Affiliate of the
Silent Thunder Order

STOmokuraiLogo transp 100


STO News

This is a feed of News articles posted on
  1. Matsuoka Video Fund Raising
    Matsuoka Roshi Documentary

    You Could Make It Happen!

    Our new IndieGoGo fund raising page
    has launched for the documentary on Matsuoka Roshi.
    Please spread the word far and wide!

    Hi Everyone!

    The Soto Zen Silent Thunder Order (STO) is announcing a IndieGoGo fund raising effort to produce a documentary on the life of our founder Soyu Matsuoka Roshi. The Documentary will be filmed this fall during our Pilgrimage to Japan.
    The link is here:

    Members and friends, please make a donation and Practice Leaders, please copy and paste the link to all posts and emails. Let's get this thing funded. Feel free to contact me with any questions.


    Chase Breedlove
    STO Enso Logo
    Why do STO Members Come to Atlanta in July?

    For many returning to the Atlanta Soto Zen Center is like a home-coming.
    Even if you have never been you will find your lineage's heart spirit here.

    We invite you to join us for our Fifth Annual Sesshin and Silent Thunder Order Conference, July 8 through 12, 2015
    There will be time for traditional Zen training and activities including walks in an urban forest-Green Dragon Trail just outside our doors at ASZC.
    And importantly, you will get to know your Dharma brothers and sisters from many of STO's fifteen affiliate Sanghas around the US and Canada.

    In Sangha we teach each other the Dharma and this is a wonderful time and place to do so.

    We look forward to seeing you in July.
    Please register early. Click HERE to register now.

    mokurai calligraphy

    Taiun Michael Elliston-roshi
    Abbot, Silent Thunder Order and Atlanta Soto Zen Center
    Zenku Jerry Smyers
    Chair, STO Board of Directors
  3. Founders Pilgrimage to Japan
    Matsuoka RoshiImportant News!

    We are planning a STO Founders Pilgrimage to Japan for the month of October, 2015. Our primary purpose is to honor our lineage Founder Soyu Matsuoka Roshi, trace his history and visit important sites such as Sojiji, Komazawa University in Tokyo, and his home Temple near Hiroshima. We will also visit several Temples important to our Japanese Soto Zen Founder, Dogen Zenji. This trip will serve to deepen and broaden our understanding of our rich Zen history and Zen practice in Japan, and Japanese culture. We plan to stay at temples and monasteries, where possible, and participate in retreat schedules there. We are making arrangements to stay at the Soto Zen Headquarters at Eiheiji, for sesshin, at the conclusion of our trip. We will document our travels and share our experience with our STO Sangha and all interested. If anyone is interesting in more information about the trip or in joining the trip contact Zenku (below).

    I share this news with everyone so we can all participate and draw inspiration from the experience. For those who would like to support our efforts on this important trip we are starting a fund raising effort. We are looking to raise $10,000 by October to help cover Taiun Roshi's travel expenses and aid our efforts to create a trip documentary upon our return. All donations are welcome. For everyone making a donation of $100 or more we will bring back a special gift to express our deep appreciation.

    These special donations can be made online by directing the contribution to STO and indicating in the transaction comment message, "For 2015 STO Founders Pilgrimage to Japan". If you would like to give via check please make it out to STO and add the comment above on the check comment line and send it to Zenku Jerry Smyers, 25364 Old US Highway 93, Dayton MT 59914.

    If you have any questions please contact me via email or phone at or 847-721-0665.

    Thank you in advance for your help in making this Founders Pilgrimage possible.
  4. Welcome Sakura-ji, New STO Affiliate
    Zendo and garden.front viewSakura-ji, (Formerly Creston Zendo) is located in Creston, British Columbia, 13 km north of the BC/Montana border. Creston is a town of 5,000 people, and its major economic activity is agriculture. Cherries are the primary crop in Creston, which is why we have chosen the name Sakura-ji, Cherry Blossom Temple, for our centre.

    Our practice leader is Kuya Minogue. On May 17, 2014, Kuya became an STO Disciple, during the Zaike Tokudo Ceremony officiated by Zenku Jerry Smyers at the Mission Mountain Zen Center in Dayton, Montana. Kuya began her training in Soto Zen Buddhism taking the precepts at Shasta Abbey in 1986 and as a formal student of Kyogen Carlson at the Dharma Rain Center in Portland.


  5. 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!