Zen this Month: Not the Retreat We Deserve but Probably the One We Need Right Now

Glorious Galoshes-Wearing-Weather, Everyone! Here is a long view of the things we have got coming up:


It’s the first Tuesday of the month. That means tonight's New People Night. Curious about Zen? And what’s more, wanna know how do it? Then you are in luck! Show up tonight at 6:30 and learn all you need know before the regular scheduled sitting. After the sitting, we will go over the Bendowa: Dogen’s FAQs for why we do zen at all. It’s something new people and old hands need to hear.


Saturday, October 6th: It's the first Saturday of the month. That means sangha social at Sip Cafe after the regularly scheduled Saturday morning. What’s Sip Cafe? A cool coffee shop in a refurbished bank building that’s right down the street from the zendo. If you happen miss the sits at 7am then you are welcome to meet us at Sip at around 9:30.

Saturday October 20th: We said that we'd be doing an outdoor sit and we are doing an outdoor sit. Edwin Warner Park, Shelter 8 starting at 7am until the last one sitting gets up. We’ll have Coffee, Grub, and a couple of readings to tool around with. Details and a map location of where exactly the shelter is will be posted the week of. Should be lovely fall weather to sit in and behold.


We are working on Skyping with our guiding teacher, Michael Elliston Roshi of the Silent Thunder Order, one Saturday a month. We did last month and had a splendid discussion about what leaving home means these days anyway.  This month it's either gonna be the 13th or the 27th of October. We will announce whichever one he agrees to the week of. It’s always lively and beats just playing a podcast for sure.

Now, the big news for last. Brad Warner canceled on us for a third and final time. But in the true “lemons-into-lemonade” NZC idiom, we parlayed that into a Retreat at Penuel Ridge lead by our own and dearly missed Dave Cuomo. Dave’s a legit Zen Priest these days and working a full time gig as the head resident of the Angel Zen Center (Brad’s group in L.A.).

Penuel Ridge is a beautiful tucked away retreat center in Ashland City only 20 minutes from Downtown Nashville.  It has cozy overnight accommodations and some the most relaxing scenery on this side of the Cumberland. The dates are looking like Saturday December the 1st and all day Sunday December the 2nd. Mark your calendars.

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m very much looking forward to an old school overnight retreat. A real reunion indeed.


Shoot me any questions that come up:info@nashvillezencenter.org.

Remember: We appreciate your practice!

~ Steph


Zen this Week || Ritual and the Ocean Poet

Tonight @ 7pm, after two rounds of sitting, I will be talking about ritual and whether it's just some old junk we cling to or whether we actually need it to do zen (Surprise! Probably both!). Even better, I'll be doing a demonstration... kinda. Come for green tea and see what I mean.

Saturday @ 7am, three rounds of sitting, the Heart Sutra Service and then the book study. Still working our way through Thich Nhat Hahn's "Old Path, White Clouds", one chapter at time. This chapter is 67, Ocean Poet, in which Buddha talks about the bad side of converting barbarians and later he steals a fisherman's poetry to proselytize.


A zillion Treasure Bows to the Tullahoma Zen Center for having a swell Jukai! Nat, Adam, and I had a wonderful time supping with y'all, petting Doug's dogs, and getting to know your sangha in your cute quirky UU church. You guys are great. It's always a pleasure to be there.

Specifically, sincere congratulations to Jancy (Daishi-Great Inspiration), Rosanna (Shosei-Bright Spirit), and Randy (Teiho-Faithfully Follow the Way). Welcome to the Sangha!

~ Steph

P.S. Robert's right. That big shiny bell y'all bought is bangin'!


This week in Zen || Dogen’s Vow  

Keeping it short and sweet this week.

Tonight at 7pm, I’ll be talking about my favorite part of the chant book: Dogen’s Vow.Nothing like hearing a fanatic rave about his commitments to stir up the blood, you know?

 Saturday at 7am: Three Sits and then, Dogen’s Vow in place of the Heart Sutra. Why? First because it’s good. Second because variety is the spice of life. And Third, three people are doing initiation into the Sangha this Sunday in Tullahoma! Vows are just the thing for the occasion!

Congrats to the Zen Group of Tullahoma! Doug, you are the *just* pseudo-cult leader that I aspire to be.

We are very proud of y’all.

~ Steph  



Tomorrow after the three rounds of sitting and the Heart Sutra Service, we are bring the Book Study Back.

The Book? Old Path, White Clouds by Thich Naht Hahn
Chapter? 66: Four Mountains
No Book? No Problem! We have the audiobook and we just have the nice sedated British man read it to us. No prior study necessary. It’s very soothing.

It’s a good chapter covering several classic Buddhist yarns at once.

Come for the sits at 7am or come a bit later and get in some sits, plus the book study and some home baked treats. You know we are anything but married to the clock around here.

Hope to see y’all soon!

P.S. I apologize for the delay in posting. I had dental surgery on Tuesday so I’ve been wacked out on wowie sauce (prescribed!) for most of the week.


Zen This Week: “Dogen’s How to do Zen” and “Choosing your Fetters"

Tonight is Newbie Night! New to zen? New to meditation? Seen all the ads advertising “zen bliss” yogurt and wonder what the heck it’s all about?

You are in luck! Swing by 3123 Gallatin Pike at 6:30pm and I’ll explain everything! Well, everything except the yogurt (how such a thing exists is anybody’s guess!).

For real, show up 30 minutes early and I’ll show you all the things you need to do zen meditation. Then at 7pm we’ll do it with the rest of the regulars. And because it’s newbie night, the talk after the sits will be the founder's instructions on how to sit. Good to hear at any point in one’s practice.


This Saturday, we’ll be skyping with the head of our order, Michael Elliston Roshi at 9am. I did get my act together and got a topic. Sensei will be speaking on the Jataka tale we covered two weeks ago. Namely,I asked Sensei to speak on choosing your fetters in the world. I look forward to hearing what he has to say. The story rubbed me the wrong way and I very much want to hear what Sensei’s take on it is.

If you do too, then come for the morning sits at 7am and the skyping will follow afterwards. If you want to read up on the tale, here’s the link: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/j2/j2054.htm.


Thanks everyone for coming out and playing Munchkin with me last Saturday! For bunch of first-time players, y’all sure backstabbed like you knew what you were doing! *savage*

I can’t wait until we do it again. It was so much fun!

You guys are the best sangha I could ever hope to have.

~ Steph


P.S. Jancey and I won together by virtue of my elf powers and her amazing arsenal.