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.


A Monthly Post, maybe? 

“By revealing and disclosing our lack of faith and practice before the Buddha,

we melt away the root of transgressions

by the power of our repentance.”

~ Dogen’s Vow




~ Futurama


Hey gang. It’s been a while. Sorry about that.


I’ve been rethinking this whole social media thing. Now that I’m hormonally stable, it’s time to get back on the posting wagon. I’m going to attempt to post once a week about the stuff that is happening that week. Then I’ll do a once a month post that’s more of a panoramic view of the stuff we have coming up.


So that’s what this is. We’ll see how long this lasts . . .



THIS MONTH IN ZEN: SEPTEMBER 2018 || Jukais with the guys


Saturday 8th @ 9am will be Skyping with Sensei after our usual sit. For those of you not in the know, this would be the much mentioned Michael Elliston, Roshi, head of our affiliated order (the Silent Thunder Order) and leader of the Atlanta Soto Zen Center of which we are so fond.  


As always, our Skype chats are quite informal and end up being more like freeform Q&A sessions even if we do originally start out with a topic (Sensei is a very approachable guy in spite of his grand titles). If we come up with an topic, we’ll announce it next week.




Remember Doug? Our UU minister friend who runs a zen group down in Tullahoma? Well that zen group has got about 15 people regularly attending and three of them want take the precepts and formally join the Buddhist sangha (Jukai).


“So when’s it happening?” Sunday September 23rd, 4pm

“Where?” Unitarian Universalist Church of Tullahoma

“What?” Jukai for three. If you’ve been looking to formally join the NZC, this would be an excellent time to do it (group discount!). Get with me or Nat about it and we’ll hash out the details (info@nashvillezencenter.com).


Yay! I’m always happy to find people that will join us in this mutual silliness!



We are going to try an early morning sit on October the 6th.

“Wait… what’s an early morning sit?”

It’s were we show up at 5am and get straight to sitting. We go all the way through until our usual stopping point of 9:30am.

“Why would anyone wanna do that?”

Maybe you? It is like a half-day’s worth of sitting if you do the whole thing. And it usually settles the rattling in your head down so you have a great start to your weekend. I dunno, man. Don’t knock it until you try it.



Might be doing an Outdoor Sit at Percy Warner Park on Saturday October the 20th. Hopefully, we’ll be able to scope out the Tennessee Fall, rolling out all of it’s technicolor fallen leaf splendor.


Finally, the Retreat with Brad Warner (not to mention our very own Dave Cuomo!) is back on!


Save the Dates: Saturday November 17th and Sunday November 18th.


It’s an two day all day retreat with talks by Brad in the evening and it will at our usual sitting spot on Gallatin Pike.


More details as they develop. I’m just so glad it’s still happening!




Allright. I’m shutting up now. But if you still have questions, shoot an email over to info@nashvillezenceter.com. Despite all of my recent distractions, I’ve managed to mostly stay on top of that.




~ Steph

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