshi, which I heard him say only once, came to mind when a student (who shall remain anonymous) sent an email (this term will soon date this writing) with the heading "Gloriously drunk," in which he made clear, directly and via typos, that he had been out drinking whiskey to the point that he had overdone it. He was clearly a happy drunk — a giddy tone and lack of anger came shining through. I thanked him and told him I was honored that he thought of me in his inebriated condition. I went on, as is my wont, to mention that Master Dogen said, "When we take the tonsure (shave the head) we are already intoxicated." And so that drugs and alcohol are what in Zen is called a "head upon a head" — substance intoxication on top of sensory intoxication. But the next morning I got the hangover memo. Like most things in life, we observe the Precepts in retrospect, when we have broken them. The hangover is merely the immediate consequence, Karmic though it may seem in its magnitude at the time.

I speak from experience here. My father was afraid to let himself drink, as he thought he would become an alcoholic, and as the leader of a jazz band playing night clubs, he saw a lot of the downside of inebriation. He told me that we are part Choctaw — somewhere there is a photo of a great-great-great matriarch of the family, and she is definitely Native American — and a couple of his father's generation had become serious alcoholics. I have learned to avoid the firewater myself, as I have learned from hard and embarrassing experience.

Read more: From the Mouth of Matsuoka Roshi

 • Newcomers  — Instruction/Orientation/Workshop Wed 7:30 pm
 • Atlanta Region  — Dialog with interfaith groups, schools, public
 • Training Center  — Formal training of Priests and Disciples of STO

 • Buddha Practice  — Daily sitting meditation sessions (zazen)
 • Dharma Study  — Regular dialogs & discussion forums
 • Sangha Service  — Weekly sutra services & social events

 • Zazenkai  — Monthly Friday—Saturday retreat
 • Sesshin  — Annual; Precepts; Buddha’s Elightenment Day
 • Hossen  — 5th Sunday Dharma Combat (4/year)
 • Ango  — 30- & 90-day practice period (student residency)

 • 4th Friday Forum  — Sangha dinner & discussion; guest speakers
 • Guest Teachers  — Visiting Zen teachers, authors & educators
 • Holidays  — Buddhist Holidays; Founder’s Day; New Year
 • Practice Path  — Initiation (Jukai); Discipleship (Zaike Tokudo)

The Atlanta Soto Zen Center, founded in 1977, is one of the larger non-residential Zen centers in the country, offering a full schedule of morning and evening zazen, zen meditation and protocol instructions for beginners, monthly all-day sittings (zazenkai) and occasional week-long retreats (sesshin). Please come join us in our beautiful location on Zonolite Place and look for opportunities to begin or deepen your Zen practice.
We also have a network of affiliated centers and sitting groups throughout the country and Atlanta suburbs. For locations, please see the Silent Thunder Orderaffiliates page.

Information for Visitors:
Services at the Atlanta Soto Zen Center primarily involve silent zen meditation (zazen). We welcome experienced visitors to attend any of our services. Please arrive 5-10 minutes before the start of the service and introduce yourself to the attendant. Our programs begin promptly at the time specified and we ask that visitors not interrupt services in progress.
We offer the following options for newcomers to zen at the center:
  • Newcomers zen meditation instruction each Wednesday at 7:30pm 
  • Occasional "Zen Buddhist Basics" classes.
Appropriate attire is modest comfortable clothing. We remove shoes inside the center. Please do not wear fragrances.
If you have a large group or would like special accommodations (either on-site at the ASZC or a presentation off-site), please contact us in advance (click here for email). 

Financial Information: 

Atlanta Soto Zen Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, funded solely through donations.

Please Click here to make an on-line donation through PayPal.

Mailing List:

 We are pleased to announce the publication of the first and second volumes of teaching archives of our lineage founder, Rev. Soyu Matsuoka-roshi (click here to purchase).
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Silence/Thunder calligraphy by Rev. Dr. Soyu Matsuoka-roshi