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Silent Thunder Order

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STO News

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  1. Zen Sangha Letter
    We vow with all beings from this life on throughout countless lives to hear the true dharma. That upon hearing it no doubt will arise in us nor will we lack in faith. That upon meeting it we shall renounce worldly affairs and maintain the buddhadharma. And that in doing so the great Earth with all beings will attain the buddha way.
    — Dogen's Vow; Eihei Dogen Zenji

    Dear good friends and members of Atlanta Soto Zen Center
    , greetings from the ASZC and the Silent Thunder Order. We bring you our year's-end message of hope and appreciation, encourage you to continue practicing Zen meditation sessions, and invite you to continue supporting Atlanta Soto Zen Center in the new year. We come to you with a worldly affair, one with which Master Dogen was intimately familiar, that of maintaining the buddhadharma, as we recite in the Dharma opening verse:

    The unsurpassed profound and wondrous dharma is rarely met with
    Even in a hundred thousand million kalpas
    Now we can see and hear it accept and maintain it
    May we unfold the meaning of the Tathagata's truth

    This time of year, most members and friends of Atlanta Soto Zen Center make their year-end donation and offer a sustaining pledge for next year. Won't you join them?

    Make a Year-end Donation for 2014
    (Button below — Donors will receive an acknowledging letter)

    Join or Renew Your Membership for 2015
    Choose a Level:

    Pebbles  $10/month or $120/year
    Tiles       $20/month or $240/year
    Walls      $30/month or $360/year
    Trees      $50/month or $600/year
    Grass     $100/month or $1,200/year
    Earth      $125/month or $1,500/year

    Thus you will raise up buddha-activity at innumerable practice places of buddha-tathagatas everywhere, cause everyone to have the opportunity of ongoing buddhahood, and vigorously uplift the ongoing buddhdharma. Because earth, grass, trees, walls, tiles and pebbles all engage in buddha activity, those who receive the benefits of wind and water caused by them are mysteriously helped by the Buddha's guidance, splendid and unthinkable, and awaken intimately to themselves.
    — Self-fulfilling Samadhi; Eihei Dogen Zenji

    And thank you again, from your Sangha at ASZC!


  2. WINTER ANGO 2015
    This year's Winter Ango (90 day retreat) at ASZC will take place from January 1 through March 31, 2015. Everyone is invited to take part in the increased opportunities for practice and study. Rev. Tesshin James Smith, from the Atlantic Soto Zen Center, Halifax, Nova Scotia, will be in residence throughout the 90 day Ango.

    There will be an enhanced practice schedule including:
    • Weekday Morning, Midday & Afternoon Zazen
    • Monday Evening Zazen & Selected Readings with Gatsu Jabez Maurer
    • Tuesday Evening Cloud Dharma Skype with Elliston Roshi
    • Wednesday Evening Newcomers Workshop with Disciples in Rotation
    • Thursday Evenings: An 11-week Workshop: "Observing the Precepts, Deepening Samadhi"
    • Sunday Evenings: Group Sutra Study (Surangama)

    For those who like getting a little sawdust on themselves, Saturday afternoon zendo kitchen renovations.

    Additionally, on the last week of each month there will be an open mic musical entertainment evening. Come bring your instruments and voices to sing along with others. It will be held on either a Friday or Saturday evening. You can let us know which evening you prefer by emailing:

    All are encouraged to meet with Tesshin for practice discussion by appointment, at ASZC or for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or coffee as time allows.

    Tesshin will undergo Shuso (head student) and Shiho (Transmission) ceremonies while in residence. You will be invited to participate in the public parts of those ceremonies, which will be announced in advance and take place on appropriate Sunday mornings. This is the "PhD of Zen" as Matsuoka Roshi called it, so Jim is to be congratulated.
  3. Rohatsu 2014 Schedule

    Formal Rohtatsu sesshin celebrating Buddha's enlightenment will beginTuesday evening with arrival for out-of-town guests and run through Sunday noon, the 7th of December this year.

    Today and tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday, informal morning zazen will be held from 6:00 to 7:30 followed by service and a break for breakfast followed by three 50 minute sessions from 9:00 to noon. Evening zazen will resume from 7:30 til 9:00 as usual.


    6:00 - 7:30 - 3 Zazen/Kinin @ 25 min
    7:30 - Service
    8:00 - 9:00 - Breakfast
    9:00 - Noon - 3 Zazen/Kinhin @ 50 min
    Noon - Lunch
    2:00 - 3:30 2 Zazen/Kinhin @ 40 min
    3:30 - Dharma Dialog
    4:30 - 6:00 - 2 Zazen/Kinhin @ 40 min
    6:00 - Supper
    7:30 - 9:00 - 3 Zazen/Kinhin @ 25 min
    9:30 - Lights Out

    6:00 AM-9:00 PM same as Wed-Fri
    9:00 - Noodles Supper
    9:30 - Midnight
    Midnght - 3:00
    3:00 - 6:00
    6:00 - Closing Service
    6:00 - 9:00 Nap

    9:00 - Hanya Shingyo Chant
    9:00 - 10:30 - 3 Zazen/Kinhin @ 25 min
    10:30 - Heart Sutra Service
    11:00 - Dharma Dialog
    Noon - Invitational Lunch

  4. Shukke Tokudo for Dan Joslyn

    Please welcome a new black-robe priest into the Silent Thunder Order. Unshin Sangaku Dan Joslyn, practice leader of the Falmouth Soto Zen Sangha in Falmouth, MA, received Shukke Tokudo (novice priest ordination) on Sunday, July 20 at the Atlanta Soto Zen Center.

    Zen Master Baoji said "Virtuous practitioners of Zen, studying the way in our school is like the earth holding mountains without knowing how steep they are, or a stone containing a jewel without knowing how flawless it is.  One who practices like this is called a home leaver."{jcomments on}

  5. Jukai 2014

    Please welcome the following six new members of the Silent Thunder Order / Atlanta Soto Zen Center Sangha; they undertook Jukai Initiation after the annual Precepts Retreat on Sunday, July 13th.  Below listed are the initiates' name, zen name, and meaning:



    Kevin Steven Shumaker Shinnyo "Ultimate Reality"
    Ran J Edwards Ryusan "Dragon Mountain"
    Thomas Pomgrantz Daishin "Magnanimous Mind"
    Joshua Dylan Worden Doshin "Aspiring Mind"
    Jaime P Villareal Roshin "Nurturing Mind"
    Sara Nicole Stavile Kishin-ni "Joyful Mind"

    Initiation (Jap. Jukai), is open to anyone who is sincerely interested in practicing Zen. This is a personal choice, not a formal stage of training, but is considered a prerequisite for undertaking further steps along the formalized Practice Path.

    More pictures from the ceremony are available here;