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 (


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 Despite all of my recent distractions, I’ve managed to mostly stay on top of that.




~ Steph


This Week in Zen: Crazy Cloud and Sip Cafe

Who's this old sourpuss? And why does he look so glum? And why does he suddenly cheer up when catching the eye of this cortesan?

Well, it turns out that he had a lot to say about that. That's right, we are talking about the orginal ODB himself, Ikkyu, Crazy Cloud. We'll read out some of his madcap poetry and discuss why he might be the most popular zen legend ever.

All happening 7pm tonight!

This Saturday at 7am: Three rounds of sittin', a Heart Sutra service, and afterwards we are going to Sip Cafe. If you have to sleep in and miss the sits, then you can still meet us at the cafe just down the road at around 9:30. I might even bring a certain card game that certain people in the sangha have been dying to play together.

Love y'all! See you soon!

~ Steph


Schedule for the Surprise! Weekend Retreat!

Good Evening, Err'body.

So here's an ersatz schedule. You know how we do and you know how we be. It's a super causal sit so the schedule isn't set in stone.

But there are three *definite* things about this retreat that you should know.

1. It's happening at 1420 Finnland Dr., Nashville TN 37207
(For pictures of the building, go to the AirBNB)

2. It's *this* Saturday (8/4) starting at 9am and also *this* Sunday(8/5) at 9am. (Come when you can, leave when you have to. No judgements here. We all got a life outside of NZC)

3. The focus is to spend most of the day in silent meditation. So come prepared to do some zazen!

All this being said, what follows is our (mostly) aspirational schedule.
Saturday August 4th

9:00 am || Tea and sitting, possible opening chant
9:30- 11:00 || Zazen (25 minute periods with 5 minute kinhin in between)
11:00 || Dharma Talk
12:00 pm || Lunch
12:30- 1:00 || Clean up, Break
1:00 – 3:00 || Zazen
3:00- 3:30 || Stretching/ Yoga
3:30 - 4:30 || Tea and Dharma Talk
4:30-6:00 || Zazen (will include one 40 minute period)
6:00 – 7:30 || Dinner / Clean up / Rest
7:30- 9:00 || Zazen then Close

Sunday August 5th (second verse, same as the first!)

9:00 am || Tea and sitting, possible opening chant
9:30- 11:00 || Zazen (25 minute periods with 5 minute kinhin in between)
11:00 || Dharma Talk
12:00 pm || Lunch
12:30- 1:00 || Clean up, Break
1:00 – 4:00 || Zazen then Close
4:00 - ??? || If anyone is feeling up for it, playing a couple of games of Munchkin???

If you got an questions, send them over to or message me on the FB.

No sitting at Against the Stream on Saturday! We'll all be busy setting up the retreat at Finnland Dr.

Sit with you guys soon! I'm stoked!
~ Steph


THE STORY? So originally this weekend, we were supposed to be having a retreat with Brad Warner, but he had to cancel (we are hoping he will reschedule). But hey, people had taken time out and were looking forward to a two day sit. And since sittin' comes first, that's what we are going to do.

WHEN? Saturday, August 4th starting at 9am. Then Sunday, August 5th starting at 9am. We won't be staying overnight. Just two all day sits. Back to back.

WHERE? 1420 Finnland Dr (37207). A beautiful AirBNB just 15 minutes from downtown Nashville (no really, check out the pictures). Out of town enough to be wooded and scenic but close enough to be convenient.

WHAT? A super casual commuter meditation retreat focused on just sitting.

WHY? Because sitting's good for you. At least while you are doing it, you ain't doing any harm. Plus you'll be supporting your pals and they'll be supporting you. In the end, what could be better?

AT WHAT COST? Look. Just come. If you got cash, then please give $50 per day or whatever you can afford. If you can't afford to pay anything, that's ok. Come sit anyway. Pay what you can at:

CONCLUSION? Sorry to spring this on you last minute. I'd be all grandiose about it and say it's the manic pixie inside me but really the details just came together this weekend. I'll get a schedule posted later this week.
Send any questions you got to or hit me up on Facebook messager.

Thanks for hanging in there. You're the best sangha a sitter like me could ever hope for.
~ Steph

No Sit this Saturday at ATS-N (our usual place), because....

Steph and I will be joining the Zen Group of Chattanooga for their Zazenkai, this Saturday. Sensei will be in attendance along with Sengaku Dan Joslyn! Come down to Chattanooga and meet your Dharma Brothers and Sisters, just 2 hrs. down I-24! See the NZC Facebook post for details!