Soji Zen Center
2325 West Marshall Road
Lansdowne, PA 19050
"What is the experience of being a sangha and a Zen Center with its own flavor and persona, while also being an affiliate of Village Zendo?" Our sangha members reflected on this question and arrived at the following consensus.
Soji Zen Center is a small but thriving and growing Sangha. We are very grateful that we have in the person of Shuzen Sensei a fully transmitted dharma teacher. Our relationship with Village Zendo is cemented by the fact that Shuzen Sensei received shiho from Enkyo Roshi and she is also the abbot of Soji Zen Center.
Soji Zen Center's Sangha is committed to and shares in the responsibility for its continued growth and development.
- There are activities at Soji Zen Center most evenings and people are encouraged to participate.
- Last year at our Year-End Sesshin, we had three members receive the precepts and Al Fusho Rapaport received shiho (dharma transmission) from Shuzen Sensei and became his first dharma successor.
- One of our members received the precepts on June 12th and three more are preparing to receive them at the Year-End Sesshin in December as well as two members are preparing for shukke tokudo.
- Michael Daitoku Palumbaro is leading a group of homeless people in a weekly meditation practice at a church in Philadelphia and working with men and women at the Philadelphia Detention Center.
- Soji Zen Center will be holding its second annual Urban Sesshin the first weekend in August and its second annual Year-End Sesshin (December 27th – 31st) at St. Raphaela's Retreat Center in Havertown, PA.
- Last month Shuzen Sensei traveled to Al Fusho Rapaport Sensei's Open Mind Zen Center in Melbourne, FL and gave the precepts to 8 of Fusho Sensei's students.
- Earlier in the year, Shuzen Sensei went to Cape Town, South Africa and conducted a sesshin at the Dharma Centre in Robertson.
- Soji Zen Center applied for and received a grant from The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for Buddhism in America. The grant program will be conducted over a two-year period and will involve teaching meditation to the instructors of four facilities. These instructors in turn will teach meditation to their clients (children to young adults with various disabilities).
Photo: A. Jesse Jiryu Davis
It is this kind of growth and activity, as well as adding new members that motivates us as a Sangha.
Soji Zen Center members agree that Enkyo Roshi's visits enrich their practice and are deeply appreciated. It is generally felt that connection with Village Zendo could be further enhanced by members of both Sangha's interacting on a regular basis.
A common sentiment among the senior members at Soji Zen Center is an appreciation for the fact that we are part of a lineage and that lineage strengthens, supports, and validates our practice. We see ourselves as a branch on a tree, but we are flowering on our own.