We are a diverse group of Chicagoans committed to practicing the Zen way of awakening together, and to providing a place for others to come to and deepen their own practice.
We practice in the Sōtō Zen Buddhist tradition, which traces its heritage back to Buddha through a 2500-year history of fellow practitioners, including our ancient teachers Bodhidharma, Caoqi Huineng, Dongshan Liangjie, and Eihei Dōgen, and our modern teachers, Dainin Katagiri, Shoken Winecoff, and Myoshi Thomson, who guides our practice here in Chicago.
We welcome all to join us in our study and practice of the way of Zen. What is this practice? The founder of our lineage in Japan, Eihei Dōgen (1200-1253), put it simply: “To study the Way is to study the self; to study the self is to forget the self; to forget the self is to be awakened by all things.” Our practice, then, starts with ourselves, with seeing clearly who we are, and how we are, right now, in this moment.
Our basic activity together is quiet seated meditation. Indeed, the word “Zen” itself is derived from a Sanskrit word for meditation, and sitting in silent meditation has always been the central practice of awakening in Zen. But together we learn to practice the way of awakening in all our activities, and indeed to make our very lives themselves expressions of the awakened mind and heart.
Myoshi Roger Thomson
Rev. Myoshi Roger Thomson is a teacher in the Soto Zen Buddhist tradition. He received dharma transmission in 2013 from Rev. Shoken Winecoff, Abbott of Ryumonji Zen Monastery, in the lineage of Dogen Zenji and Dainin Katagiri Roshi. He was head monk at Ryumonji in 2011, and he also received monastic training at Tassajara Zen Mountain Monastery. He is registered as a teacher with the Soto Zen Buddhist Association, in America, and Sotoshu Shumucho, in Japan.
In addition to being a Zen priest, Myoshi is a clinical psychologist, and co-director of Integrative Health Partners, a practice group in downtown Chicago that specializes in mindfulness-based psychotherapy. He has been on the faculty of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine since 1987.