UPDATE: Dear All,
Due to some family issues, Shokai has told me that he will need to withdraw from the upcoming Ordination ceremony and take some time to deal with the same.
I wrote him to say that I am sad ... yet I understand fully.
Taigu and I have been wanting for some time to recognize certain long time and beloved members of this community in a special way. There are some special folks around this place ... loving, caring, wise, sincere ... who seem to naturally embody many of the qualities of a Zen Priest and are so important to our Treeleaf Community.
Simply as a symbol and token of our respect and caring for them, we thought to invite such individuals to undertake an Honorary "Shukke Tokudo" Homeleaving Ordination, to be recognized as a Novice Zen Priest. Although called "honorary", this Homeleaving Ordination would be side-by-side and just the same as that undertaken by our other Novice Priests (Mongen, Shohei, Fugen, Dosho, Myozan and, soon, Kyonin and Yugen), and the individual would be invited (although not all may wish to go so far) to participate together with the other Novice Priests in Training for the role of Priest. The person so undertaking Ordination would be a Novice Priest here at Treeleaf, no different from the others. They would be expected to uphold the same ethical standards and role of Serving Others as any Zen Priest but, knowing these people, we have few concerns there.
This is actually an old Tradition in Japan and China (and other Buddhist countries) where Teachers ... even the Buddha ... from time to time would offer Ordination to a person simply out of respect although the person might not now be able or wishing thereafter to undertake the full calling of priest.
The person we have invited this time is our dear SHOKAI ... RICHARD! He has accepted. A funeral director of many years experience, he has already devoted much of his life to helping people in times of crisis where most of us would be afraid to tread. A member of this community for several years, even today he can be found offering caring and touching words to all of us ...
I hope you will join us all in congratulating him. We anticipate that he will join in the upcoming Shukke Tokudo Homeleaving Ceremony for Yugen and Kyonin, now planned for the last week in May. You can read more about that, and about what "Shukke Tokudo" Homeleaving means here at Treeleaf, in this Thread: