This fund was established to begin to gather resources in support of the creation of a Soto Zen education center in the Midwest.
Dharma Light's mission is to develop an informed and competent Western sangha 1) with a deep understanding and appreciation of the teachings and traditions of Soto Zen; 2) with a comprehensive and realistic view of the full scope of Soto practice, positioned within the context of the culture and history from which it arose and was transmitted; and 3) equipped to function in a healthy and useful way at both the lay and clerical levels—in the words of Uchiyama Kosho, “cooperating with one another and aiming to create a place where sincere practitioners can practice without trouble.”
The program will be based on the six tasks of Western religious education as they intersect with Soto Zen practice:
• Teaching Buddha’s dharma and the Soto Zen approach to practice.
• Teaching people to do zazen.
• Facilitating understanding of and participation in liturgy.
• Engaging in sangha building and offering opportunities for participation in the life of the practice community.
• Teaching and practicing precepts.
• Encouraging and facilitating service in the world as bodhisattva practice.
Activities, topics, initiatives and events will relate directly to understanding Soto Zen practice.
Studies will be conducted in a scholastically competent way.
Dharma Light will exhibit leadership in bridging the gap between modern American practitioners and traditional Soto Zen practice.
Lay practice will be fully respected as it is.
Dharma Light will make resources available for the development of future Soto clergy.
Dharma Light will seek to establish and maintain a close relationship with Sotoshu, bearing in mind its key messages, annual teaching objectives, priority texts, current initiatives, and clerical training standards.
$1270 has already been donated outside of this current effort.