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Thread: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

  1. #1

    ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Dear All,

    I am very content to make this announcement, on behalf of Taigu and myself, and ask everyone sitting with our Sangha to join in its celebration.

    From time to time, after undertaking Zen practice for many years, a person may feel in their heart a certain calling. They may wish to train in our traditions and embody them in order to keep this way alive into the next generation as clergy. They may feel a calling within themselves to live as a servant and minister to the community, to the Sangha and to all living beings.

    Traditionally, in India, China, Japan and the other Buddhist countries of Asia, one was expected to leave one’s home and family behind in order to begin the necessary training and practice of an “apprentice”. Thus, the ancient ceremony of ordination in Buddhism became known as Shukke Tokudo, “Leaving Home to Take the Way”. Now, in modern Japan and in the West, one of the great changes in the nature of Buddhist clergy has been that most of us function more as “ministers” than “monks”, with family and children, often with outside jobs as “Right Livelihood” supporting us, while ministering to a community of parishioners. This, in keeping with changes in cultures and society, has done much to bring Buddhism out from behind monastery walls. While, now, we may be living in a monastic setting for periods of weeks or months (and thus can be called “monks” during such times), we then return to the world beyond monastery walls, where these teachings have such relevance for helping people in this ordinary life. Thus, the term “leaving home” has come to have a wider meaning, of “leaving behind” greed, anger, ignorance, the harmful emotions and attachments that fuel so much of this world, in order to find the “True Home” we all share. In such way, we find that Home that can never be left, take to the Way that cannot be taken.

    Someone’s undertaking “Shukke Tokudo” is not a “raising up” of their position in the Sangha, it is not an honor or “promotion” into some exalted status, not by any meaning. Far from it, it is a lowering of oneself in offering to the community, much as all of us sometimes deeply bow upon the ground in humility, raising up others and the whole world above our humbled heads.



    It is to volunteer and offer oneself as the lowest ‘sailor on the ship’ at the beck and call of the passengers' well-being and needs, a nurse to help clean soiled linens, a brother or sister to sacrifice oneself for a family, a friend offering to help carry a burden. One must be committed primarily to serve and benefit others, and one must not undertake such a road for one’s own benefit, praise or reward.

    What is more, the undertaking of “Shukke Tokudo” is not the end of the road of training, not by any meaning. Far from it, it is but the first baby steps. Perhaps, years down the road, the person will find that that they still have the inner calling to continue this path … and, perhaps, years down the road, they may have embodied this Tradition sufficiently to continue it and be certified as full “priest” and a teacher … but there is no guaranty of any of that. For this reason, one undertaking “Home Leaving” is not yet recognized in the Zen world as truly a fully ordained “priest” for many years, and is called an “Unsui”, meaning “clouds and water”. The best translation in English is “apprentice priest” or “priest trainee”. Perhaps, years down the road, some trainees will be felt to have embodied these traditions sufficiently in order to function independently as teachers … but not necessarily. For now, they are just school children expected to learn … with the future not assured. (Of course, we are all beginners, all children … all learning from each other … teachers learning from students too).

    We hope that, in the coming years, other people will feel this same calling. It must be by mutual decision. It is not something that should be rushed into, nor rushed through. Although people are all different, maybe a good time to first consider such a thing would be only after practicing for 5 years or longer, and then it should be deeply thought about (and non-thought about) for longer still before first taking on the responsibilities of being an apprentice student-priest.

    For now, Taigu and I are pleased to announce that Shohei (Dirk), Hans and Fugen will be our first “class”. Perhaps, it would be better to say “our first test subjects”. The reason is that, given the nature of our Sangha, the coming years of training will have to be done in some traditional ways and some very new, innovative ways. If anyone wishes to download and read a very long and detailed statement of the ‘goalless goals’ of training that these three are expected to follow and come to embody … here it is (33 pages, PDF).

    http://sites.google.com/site/jundotr...edirects=0&d=1

    These “Treeleaf Sangha Guidelines for Training Soto Zen Buddhist Clergy” are based, as closely as we can, upon guidelines for priest training established by the The Soto Zen Buddhist Association (SZBA) of North America. The process of training, with no guaranty that it can ever come to flower, will take several years. As our Guidelines state:


    These Guideline seek to address four main topics for individuals wishing to train as clergy and teachers of Soto Zen Buddhism within the Treeleaf Sangha:

    1. Purpose – What are we training priests for? How should a priest trainee gain necessary skills to function when out on their own, and how are they expected to function and conduct themselves both during and after training?

