The time has again arrived for our annual JUKAI CEREMONY at Treeleaf Sangha ... to commence today, Sunday, January 13th at Midnight (Sunday-Monday) Japan time (that is New York 10am, Los Angeles 7am (Sunday morning), London 3pm and Paris 4pm (Sunday afternoon)). The ceremony will last about 1 hour, and will be visible from that time at the screen below:
Our 18 Preceptees come together simultaneously from 5 countries (from Belgium to Mexico) joining in this Jukai as one, after having spent several months preparing for this day, studying the Precepts, sewing a rakusu, weighing the place of the Buddhist Teachings in their life. As with everything at Treeleaf, all was accomplished fully online, and invite all our Sangha to the celebration. Taigu Turlur and Jundo Cohen are Preceptors.
Jukai literally means to receive or to undertake the Precepts. It is the ceremony both of one’s formally committing to the Buddhist Sangha and to the Practice of Zen Buddhism, and of one’s undertaking the “Sixteen Mahayana Bodhisattva Precepts” as guides for life. Traditionally for Jukai, one receives from a teacher the Rakusu, which represents the robe of the Buddha, the Kechimyaku, a written lineage chart connecting the recipient to the Buddhas and Ancestors of the past, and a “Dharma name” selected by the teacher and representing qualities of the recipient’s personality and practice.
My teacher, Nishijima Roshi, has written this:
When a Buddhist seeks to commence upon the study of Buddhism, there is first a ceremony which should be undertaken: It is called “Jukai,” the “Receipt of the Precepts,” the ceremony in which one receives and undertakes the Precepts as a disciple of the Buddha… Master Dogen specifically left us a chapter entitled ‘”Jukai,” in which it is strongly emphasized that, when the Buddhist believer first sets out to commence Buddhist practice… be it monk, be it lay person, no matter… the initial needed steps include the holding of the ceremony of Jukai and the undertaking of the Precepts… The rationale of all of the Buddhist Precepts, the Mahayana Boddhisattva Precepts ... is as a pointing toward the best ways for us to live in this life, in this real world… how to live benefiting both ourselves and others as best we can.
PS - Dear All,
I repaired some of the "technical non-issues" we had in the above record. If you had any problems hearing or viewing any portion of the live ceremony, you may watch again.
I will say this on behalf of our way of Jukai across oceans ... having participated in any number of Jukai ceremonies in Japan, where the content is recited in arcane, ancient Japanese and Chinese (barely understandable to modern Japanese) filled with Buddhist terminology and symbolism which the Jukai ceremony participants barely understand (if at all, and except in their hearts), where people cannot observe what is happening across the room (the largest Jukai I joined at a big temple had over 100 participants) and where folks are just plain nervous (think of your own wedding ceremony, if married folks) ... I promise that you all understand and have witnessed more of our ceremony as it was happening than most Japanese or Chinese might (even the priests sometimes!) .
On behalf of Taigu and me, it was an honor to experience this moment with you.