Ever since my teacher, the late Gudo Wafu Nishijima made me the head of the Buddhist order he established in Japan, it has been my dream to establish a center in the tradition I learned from him. This is a unique and powerful stream of Zen practice, one that truly represents the Middle Way that is neither religion nor atheism, neither dogmatic nor indifferent. Nishijima Roshi taught a welcoming attitude of tolerance and acceptance for all and yet he was very committed to the way he learned when he was ordained by the abbot of Eihei-ji, the head temple of the Soto school of Zen. I have decided to establish a Zen space in Los Angeles, California called Angel City Zen Center.
In order to make this happen, we need your help. Please go to this link, https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/angel-city-zen-center and donate what you can. We’ve got a bunch of videos that we’ll be posting over the next few weeks that show how much a center like this would impact the Los Angeles community, and of course we’ve got a ton of perks ready for those of you who donate.
Although the orientation of our formal services would be Soto-style Zen Buddhism, this center would be open to anyone of any religious affiliation as well as to atheists, agnostics and everything in between. We would promote interfaith events (and inter non-faith events) and partner up with like-minded churches, synagogues, mosques, atheist clubs and other such organizations who wanted to establish mutual understanding and respect. I want it to be the kind of place where born-again Christian Republicans can hang out with gay atheist cross-dressers and have a good time together.
Although the Zen sittings and ceremonies at these places would be quiet and meditative, I want to keep the atmosphere light and fun and avoid any sense of stodginess or excessive formality. I do not want it to be a “religious” place. I want people to go there because they enjoy and benefit from the practices or just like hanging out in a supportive environment with good people.
If you’re broke, we don’t want your money, but we could use your support in many other ways. Just ask. If you’re rich, we want as much of your money as you’d like to give us (it’s tax-deductible!). If you’re somewhere in between and you like what we do, please consider contributing.
Here’s a link to the Angel City Zen Center business plan: http://tinyurl.com/nh6kasy