January 1 ATLANTA DOJO                                     New Year's Gathering:                                                                                                                      Prayers at 11 a.m.,

                                                                              Open House through the afternoon 


March 3 thru 8  PEACE PILGRIMAGE           Selma to Montgomery

                                                                                            Peace Pilgrimage

                                                                                            53rd Anniversary

Sat., April 7, 11 a.m. @ ATLANTA DOJO              Flower Festival                                     

Sat., April 21, 11 a.m. @ PEACE PAGODA           Flower Festival                                    

May 5 through 27 @ PEACE PAGODA                 Spring Work Party                                  

Sat., July 7, 11 a.m. @ ATLANTA DOJO               Ancestors Ceremony

Sat., July 28, 11 a.m. @ PEACE PAGODA           Ancestors Ceremony                                         

October 13 thru November 6 @ PEACE PAGODA    Fall Work Party                                      

2018 Schedule 

Nipponzan Myohoji-Atlanta Dojo &

Great Smoky Mountains Peace Pagoda &

Flower Festival at the Peace Pagoda

Saturday, April 21, 2018, 11 a.m.

Shuttles up the hill from 10:15 to 11 a.m.

      We were invited to participate in the Memorial Service for Muhammad Ali on June 10, 2016 in Louisville, KY.

    Muhammad Ali wanted a multi-faith service for his memorial; his lawyer and friend who was on the committee for the service knew another lawyer who is a friend of our order; and of all of Nipponzan Myohoji members, we were geographically the closest.

    Life can surprise you.What an honor and special day it was.

Past Event Photos

Click on the link above to view photos albums of past ceremonies at the Atlanta Dojo and the Great Smoky Mountains Peace Pagoda

A Brief History of the Atlanta Dojo

            The building that was to become Atlanta Dojo of Nipponzan Myohoji was purchased at the end of 1993 for $12,000. That is the correct number of zeros, and no, the price was not reduced by way of a gift. The place was a wreck. It had been owned for decades by a woman who at one time had run it as a brothel and later as a boarding house. When she became ill, it devolved into a space for squatters and drug dealers. When we purchased it, there was no plumbing nor electricity, and every window was broken. With great energy and innocence, we believed we would have it fixed within a year. It took more than four.
            During the renovation time, Brother Utsumi and Sister Denise lived at First Iconium Baptist Church, and that was pure gift offered by Rev. Timothy McDonald and the congregation. The church’s incredible support along with the help of friends and volunteers made it possible to transform 1127 Glenwood into a temple using mostly salvaged material and Utsumi-shonin’s incredible gift for creating beauty from other’s discarded things.
            Since the dedication of this temple in April 1998, it has offered hospitality to peace walkers and activists of all kinds. Many have gathered here throughout the years for ceremonies and peace-oriented events.  Primarily it is a temple, and visitors have frequently commented on the deep quiet that pervades this space. We have no explanation for that quiet, given the location next to very busy streets. But we are grateful for the respite it offers everyone from the noise and chaos of daily life.
            Since we spend so much time now building the Peace Pagoda in East Tennessee, it is natural that people ask if we intend to sell the Atlanta Dojo. No, the loss would be too great. We’d lose memories, the multitude of offerings that built this temple, the enjoyment of its beauty, neighbors, the confidence it gave us in subsequent work. Any money from its sale would soon be gone, leaving us so much poorer if not materially then spiritually.
            Our teacher, Guruji, said dōjōs are built to emulate the Pure Land. In the sutra we recite during the ceremony, Buddha says, “This Pure Land of mine is never destroyed.” Nor is it bought or sold.

Happy Anniversary, Atlanta Dojo!

Ancestors Ceremony / Obon お盆

July 9, 2016 at the Atlanta Dojo

We just celebrated the Ancestors Ceremony.  One of our monks from India, Yoda-shonin, was visiting and led the ceremony in Atlanta. And the ceremony at the Peace Pagoda always concludes with a visit to the Spirit Garden. Both were  beautiful, heartfelt ceremonies. Below are a few photos from Atlanta. To the right are more from the Peace Pagoda. And further below, our schedule for 2016. Please come visit.

2017 Ancestors Ceremony at the Peace Pagoda, August 12

We had our largest crowd ever for an Ancestors Ceremony as we gathered to commemorate the lives of five individuals whose ashes were then interred in the Spirit Garden.

First, there was Concepcion Picciotto, pictured in the snow, her determined gaze no doubt set on the White House. For 35 years Concepcion stood vigil outside the White House, calling for an end to nuclear weapons and all war. Her witness was legendary even when she was alive, and now her remains have been placed in the Spirit Garden and inspire us to continue our work against the Y-12 Plant in Oak Ridge, TN. Kathy Boylan and Michael Walli of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker spoke eloquently of Concepcion's mission.

Pictured next is Danielle Newell, daughter of Redmoonsong, a friend of the Peace Pagoda. Redmoonsong talked of her daughter's difficult life, which ended with an assisted suicide. Her talk was powerful and honest.

Judy Kugler, who we have known since the late 1980s, demonstrating against the Trident submarine in St. Mary's, GA, passed away last October, and her longtime wish was to have her ashes placed in the Spirit Garden, where her husband, Joe, is also interred. We are grateful that this wish was fulfilled by Judy's friend, Charlotte Henegan, who brought those ashes from Georgia to TN.

Kim Bergier, a peace activist from Michigan who has organized many delegations to Oak Ridge, brought the remains of her husband, Roman Bergier, a skilled carpenter who lived life fully. Her co-organizer, Sigrid Dale, also passed away last year. Ron Dale, Sigrid's husband, spoke of Sigrid's childhood in Nazi Germany, where her father was a victim of the Nazi eugenics program. Her experiences as a child made her a lifelong pacifist and peace activist.

A diverse group of people who bless this place and deepen our practice. Thank you friends and family for sharing their lives and stories with us.

Celebrating 20 years at the Atlanta Dojo

April 7, 2018