    2. Standards – How do we train priests? What do we expect from a priest after ordination? What areas of work are essential?

    3. Elements – What are the specific activities, events, and processes that make up priest training?

    4. Stages – What do we expect of a person before ordination (shukke tokudo)? What, if any stages should priests pass through after ordination?

    However, these Guidelines, and our Sangha’s program of training, are necessarily works in progress, and an ongoing endeavour, and thus subject to great experimentation, constant adjustment, flexibility and change throughout their unfolding.


    VISION:

    The purpose of priest training is to prepare individuals for a life dedicated to exemplifying the Dharma with integrity via empowering them to extend Buddhist teachings and Soto Zen practice out in the world, all in keeping with the traditional teachings of Soto Zen Buddhism and the philosophy of our Lineage.

    Priest training encourages the continuing unfolding of the Bodhisattva ideal characterized by the Six Paramitas of giving, ethical conduct, patience, energy, meditation, and wisdom. Yet the heart and flowering of our way is always Shikantaza, sitting and moving in stillness without grasping or rejecting any of the constantly arising and changing phenomena of life as-they-are, the life practice of the Buddhas and Ancestors manifesting and realizing the Genjô-kôan, the fundamental point actualized through this life-practice

    Although much of the training and experience-gathering to be acquired, by necessity in our Lineage, must occur at a distance, with some ingenuity and in small steps and pieces, all must be part of an unbroken whole. It is the quality of the results which matter most, and the maintenance of integrity throughout, more than the traditional road followed to arrive at the destination. In this training, both teacher and student must use care, employ great effort and creativity, overcome any hurdles and pay constant attention to detail such that no aspect of training is neglected.

    Training, sometimes in a residential setting and sometimes not, sometimes in a group with others and sometimes by the student's own endeavors, will be based on the following perspectives …


    The period of formation that follows upon novice ordination (shukke tokudo) may continue for any number of years prior to possible (although never inevitable) Dharma Transmission, but truly continues as a lifelong endeavor that will sustain individuals dedicated to exemplifying the Dharma and the the Bodhisattva ideal. Completing formal priest training will mean that an individual has internalized the tradition, is capable of transmitting it, and vows to devote her or himself to a life of continuous practice and service.The individual’s dedication to the elements of priest training must enable him or her to maintain a regular, disciplined zazen practice, to instruct and guide others in their practice, to present and discuss the history and teachings of Buddhism and Soto Zen, to perform services and ceremonies in the Soto style as appropriate and required in the circumstance, and to actively nurture and serve both Sangha and the larger community and society.

    In addition, priest training must make the individual aware of the highest ethical standards which must always be maintained by a member of the clergy, thereby assisting him or her in maintaining such standards in his or her personal life at all times. Training will also enable the individual to demonstrate personal qualities that inspire trust and confidence and encourage others to practice. Finally, training will enable the individual to clearly understand – and communicate to others – the relationship of Zen teaching and practice to everyday life.

    We hope that you will join us in wishing Shohei, Hans and Fugen well in their start on this long undertaking. What is more, we hope that they will be merely the first among other folks to follow in the years to come. We anticipate that the formal ceremony of “Shukke Tokudo” will occur late in the summer. As in all we undertake in our Sangha, the ceremony will not be limited to a specific location, much as our annual Jukai here at Treeleaf … and we hope that you will all join us for the ceremony when the time comes.

    Gassho, Jundo (for Taigu too)
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-22-2012 at 03:31 AM.

  2. #2

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Shohei, Hans and Fugen-
    Thank you for your practice.
    Gassho,
    Joshin

  3. #3

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Dear Jundo and Taigu

    What a great event. I always have looked to these folks as the strong base of our Sangha, and worried when one was not visible on the forum from time to time.

    Congratulations to you and Taigu and of course to Dirk, Hans and Fugen for their commitment.

    Jim

  4. #4
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    w00t!

    *gassho* Fugen, Hans, and (pleasant surprise!) Dirk!

    This Sangha seems to be growing exponentially in depth. First Taigu - a Yang to Jundo's Yin (or vice versa?), and now three candidates on the priest path!

