Silent Thunder OrderNovember Newsletter

Winter begins in Montana, submitted by KuWasan Ann Glasmann

Founder's Month"Sitting Mountain Feeling*"
* A comment made to a student by Matsuoka-roshiwhen asked how one knows he is progressing in Zazen.

Each November we celebrate Founder's Month, honoring the birth, life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Zengaku Soyu Matsuoka-roshi.O'Sensei, as one of the first Japanese Zen teachers to come to North America always emphasized zazen practice and living a Zen life.His tireless effort to promote Zen practice is reflected in the thousands of individuals who have started and continued authentic Soto Zen Practice through the Zen Centers which he started and inspired. One center, the Atlanta Soto Zen Center (ASZC) founded by Zenkai Taiun Elliston–roshi, functions as the main training center of the Silent Thunder Order (STO) network of affiliate centers of the Matsuoka Lineage. ASZC will celebrate its 40th anniversary this coming July 12-16th (mark your calendar)!

Along with taking part in the Founders Month events taking place this month with your local affiliate Sangha, please give a specialONE TIME DONATIONand consider becoming a sustaining member through making MONTHLY CONTRIBUTIONSto support the work of the Order.


Silent Thunder Affiliate Centers
2016 retreat

Silent Thunder Order 2016 Annual Conference & Precepts Retreat Participants
Deep bows for your continued support of STO, and best wishes for Founder's Month.

Board of Directors
Silent Thunder Order

Special Founder's Month Announcement!
In honor of the Founder's Month and the 40th Anniversary of ASZC, an
anonymous donor from ASZC will match the first 6 donations from a new donor during the month of November, up to $40 each. (Example: donate $100, it will actually be $140; donate $25, it will be $50). Please consider making amonthlycontributionor aone timedonation.


SAVE THE DATE: July 15, 2017
It's our 40th! The Atlanta Soto Zen Center (ASZC) was founded with the leadership of Abbot Zenkai Taiun Michael Elliston, who was a disciple of Rev. Dr. Soyu Matsuoka-Roshi. Elliston-sensei remains the Zen Center's spiritual leader.

On 7/15/17, as part of the 2017 Annual Silent Thunder Order Conference & Precepts Retreats, we plan to host a major celebratory event. In addition to the spirit of Zen, our zendo will be filled with art and music. The pre-event raffle campaign will kick off in early 2017—the grand prize will be a priceless original artwork by Roshi Elliston, Bonus price will be a round-trip air ticket. Stay tuned for much much more.

Most importantly, we need your participation to make this a success. Even 2 hours a week can be a great help and great fun! For more information, please contact Yuesen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Study Opportunities

Rohatsu Sesshin
Atlanta Soto Zen Centre, December 4-11, 2016.

Click Here to Register.
Rohatsu is our yearly, most intensive"Buddha Style"7 day sesshin, celebrating and reenacting Buddha's week of zazen under the Bodhi Tree just prior to his profound awakening. This year's Rohatsu will begin on the evening of Sunday, Dec. 4th and continue until noon the following Sunday including zazen throughout the night on Saturday, Dec. 10th. All individuals are encouraged to take part in the entire retreat if possible or as much as their individual schedule will allow. Space is limited so please register early.

ASZC is on Mixlr! Download the app or connect on your computer to hear live streaming Dharma talks at ASZC. Those connecting on Mixlr can participate in the discussion by messaging. If you aren't able to listen to the live streaming talk, the recordings can be accessed. Click on the link below and search for Atlanta Soto Zen Center. (Mixlr link)

Cloud Dharma Tuesday Skype Discussion Group
Cloud Dharma study group is currently reading and discussing Just This Is It: Dongshan and the Practice of Suchness by Taigen Dan Leighton.
Click here to learn how to participate.

Residency Opportunity
STO offeres residency opportunities at Atlanta Soto Zen Center. Please contact Zammai Lawrell Studstill (cell 404-867-4408; email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for more information.

[email protected]!December 3, 2016.Click here for more information.

Dharma Byte
ZEN & SEX: The Endless Campaign
by Taiun Michael Elliston-roshi

An attention-grabbing headline, but that is not the reason I choose to take up the subject. With the presidential campaign that is grinding to an agonizing halt, like the slow death of a pet that you cannot bear to put down, it seems necessary to grapple with sexuality. It has been brought front and center, in our face.

I would never have imagined that sex — a very touchy subject, no pun intended — would have become an issue in a presidential campaign, especially driven by the oldest candidate in the thundering herd, the oldest in history, one who is a member of my generation, I am embarrassed to admit. And therefore, one would hope, would no longer be driven by raging hormones, to the point of having no judgment as to what kind of speech and behavior is really appropriate. Been there and done that myself, as I assume many of you have, as well.

But since it has reared its head — whether you consider it ugly or not seems beside the point — let's examine sex in the context of Zen. For those who have lived as long as I have, sex seems to occupy the center of another endless campaign — one of finding balance between the biological urge to reproduce, and the demands of society, including those imposed by our loved ones. It is not for no reason that the history of Zen has emphasized celibacy on the part of the monastics, but more for purposes of simplicity and harmony in the community, than for the sake of misguided morality, I think.

Read More....

2016 Soto Zen Buddhist Association Conference Report
Submitted by Zenku
Taiun Roshi and I went to the recent Soto Zen Buddhist Association Conference near Minneapolis Minnesota from 9/28 to 10/2. I want to share this with all STO Disciples and Priests to increase interest in SZBA and for your information. I highlighted in blue the areas that I thought we should pursue further within STO.

The conference was held at Camp Courage along side a charming lake north of Minneapolis MN. The theme of the conference was "Listening to the Cries of the World" I would guess that there were about 120 Zen Priests in attendance. Nearly and equal number of men and women. The conference consisted of 3 days of presentations and workshops looking at our conference theme from numerous perspectives. We had early morning zazen and morning service each of these 3 days. Spending time meeting with old friends and getting to know new ones was one of the key highlights of the conference.

Read More....

Affiliate News

Falmouth Soto Zen Sangha
On November 5, 2016, the Falmouth Soto Zen Sangha (FSZS) will celebrated its six year anniversary with the sixth person to take Jukai since November 2010.
There is a Zazenkai that day and a modified oryoki lunch. This is also the start of " STO Founder's Month," with events planned for each Tuesday night service in November.

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 ZenNess City, Kansas
Iqaluit Soto Zen GroupIqaluit, Nunavut, Canada
Jacksville Soto Zen Meditation Group,Jacksville, Florida
Memphis Zen CommunityMemphis, Tennessee
Mission Mountain Zen GroupDayton, Montana
Nashville Zen Center
Nashville, Tennessee
Ottawa Soto ZenOttawa, Canada
Sakura-jiCreston, British ColumbiaPhone - 250-428-6500
Savannah Zen Center, Savannah, Georgia
Southwind Sangha Soto Zen Buddhist AssoicationWichita, Kansas
Treehouse SanghaTroy and Cohoes, New York
Wire Grass Soto Zen Group, Headland AL
Zen Group of ChattanoogaChattanooga, Tennessee