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Founders Pilgrimage to Japan
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 Jerry.Smyers@gmail.com or 847-721-0665.
Thank you in advance for your help in making this Founders Pilgrimage possible.
Welcome Sakura-ji, New STO Affiliate
Sakura-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.
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!
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.
SHUSO AND SHIHO CEREMONIES
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.
Rohatsu 2014 Schedule
JOIN US AT ASZC FOR ROHATSU 2014!
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.
DAILY SCHEDULE FROM WEDNESDAY - FRIDAY
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
SATURDAY ALL-NIGHT SIT
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
PLEASE ATTEND ANY PART OF THE SCHEDULE YOU CAN.