    I'm so grateful to be part of this Sangha!

    Chet

  5. #5

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Dirk, Hans and Fugen - thank you for your commitment, I join with everyone offering encouragement in your training,

    gassho,
    Michael

  6. #6

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Thank you very much for eveything you do for the sangha....

    Gassho,

    Adam

  7. #7
    Treeleaf Unsui Kyrillos's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    I am so happy that this growth of our Sangha is taking place, and for the Going Forth of our brothers Shohei, Hans and Fugen.It is a healthy sign for both them and Treeleaf Sangha. As I daily dedicate merit to the health and developement of the Sangha, so now I will be specifically dedicate merit and my personal prayers for our first clergy class. Service is a wonderful life, even after my length of time "under vows" I find the opportunity to serve each day.

    Thank you for you service! and thank you Jundo and Taigu for seeing that the time is ripe for this and for the giving of your service to the training of the years to come.

    Gassho, Gassho, Gassho,

    seishin Kyrill

  8. #8

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Thank-you all three.
    I am humbled by your commitment to serve and learn.
    I am one of those (many-I suspect) who have little to say, but benefit greatly from the Sangha.
    Thanks to Jundo and Taigu for again increasing the depth of this place and, as always, serving - Teaching.
    Gassho,

    m

  9. #9

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Hi everyone!
    :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: WOW! That is a HUGE news! I'm just SO happy for our Sangha! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    This is a new step for our Sangha and I'm very happy for all of us! Especially for Hans, Fugen and Shohei of course! But also for Jundo and Taigu, I assume this is a big step for them too!
    Thanks to each for their humble commitment!

    gassho,
    Luis/Jinyu

  10. #10

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    What a true blessing! Congratulations and a big hug to all involved!

    Gassho,

    SZ

  11. #11

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Congratulations to Dirk, Hans, and Fugen.

    Much work lies ahead . . . I'm sure you will handle it with wisdom, grace, and compassion.

    Bows to to your hard work,

    Eika

  12. #12

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations


    Congratulations ! I wish you all the best on this path !

    Gassho

    Ensho

  13. #13

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Hi.

    _/_
    Thanks to all.
    The feeling is mutual.

    When the issue was raised (two days before christmas...) i was all for it since i feel it is an extension of what i already do here.
    And here we are.
    Same person, different clothing (although not different) and soon a little less hair :lol: ...
    Hopefully i can continue giving you some thoughts and smiles.

    But in the end all i have to say is "life is our temple, it's all good practice".
    Thats all thats matters.

    May the force be with you
    Fugen

  14. #14

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Hello fellow Treeleafers,

    thank you so much for your wonderful words of encouragement. Please excuse me for not interacting more in this forum...once I get going I am horribly opinionated, but I know you guys and girls will knock some sense into me should I cross the bullshit rubicon once too many times.

    If any of you guys ever come close to the Rhineland in Germany, gimme a call and we'll have some tea.

    Gassho,

    Hans

  15. #15

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Thank you guys for taking this "one giant leap for us all!"
    This sangha is amazing. I am so fortunate to be here
    among so many very wonderful people. Exciting times!

    gasho
    ghop

  16. #16

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyrillos
    I am so happy that this growth of our Sangha is taking place, and for the Going Forth of our brothers Shohei, Hans and Fugen.It is a healthy sign for both them and Treeleaf Sangha. As I daily dedicate merit to the health and developement of the Sangha, so now I will be specifically dedicate merit and my personal prayers for our first clergy class. Service is a wonderful life, even after my length of time "under vows" I find the opportunity to serve each day.

    Thank you for you service! and thank you Jundo and Taigu for seeing that the time is ripe for this and for the giving of your service to the training of the years to come.

    Gassho, Gassho, Gassho,

    seishin Kyrill
    And Kyrill ...

    You also have some news you told me about the other day. It may be a good time for you to mention it here too.

    Gassho, J

  17. #17
    Treeleaf Unsui Kyrillos's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Jundo,

    Thank you for the go-ahead with this, so that in some small way I too can participate in the joy of this moment in history. I had explained to Jundo a short while ago about a wonderful blessing I am about to experience and he asked that I hold off mentioning it until now.

