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.
Thank you in advance for your help in making this Founders Pilgrimage possible.
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.
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.