Milwaukee Zen Center is an official overseas temple of Sotoshu Shumucho, the headquarters of the Soto Zen school in Japan. Soto is the largest Zen sect in Japan, with more than 15,000 temples. MZC's clergy are also recognized and authorized by Sotoshu.
Sotoshu's North American office in Los Angeles is responsible for applying the rules and regulations of the denomination to the fifty-four North American clergy who are registered as kokusai fukyoshi (international teachers) and to their practice groups. According to the office, "Although there are many more Soto priests throughout North America who have received permission from their teachers to teach Soto Zen, this group of fifty-four priests has been recognized by the Shumucho because they have met the specific requirements of the Sotoshu in Japan."
The Soto Zen school teaches that we are all children of the Buddha and come into this world endowed with the Buddha-Mind (busshin). However, failing to realize this, we live selfish, willful lives, causing much suffering. If we make repentance to the Buddha and take refuge in him, our minds will come to rest, our lives will experience harmony and light, and we will rejoice in being of service to society. We will also experience the deep faith that will allow us to stand up under any hardship. To discover happiness and a life worth living is the teaching of the Soto Zen school.
Sotoshu works to promote respect for human rights, establishment of peace, and preservation of the environment. In 2012 this work is based on the teaching of beneficial action, one of the "Four Integrative Methods of Bodhisattvas." Dogen Zenji taught that in Buddha's Way we should wholeheartedly dedicate ourselves for the sake of others without considering our own benefits or rewards. Keizan Zenji wrote, "You should offer the limitless merits of zazen to all sentient beings." He taught us that all the merits of zazen should be dedicated toward all the people. Even under difficult circumstances, we should face reality with courage, support each other with kindness, and transmit the teachings through concrete actions. That is a life that we Buddhists have to demonstrate.
Learn more at Sotoshu's website.