Silent Thunder Order July Newsletter
garden party
Garden Party by Rev. Tesshin James Smith

We Want You!

6th Annual Silent Thunder Order Conference July16, 2016.
This is your opportunity to support Soto Zen practice.
If you can't attend in Atlanta in person, no worries! Participate via Skype!
To be linked in, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
STO Conference schedule.
If your schedule allows, please consider attending the retreat and conference.
Retreat registration details.

Public Dharma Talks @ASZC
The Five Grave Precepts is the topic for the Precepts Retreat.  Afternoon talks beginning @ 3:30 pm Thursday and Friday. Evening talks beginning at 7:00 pm Wednesday through Saturday. Attend the Sunday service for a panel discuss on the Fifth Grave Precept "Proceed Clearly - Do not cloud the mind with intoxicants".  Click here for more information.

Dharma Byte
by Taiun Michael Elliston-roshi

As Father's Day approaches, we anticipate our annual Precepts Retreat and the sixth annual conference of the Silent Thunder Order (STO) July 16th, 2016. Beginning with Wednesday the 13th arrival and orientation, you are invited to attend the retreat, for any part or all of it (our way of celebrating the one and the many). This time of year we remember our fathers, probably because Mother's Day was invented first, and then someone said, Oh yeah, maybe we should have one for fathers, too.

I have been fortunate to have what I would call strong relationships with both my biological father, and that person whom we in Zen often refer to as our "dharma father," our root teacher. Of course, we have many teachers in Zen, just as we have many mentors in our lives, some of whom function as father figures to us, in various ways.

Then, as our lives move on, we find ourselves in similar relationships to younger people, including our own children. Buddha is said to have come to regard all people as his children, and not in some condescending manner.

The problem with being a father is that it usually begins at too young an age for us to have the wisdom that we gain in hindsight. And with young children, some of the damage done by failed relationships is not recoverable, much like data files on a crashed hard drive. We cannot necessarily fix everything that has been broken, and time does not heal all wounds. Relationships, especially biological ones, are exceedingly complex. Frankly, I have not had the kind of relationships I would prefer, to my own biological children, a son and daughter from my first marriage. But they are better now than they once were, and improving.

Read More......

STO Featured Affiliate

Located in Creston, British Columbia, Sakuraji is a lay practice Soto Zen temple that offers a weekly practice schedule and includes daily morning meditation, service and dharma talk, evening meditation and classes and six week-long retreats each year. These retreats usually coincide with the six earth-based spirituality holidays.  

The retreat schedule is built around two training terms: one that begins on Feb 2 (candlemas) and ends on June 21 (summer solstice) and another that begins on September 21 (fall equinox) and ends on December 21 (winter solstice.) After the winter solstice retreat a Festival of the Buddha’s Enlightenment and Winter Solstice Celebration are attended by up to 60 community members.

Retreats are held at the opening and closing of each training term and half way through them on Mar 21 (spring equinox) and in the last week of October. Each training term, students make vows of practice and study a sutra or a contemporary text under the guidance of practice leader, Kuya Minogue. Term students travel to the Mission Mountain Zen Centre in Montana to join Zenku’s sangha for the O’higan retreats at the equinoxes.

In addition to Zen practice and retreats, Sakuraji offers a weekly qigong class and two yoga classes. The centre is often rented to the community for workshops and acoustical musical presentations and has two residence rooms that are available for full time students and for out of town retreatants.

During the summer break (July and August) , Kuya stays at the Sakuraji hermitage and runs a weekly practice schedule there. The hermitage overlooks Kootenay Lake and can accommodate up to six retreatants. The August week-long retreat is held at the Sakuraji Hermitage.

sakuraji2Kuya comes into town twice a week to tend to Sakuraji's garden, which is a large part of samu practice during spring, summer and fall retreats.
sakuraji3Read More about Sakuraji and Kuya' bi-monthly column called, "Zen's Eye View" published in the local newspaper. 

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