Affiliate of the
Silent Thunder Order

STOmokuraiLogo transp 100



Zen Buddhist Mediation Center
Everyone welcome

Upcoming Events:

Seminar on the book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by. R. M. Pirsig

Monday, April 27 7:30 - 9:00 PM at Atlanta Soto Zen Center

We will start our Seminar Series about the bestseller book "Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert M. Pirsig.
We will be sitting in Zazen Meditation followed by guided discussions about the book above.

For our initial meeting it is not required that you have read the book. Handouts will be provided.

May 1 - 31st

Kickstarter Campaign

Matsuoka Biography Pic 1

STO is announcing a Kickstarter 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.

Our Kickstarter Fund Raising Page for the documentary has launched. Please go to the link below to get more information and help us make this a reality. Spread the word far and wide!  
The link is : 

May Sewing Retreat and Class

Sunday, May 03 1:00 - 5:00 PM at Atlanta Soto Zen Center

Sewing class with Eijun Carola Butler, ASZC sewing coordinator for Kaaren Wiken, Certified Zen Sewing Teacher.
To see a photo gallery from a previous sewing retreat and download a booklet from Kaaren's teacher on sewing vestments, visit this page

If you are currently sewing (Rakusu or Okesa), or if you have not been given permission to sew for yourself but would like to assist others, please plan to attend. ​

Teacher: Eijun Carola Butler

Please follow the link for more information and registration: MAY SEWING RETREAT


Saturday, May 09, 2015 at Atlanta Soto Zen Center

We will explore how the traditional view of addiction can be recast in accord with the Buddha's teaching.
Seeing addiction as the most obvious instance of second noble truth we will discuss Zen practice and it's usefulness in recovery from these addictions. 
Finally, we will turn the tables on the issue and consider not only what Zen teaches us about addiction, but what addiction teaches us about Zen practice.


- Shinnyo Kevin Schumaker

- Taiun Michael Elliston Roshi

Please follow the link for more information and registration: MAY ZAZENKAI I- THIRST: ZEN, ADDICTION, RECOVERY


May 15-16, 2015 at the Three Streams Retreat Center in Hayesville, NC

It is said that people were once enlightened by nature, or by their closeness to nature in their natural habitat. Matsuoka Roshi would often say that "civilization conquers us" because of the complexity of our daily lives.
While it is true that we should be able to maintain our practice of meditation even under less than desirable circumstances, and in less than ideal surroundings, it is also true that practicing in different locations is to be recommended.

Please join us for a 2-day retreat in the mountains just north of Georgia in May. Three Streams Retreat Center (Sansuiji) is located on 60 acres in a pastoral farm setting highly conducive to finding, or returning to, our true nature, in the warm embrace of Mother Nature awakening in the Spring.
We will feature the tradition of nature walks in the lush forest, along with recreational hiking and isolated sitting in meditation in the woods.  

Teacher: Taiun Michael Elliston Roshi

Please follow the link for more information and registration: MAY ZAZENKAI II- FINDING TRUE NATURE

We hope you will join us for zazen

Sunrise Meditation @ 6:30 & 7:00 am (Every Day!)
Sunday Morning @ 9:00 Includes Dokusan with Abbot
and Dharma Discussion

Mon, Tues, and Wed 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