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.
The zendo is a 16x28 foot building that was constructed using traditional Japanese joinery. The zendo is set in a Japanese garden in the back of Kuya's home. It has a zendo on the top floor and a basement with a residence: two bedrooms, a bathroom and a small kitchen. The residence is currently being rented out as a Chinese medicine and acupuncture clinic.
Sakura-ji's mission is to offer Zen instruction and practice along with courses that enhance the health and well-being of residents of the Creston Valley. To this end we have a variety of programs. Kuya is close to completing certification as an instructor in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction with the University of Massachusetts Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine, and offers private and group courses in mindfulness practices. She has also received transmission from Natalie Goldberg as a Zen Writing Practice teacher and offers writing practice classes and workshops. Two yoga classes operate out of the zendo: a rehab yoga class and the more vigourous Hot Yoga classes. Because of these offerings and services, there is a steady stream of visitors to the temple building and grounds. Every single Soto Zen student has expressed enthusiasm about the new Temple name and about becoming an affiliate of the Silent Thunder Order. For detailed information about Sakura-ji, see www.zenwords.net.