COMP 103 Raven callsKoan 103: When Raven calls, the whole city calls. Are you ready to be defined?
(After R. Aitken) By Shogon François Ouellette

Upcoming Events!
2016 Annual Silent Thunder Order Conference and Precepts Retreat
Wednesday, July 13th to Sunday, July 17th
Plan to join us!  Click here for more information!

Residency Opening @ ASCZ for Immediate Occupancy
We have private resident rooms currently available, so you can join us in daily training in meditation. We'd love to have you come stay for awhile, if you are seriously interested in Zen practice. Residency is a great opportunity to develop consistency, and depth, in one's daily Zen practice. Think about it. Or, rather, sit on it. Contact Chishiki ("good friend") Bryan Price, Senior Resident & Community Practice Leader, ASZC [email protected] or 770-328-3225

Presented by Michael Elliston Roshi, MS Design, IIT
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Dept. of Design, U of I Chicago

An Introductory Survey of the Techniques of Drawing and Image-Making
Sunday Afternoons in June - June 5th, 12th, 19th, & 26th Noon - 3:00 pm
Daily Orientation - Brown Bag Lunch - Homework Assignments

$60 course fee, payable at registration. $20 per session at the door. All initial materials will be provided, with additional media list at the first session, June 5th. Limit 12 students.
Click here for more information.
Register at:

Cloud Dharma Skype Discussion Group
May 3rd and 10th concludes our discussion of Soto Zen: An Introduction to Zazen. May 17th begins our discussion of Opening the Hand of Thought by Kosho Uchiyama. Click here for more information!

Transmission of Truth — from the Trivial to the Transcendental
Please pardon my indulging in a discourse, some might say a rant, on the precision of language. Or, rather, the presumptions we make in regard to verbal concepts we use every day. And the potential light that closer examination may shed upon your Zen perspective.

It occurs to me that language itself holds clues to Buddhist truths, especially those usages that go largely unexamined, standing as cultural memes, customs, or precepts, so to speak. That we speak of such inherited notions as a "manner of speaking," as does Buddha, in explaining his teaching, betrays the fact that we intuitively regard attempts to reduce reality to words as inherently futile, if not entirely fatuous.

This intuition—not to dignify it as insight—has come to me often, most recently while "making the bed," specifically a single sized guest bed, originally our granddaughter's. The cover sheet is a flower print, matching the rest of the bedding set, one side being the "front," the other side being, well, the "back." When spreading it over the fitted sheet, ordinarily one would make sure that the front side (with the best rendering of the print) would face down, so that when one turns back the cover to welcome a guest, or oneself, into the warm embrace of the bed sheets, the "good" side would be revealed.

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STO Featured Affiliate
Iqaluit Soto Zen Group
IMG 1601
Photo above and below: Current zendo at Saimavik Studio (a yoga and wellness centre). Note the large gong cushion, which is made out of sealskin; its stand, made out of a pallet, which is essentially the only form of wood found on all of Baffin Island; and the mokugyo bell's cushion, around which are embroidered Inuktitut syllabics to read "Qaujimagiarit!" ("Watch out!").
COMP 97 Mind MatsuokaIMG 1610
Left: Current zendo at Saimavik Studio (ayoga and wellness centre) Right: Koan 97: MIND (After Matsuoka Roshi) Drawing from Shogon's 2nd Exhibit

IMG 1603The Iqaluit Soto Zen Group is located in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. I had started the group for a very simple reason: to continue deepening my practice and to maintain personal discipline around it, something I had resolved to do after Jukai initiation, then later Zaike Tokudo with the Halifax sangha of the Atlantic Soto Zen Centre. It is in this capacity as a disciple, since 2010, that I have been offering regular zazen meetings to the community. The format has varied over the years, but essentially we try to have a range of approaches that will answer the needs of our diverse practitioners. Many come never having tried group meditation, while others have attended long retreats; and among these, very few have more than a passing knowledge of Zen or Buddhism. Expectations and experiences may vary, so we keep a focus on the shared encouragement of group practice.
Each Sunday meeting, based around a monthly schedule, explores the teachings and practices of our tradition from various approaches. We always keep the newcomer as well as the experienced practitioner in mind. There is a beginner session, a longer meditation session, a Dharma service session and a study session based on the STO reading assignments schedule. A comprehensive monthly newsletter is sent out to keep our members informed of our schedule.

Additionally, starting this year, we have been offering a second weekly meeting time for zazen, a sort of more informal "drop-in" session. All activities are available in English and French, save for the service, which I am working on finding adequate French translations (down the road, it would be interesting to have these translated into Inuktitut as well). We have occasionally offered other activities outside of this schedule. Some years ago, we have held a full-day zazenkai for the New Year, something we hope to do again soon. More recently, we have offered a parent-child meditation session. We have also held a movie night, during which we watched the Korean film "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring," followed by a group discussion. In all, these many circumstances seem to fit the needs of the group well.

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Pictures from Mediation Hall, Haysville, NC during April's 5 Day Sesshin
Meditation Hall
Mediation Hall
ASZC Facilities Director  ResidentsRetreat Planning Resident Group
ASZC Residents and Sesshin Planners! Thanks for your efforts!
Abbot Elliston Tesshin  Daishin
Left to Right: Tesshin Jim Smith, Atlantic Soto Zen Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Daishin Thomas Pomgrantz (Congratulations Daishin on your Zaike Tokudo Ceremony!) Taiun Michael Elliston-roshi

Sesshin Participants
Sesshin Participants

Affiliates Listing
Atlanta Soto Zen Center, Atlanta, Georgia (founded 1977)
Atlantic Soto Zen Center,
Dalhousie Multifaith Centre, Halifax NS Canada
Buddhist Philosophies
NCSU Campus Group, Raleigh North Carolina
Falmouth Soto Zen Sangha, Falmouth, Massachusetts
High Plains Zen Ness City, Kansas
Iqaluit Soto Zen Group Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada
Jacksville Soto Zen Meditation Group, Jacksville, Florida
Memphis Zen Community Memphis, Tennessee
Mission Mountain Zen Group Dayton, Montana
Nashville Zen Center
Nashville, Tennessee
Ottawa Soto Zen Ottawa, Canada
Sakura-ji Creston, British Columbia Phone - 250-428-6500
Savannah Zen Center, Savannah, Georgia

Southwind Sangha Soto Zen Buddhist Assoication Wichita, Kansas
Treehouse Sangha Troy and Cohoes, New York
Wire Grass Soto Zen Group, Headland AL
Zen Group of Chattanooga Chattanooga, Tennessee