For a long time I have been looking for a way to reach out to Japanese people who don't think of a temple as a place one just "drops in" (unless one has dropped dead, of course!). Also, western people are so busy these days ... hustling back and forth in their cars. Is there a better way to reach them? Can we catch folks for a bit of Practice and Precepts on the way to work, dropping off the kids at school, or the 7-11 to pick up a carton of milk, with all the convenience of the local Yoga studio?
So, Taigu and I have agreed to a new venture for Treeleaf, the first of its kind anywhere (as far as we know) ... the "Drive-Thru/Walk-Up Zendo & One Minute Jukai!" We will open the first out of a little window overlooking one of the busy sidewalks of the Ginza in downtown Tokyo, where hundreds of thousands of Japanese walk past each day (thank you to my friend, Mr. Tanahashi, for donating the space and use of his 'walk up' window. He has a little dry cleaning establishment, and so I thought we could offer Jukai for folk''s Karmic stains while he deals with peoples' tomato sauce stains). We are inspired by various "Drive in/Walk Up" Churches and wedding chapels that one now finds all over the US, especially in Las Vegas. They bring religion to the masses! We already catch so much flack for our "online Jukai/Ordinations" around Treeleaf, that Taigu and I figured this is just the next logical step ... Why not, what the hell!
The most exciting aspect of this is what I call the "One Minute Jukai". Passers by would be offered the chance to undertake the Buddhist Precepts in just a minute of their time (I have been practicing how to do the entire Jukai ceremony at high speed, like an actioneer! Oh, I had to cut some corners ... like all that bowing and such ... but the 16 Bodhisattva Precepts are still there, a Precept every 4 seconds!) We have written material printed to briefly explain what we are doing ... all the good luck it will bring, including business and romantic success (sex sells, so long as not misused!). Every recipient will receive a little paper Rakusu (Cloth is cost prohibitive, and I found a company that makes those bibs one sometimes finds in lobster restaurants and, with a couple of snips of the scissors, they proved to be EXCELLENT Rakusu).
Eventually, I would like to see a drive in/drive thru Zendo in America and the UK, where people can sit Zazen without even needing to get out of their cars!
One thing about the "Drive Thru Jukai" Window is that folks will be able to come back as often as they wish ... every day if needed! I think we would also offer one of those stamp cards like they have at the Subway sandwich shop ... something like "Take 10 Jukai, Get One Free"! (Ah, did I mention there will be a small charge for this? Yes, the Ginza is expensive! It is all part of our new policy around here of accepting donations! I need to get Treeleaf's budget into the black before our shares go public!)
And for regular customers, we are even going to offer "Presto Priest Ordinations" ... with all the tax benefits that go with that. Of course, that costs a bit more than the Jukai.
What do you think?
Here, by the way, is a little mock-up I worked up of what our "Buddha Window, Sit On The Run" will look like ...
We hope to have it up and running by next April 1st!
Gassho, Jundo and Taigu (always thinking of the next great idea in Zen!)