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Our Circle of Life

Our program of shared stewardship is reflected in our evolving center mandala.

Mandala of Shared Stewardship

The Center mandala, or Circle of Life, represents our primary spheres of activity. These spheres are based on the Five Buddha Wisdoms as they appear in the chant “Gate of Sweet Nectar.” ZCLA uses this mandala as the organizing principle for governance. The "Gate" is celebrated every Sunday morning. A DVD of the ritual, along with interviews, is available from the online bookstore.

The Mandala keeps the big picture ever before us and also instructs us in the multi-directional quality of everyday life. Each sphere is a fractal of the entire mandala; every part contains the whole. The practice of Shared Stewardship is to realize and manifest in our daily functioning this underlying interfusion of all aspects of the mandala. All the activities required to maintain and run the Center are carried out as Zen training.

Circles of members have formed to carry out the activities in these spheres. Circles may arise from any part of the mandala; some become established to steward key functions, others arise and dissolve as various needs are addressed and met. All Circles are led by a steward, develop their own purpose and core values in accord with the Center's overall mission, and are linked to the mandala.

Buddha Sphere

Roshi Egyoku Nakao as Spiritual Leader

Study Sphere

        The Teachers Circle (teachers-in-training and Dharma successors)


Priest Circle (all priests-in-training at Great Dragon Mountain)

Ango/Practice Periods



Introductory Programs

Temple functions:

Zendo & Buddha Hall
Tenzo (Cook) Coordinators
Altar Coordinators

Speakers Bureau

Water Wheel (bi-monthly newsletter and program calendar)

Resources Sphere

Board of Directors and its Circles:

Building & Grounds Circle

Endowment Circle
Finance Circle: The Executive Circle

Fundraising Circle

Planned Giving Circle

Executive Circle (oversees Finances and Staff)
Business Manager and Bookkeeper
Bookstore Managers

The Lineage (also includes relationships to the White Plum Asanga, Soto Sect and other religious groups)

relationships Sphere 

Buddha Hand Circle (coming and going of residents)

The Day Group (oversees day-to-day functioning)
Resident Circle (all residents)
Shared Stewardship (ongoing exploration of governance and Sangha issues)

Service Sphere

Affiliate Groups

Angulimala Prison Circle

Brown-Green Group (environmental concerns)

Health Circle
Hospital Chaplaincy
Interfaith Work

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