The time has again arrived for our annual JUKAI CEREMONY at Treeleaf Sangha ... being held today, Sunday, January 12th 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 link below from shortly before such time:
Our 17 Preceptees come together simultaneously from 8 countries (from Sweden to Mexico to Slovenia) 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.