STO is the living manifestation of Matsuoka-roshi’s Lineage, and an offshoot of Uchiyama-roshi’s as well. It is open to all Disciples and Priests in the Lineage and serves as the central forum and common connection between them. Membership in the Order is marked by the Lay Ordination Ceremony (J. Zaike Tokudo), which STO refers to as the Discipleship Ceremony. It is usually preceded by Lay Initiation (J. Jukai); exceptions for special circumstances may be granted by the Abbot/Abbess or the Sensei. (For instance, many new recruits have extensive background and training in another lineage, or in the martial arts, and can qualify for Discipleship in less time than a rank newcomer to the practice.)
In order to qualify as a 501(c)3 organization, the Silent Thunder Order must establish a defined membership requirement. Please see the STO By-laws Membership Addendum.