Bows of gratitude to Silent Thunder Order's Founder Soyu Matsuoka-Roshi for his efforts to bring Soto Zen to the West! Please join us in celebrating Matsuoka Roshi's life and legacy.
Todai-ji Temple, Nara, Japan
• The Matusoka Roshi Video Documentary Project is seeking funds to complete the documentary on Matsuoka-Roshi's life and his efforts to bring Zen to America. Please click here to help us reach our $10,000 goal and to see the latest Indiegogo fund raising effort and new video footage from the STO Pilgrimage to Japan.
• Please listen to the biographical talk about Matsuoka-Roshi given by Zenku Jerry Smyers at ASZC during Winter Ango in February 2010. Click the following link to the audio recording. http://drivetimezen.org/category/zenku-talks/
• STO Affiliates and STO Supporting Members, please make a special onetime donation and an ongoing pledge of Dana to STO in honor of Matsuoka's efforts bringing Zen to the West. Click here to make your donation. Please enjoy the following video on the history of our STO Lineage created in 2011. https://youtu.be/qOiIAtg8aWA
Mission Montain Zen Center
Please help us continue to support Matsuoka-Roshi's legacy of bringing and sustaining Zen in the West. What he started in 1939 when he first arrived in the US continues today through Silent Thunder Order training center.
Matsuoka-Roshi's lineage is represented by 16 Zen Centers throughout North America. ASZC is the training center for Silent Thunder Order lead by STO Abbot Taiun Michael Elliston (click here for Sensei's bio). STO Associate Abbot of Operations Zenku Jerry Smyers leads Mission Mountain Zen Center (shown above) in northwest Montana. STO Associate Abbot of Training Tesshin Jim Smith leads Atlantic Soto Zen Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Click here for a complete listing of Affiliates.
• Purchase Matsuoka-Roshi's collected talks: The Kyosaku and Mokurai.
Click here for ordering information.
• Practice Zazen
And support your local affiliate with your presence. See the above affiliate list for the affiliate closest to you.
• Participate in a Poetry Reading (Atlanta area only) & Fundraiser
I climb long steps to Eiheiji,
bow in the Buddha hall
sit zazen in your shrine
question your ashes.
"How did you see eternity
from this treed-in temple?
When did you awaken from
this dream of dreams?
Where did you meet quantum physics
in thirteenth century Japan?
Do mountains really walk?"
"Shhhh," you whisper,
Kuya. Cross you legs,
ROHATSU – Celebrating Buddha's Awakening
As we approach the end of the 38th year of the founding of the Atlanta Soto Zen Center, established in 1977, we enjoy a spirit of celebration. At year's end, most societies, however "primitive," observe some sort of ritual recognition of the passing of the old year; as well as the potential represented by the new.
In the Christian tradition, the birthday of Jesus Christ is celebrated in December. But in Buddhism, it is Siddhartha Gotama's Awakening, instead. Then, in the spring, Buddha's birthday is celebrated, as is the resurrection and ascension of Christ into heaven, believed by the faithful to have happened after his crucifixion, 2000 + years ago. Notably, both of these seminal events — of Christ's passion, and of Buddha's enlightenment — occurred when each was in his mid-thirties.
But Buddha lived to an old age, of some 80 years, and died of natural causes, or, as one legend has it, of tainted pork. Which poses a challenge to those who think, or believe, that Buddha and his followers were vegetarian. We have to be somewhat circumspect as to these kinds of details, some 2500 years later.
It may appear, on face value, that the celebrations and observances around these events, from the recorded story of different religions, represents the same kind of dynamic for adherents of the various traditions. But comparing and contrasting attitudes, and the activities they inspire, may illustrate the difference.
Please join us in celebrating Matsuoka-Roshi's (11/25/12-11/20/97) life and legacy. We invite you to celebrate in several ways.
Both STO Affiliates and STO Supporting Members, make a special onetime donation and an ongoing pledge of Dana to STO in honor of Matsuoka's efforts bringing Zen to America. Click here to donate.
Please help us continue to support Matsuoka-Roshi's legacy of bringing and sustaining Zen in the West. What he started in 1939 when he first arrived in the US continues today through Silent Thunder Order headquartered at Atlanta Soto Zen Center with 15 affiliates throughout US and Canada.
Help fund the documentary of Matsuoka's Legacy by going to
Taiun Elliston-Roshi, Zenku Jerry Smyers and others traveled to Japan in October to gather information about Soyu Matsuoka-Roshi. Interviews, film footage, and pictures will be used to create a documentary about Matsuoka's legacy. Here the STO Pilgrimage Group is visiting Rev. Hideo Matsuoka, who is Soyu Matsuoka Roshi's nephew and Abbot, at our Founders' home Temple, Tenjoji, on an island south of Hiroshima. We will share film clips in coming weeks. Please stay tuned and help us off-set costs for the project.
Purchase Matsuoka-Roshi's collected talks The Kyosaku and Moku-Rai. Click here for ordering information.
"The original nature is already present and shining. Most of us have become so conditioned and so scattered in our thoughts, emotional surges of despair an elation, and in our livelihood and leisure actions, that we have forgotten this real self. In Soto Zen when we sit, we let this original nature shine as it is. Its rays are perfect and of their own nature seek to radiate abundantly in all directions. When we simply stop interfering, this original nature will melt all our hardness; will untangle our confusion; will blunt all our sharp and jutting angles; and will balance us perfectly without any effort of the small self directing an assault on the great and enlightened self." (excerpt from O'Sensei Matsuoka's "Dyannayanna" lecture from Moku-Rai)
Support your local affiliate with your presence. Click here to find the affiliate nearest you.
Read and hear more about Matsuoka-Roshi's life.
Click here for Matsuoka-Roshi's biography on the STO website.
Zenku Jerry Smyers shared a few pearls of wisdom from Matsuoka-Roshi.
"One Sunday during tea after zazen and morning service, Matsuoka Roshi was asked the questions of, 'How do you know if you are making progress in your zazen practice'. Even though in our zen practice, of letting go of self-centeredness, we do not look to gain anything, Matsuoka Roshi, after a moment consideration said to the student, 'Sitting Mountain feeling'."
"On another occasion, at a similar setting Matsuoka Roshi was asked by a student, 'What is the purpose of zen practice'. Matsuoka Roshi thought for a moment and said, 'Confidence in Everyday life'."