Affiliate of the
Silent Thunder Order

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STO News

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  1. 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}

  2. 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;


  3. 2014 STO Annual conference retreat

    4th Annual Silent Thunder Order Conference, Annual General Meeting, and Precepts Retreat

    Wednesday, July 09, 2014 6:30 PM -
    Sunday, July 13, 2014 1:00 PM (Eastern Time)

    Atlanta Soto Zen Center
    1167 Zonolite Place
    Atlanta, Georgia 30306
    United States
    Map and Directions

    Register Now
    Contact Information
    Registrar: Tom Pongratz

    The retreat will include a wonderful opportunity to practice together, take part in the STO Conference and 501 (c) (3) Annual General Meeting on Saturday, July 12th and wrap up on Sunday, July 13th with Jukai & Zaike Tokudo Ceremonies.

    All are encouraged to attend as much of the retreat as their personal schedule allows.

    The conference will include morning workshops for the sharing of ideas and best practices between affiliates as well as introducing the activities presently taking place within the Board and its Committees to help all feel comfortable in participating and contributing their talents. Election of 2014-2015 STO Board of Directors by active members will take place during the afternoon Annual General Meeting portion of the Conference.

    This Annual Conference is a great opportunity for old and new practitioners from across North America to practice, learn, and plan together.

    This retreat is open to all and designed for those wishing to formalize their Zen practice and look deeply into the Buddhist Precepts. The retreat will follow the Dharma Retreat Schedule from Wednesday - Friday. Senior Disciples and Practice Leaders will be team teaching with Taiun Roshi on the topic of the Precepts.

    Those wishing to assist in planning, taking on working roles during the retreat, and take part in this team teaching opportunity, (as well as Practice Leaders who have members who are planning on taking the Precepts), please e mail to be added to the schedule and/or have preparations made for your members' Jukai ceremony.

    In the following some helpful information about our retreat:
  4. Shukke Tokudo for Mitsugo-ni Liz Lawlor
    Mitsuo-ni A Shukke Tokudo, Novice Priest Ordination Ceremony, was held for Mitsugo-ni Liz Lawlor in the Silent Thunder Order on April 19th at the Southwind Sangha in Wichita. A bow of gratitude to all sangha and family members who attended.

    Please visit the STO website ( or facebook page to learn more about the Soto Zen Tradition. If you are in Atlanta, stop by the Atlanta Soto Zen Center. Visit the High Plains Zen facebook page to learn more about meditation opportunities on the high plains.
  5. Newcomer Events at ASZC

    At the Atlanta Soto Zen Center
    Elliston Roshi will offer a class Monday evenings in May:

    Practice on the Cushion and in Daily Life

    May 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th - 7:00 - 9:00 pm
    Preregistration Fee for 4 classes: $60; $20 each class
    All materials will be provided.

    Saturday May 31 - 9:00-NOON
    Pre-registration Fee for Retreat: $25; $30 at the door