Tag Archives: STO

Receiving the Precepts: How and Why?


Jukai in Atlanta, 2008

Today I’m starting a series of posts on the Zen Precepts, sometimes called the Bodhisattva Precepts. One of our sangha members recently received Jukai, the 5-Precepts ceremony, and that has gotten everybody interested and asking questions about what this means.

To get us started, let’s get an overview of what the Precepts are. The Zen Precepts have three main components: the Three Refuges, the Three Pure Precepts, and the Ten Grave Precepts. Continue reading

Retreat Practice – Spring 2015

Wagesa – received in Jukai ceremony

In Zen, a retreat is called sesshin, which means “touching the heart-mind.” Unlike daily home sitting or even our weekly sangha zazen on Mondays, sesshins offer us the opportunity to explore Zen practice more fully, more deeply, in the most tranquil and conducive atmosphere possible. It allows us to settle our minds to a degree that isn’t feasible under typical circumstances, and we get to do that together in an encouraging way.

Sesshin can be challenging, but if we hang in there, it serves as an anchor or cornerstone to our practice. If you have any interest in deepening your meditation, growing in your understanding of Zen, and meeting other like-minded friends who aspire to do the same, sesshins offer a unique opportunity to do this. There truly is no substitute for this kind of extended practice. Continue reading

Home Practice

On a recent Monday evening, a sangha member asked about daily home meditation practice, what that looks like, and how to sustain it over time. I thought maybe those who weren’t present would like to know about this as well. It’s a common and important question. I’ll tell you about my daily practice. This is not to say that you should copy exactly what I do. Establishing a daily practice means fitting it into your own life, not like cramming your foot into someone else’s shoe, as it were. Still, maybe there’s something in my experience that might be useful to you. Continue reading

We are back!

For those who don’t know, we now meet at the Memphis Friends Meeting (Quaker) House every Monday, 5:45-7:15. Come join us sometime.

Our new schedule has gotten off to a fantastic start thanks to attendance at the Zen 101 orientation held on Saturday. We had 14 attendees, a few old friends from our previous location(s) and some new friends. Everybody was introduced (or re-introduced) to zazen as well as the basics of Buddha’s teachings, a little on the history of Soto Zen, and the lowdown on how our group fits into its larger organization, the Silent Thunder Order / Mokurai. Continue reading

MZC Update

I’m sure folks have been wondering what is going on with us since we currently can’t meet on a regular basis. And also – how did we end up with no practice space anyway? Here’s a brief run-down on what happened, where we are now, and what the future may hold for us. Continue reading