Please welcome the following eight new members of the Silent Thunder Order / Atlanta Soto Zen Center Sangha; they undertook Jukai Initiation after the annual Precepts Retreat on Sunday, July 17th. Initiation (Jap. Jukai), is open to anyone who is sincerely interested in practicing Zen. This is a personal choice, not a formal stage of training, but is considered a prerequisite for undertaking further steps along the formalized Practice Path. Below listed are the initiates' dharma name and meaning, in order from left to right:
So Fumon - "Universal Gate"
So Gyoji - "Protecting Practice"
So Kunin - "Empty Suffering"
Yusui Ni - "Deep & Quiet"
Komyo Ni - "Wisdom Illuminating Reality"
So Daijo - "Great Vehicle"
So Daikan - "Great Mirror"
So Sorin - "Dignified Monk"
Dharma names are carefully selected by the Abbot. The dharma names for this group were selected from Dogen Zen, by Shohaku Okumura et al.
As a part of the Jukai ceremony, initiates take refuge in the Three Treasures, of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. For the Silent Thunder Order, this is an especiallly important celebration of Sangha, the community of practitioners. Okumura-roshi explains:
I think that of these three, the sangha is most significant to us today. Of course, the Buddha and the Dharma are the basis of Sangha. However, without Sangha, a living community of people, the Buddha is someone who lived in the past, and his teaching is something printed in a textbook. Because there is a community of practitioners who follow his teaching and manifest reality in their daily activities, the Buddha and the Dharma come alive right now, right here. I have been a monk-priest for about twenty-five years. I don't think that I could have lived the Buddha's teaching and practiced by myself for so long. With the help of my teacher, my dharma brothers, and the people who practice with me, I can pracitce. A sangha of practitioners is most important. We really have to take refuge there. This vow brings Sangha vividly alive.
2015 Silent Thunder Order Annual Conference and Precepts Retreat Participants
2016 Annual Silent Thunder Order Conference and Precepts Retreat
Wednesday, July 13, 2016 6:00 PM -
Sunday, July 17, 2016 12:00 PM (Eastern Time)
Atlanta Soto Zen Center
1167 Zonolite Place
Atlanta, Georgia 30306
Map and Directions
Click here to contact Registrar Tom Pongratz or to Register
ANNUAL CONFERENCE & RETREAT
This year's Annual Silent Thunder Order Conference and Retreat will take place from Wednesday, July 13th through Sunday, July 17th. The retreat will include a wonderful opportunity to practice together, take part in the STO Conference and 501 (c) (3) Annual General Meeting on Saturday, July 16th and wrap up on Sunday, July 17th with Jukai & Zaike Tokudo Ceremonies. All are encouraged to attend as much of the retreat as their personal schedule allows. The conference will include morning workshops for the sharing of ideas and best practices between affiliates as well as introducing the activities presently taking place within the Board and its Committees to help all feel comfortable in participating and contributing their talents. It will include an update on the work done so far on the Matsuoka Documentary and archive. Election of 2016-2017 STO Board of Directors by active members will take place during the afternoon Annual General Meeting portion of the Conference. This Annual Conference is a great opportunity for old and new practitioners from across North America to practice, learn, and plan together.
Thank you to everyone who helped to remodel and reset the Zendo. The remodeling lasted 60 days but the outcome is, well, as you can see, beautiful! ASZC will have a "grand-reopening" celebration soon so be on the lookout for an announcement with the details! Retreats are planned for February and March. Please plan to attend one or all!