    On June 20 this year I will be receiving Tokudo in the Chan tradition, lineage of Hui Neng, into the Order of the Lotus Blossom. This order was also just recently formed by Ven. Fajian Shakya, of the Lotus Zen Temple in Lincoln, Nebraska. Ven Fajian is a 30 years acquaintance of mine, who has traveled much the same path as I have over the years, with the exception that he has given his full attention to Buddhism, having put aside his Christian priesthood some years ago.

    The Order of the Lotus Blossom is a "Zen Buddhist Brother-Sisterhood that consists of both lay and ordained members, but not exclusively monastics". I will become his first ordinand to the Order.

    I must tell all of you that for me this is an outward manifestation of my inward commitment to unite Christian/Benedictine spiritual tradition and practice with Buddhist spiritual tradition and practice in my monastic life. It is a physical and spiritual expression of my determination to fullfill the Vow: "Dharma gates are coutless, I vow to wake to them" or "To perceive Reality,though Reality is boundless."

    I know that there are some in my tradition, both Benedictines and Jesuits, who have done a similar thing and are actively teaching as Sensei. I only know, for certain, of one other monk who incorporated another Eastern tradition solely to the monastic life : Bede Griffiths. For me this will truely be "breathing with both lungs".


    Gassho,

    Seishin Kyrill

  18. #18

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    That is also a big news! Congratulations Seishin!

    gassho,
    Luis/Jinyu

  19. #19
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Congratulations Dirk, Hans, Fugen and Kyrill! I am very happy for all of you! (I have a big grin on my face as I type this )

    Thank You Jundo and Taigu for all that you do for this sangha.

    Sincerely,

    Ron

  20. #20
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Gassho to Hans, Dirk, Fugen, Kyrill, Jundo, Taigu, and everyone else on this great news!

  21. #21

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Very good news for everyone.
    It's nice to see treeleaf blossom and change too.

    Gassho

    undo

  22. #22

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Problems come in Threes!

    Three Marx Brothers.
    Three Blind Mice.
    Micky, Donald,and Goofy.

    Beware! :twisted:



    ....oh.....pfft!..congrats!

  23. #23

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Dirk, Hans, Fugen and Kyrill Congratulations.

    Hans, Dirk, Fugen i am very happy for you i hope it will be challenging and inspiring for you. may you experience hardships, ease, sadness and joy on your path and take it all just as it is. i think that your commitment is an inspiration and something i have been wondering since the first Jukai, but it is something i can not allow myself to undertake at this moment as i feel i am not yet ripe for it ( maybe in about a year or maybe even less ).
    Thank you for your tireless effort and commitment.

    Kyrill, it seems like a great idea to combine the to traditions. i only wish someone would ever do it with Judaism. i remember once i was in a lecture by the dalai lama where he told that he once was in a seminar with priest from the christian tradition and the studied each others faith. the thing i remember most is that he didn't make judgments about the other faith, and went as far admitting that he doesn't know which faith is right and that he didn't care which one it was.

    Gassho, Dojin (forever your brother).

  24. #24

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Dirk, Hans, Fugen, and Kyrill ... congratulations. My best wishes are yours.
    Jundo and Taigu thank you for your tireless effort and dedication to teaching and growing our Sangha.
    gassho zak

  25. #25

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Whoa! This is big news! Congratulations to Dirk, Hans, and Fugen! Thanks to Jundo and Taigu for offering such wonderful opportunities for all of us at Treeleaf! And congratulation to Kyrill as well!

    Deep gassho,
    Jison/BrianW

  26. #26
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Congratulations to my brothers in the dharma, Shohei, Fugen, and Hans (and to Kyrill!)...to head out into the unknown for the service of others is an honored path...shall we all realize the enlightened way...together.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  27. #27
    Senior Member Kent's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Extraordinary news! Congratulations and best wishes to Shohei, Fugan, Hans and Kyrill. Thank you to Jundo and Taigu as well. Gassho Kent

  28. #28

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyrillos
    Jundo,

    Thank you for the go-ahead with this, so that in some small way I too can participate in the joy of this moment in history. I had explained to Jundo a short while ago about a wonderful blessing I am about to experience and he asked that I hold off mentioning it until now.

    On June 20 this year I will be receiving Tokudo in the Chan tradition, lineage of Hui Neng, into the Order of the Lotus Blossom. This order was also just recently formed by Ven. Fajian Shakya, of the Lotus Zen Temple in Lincoln, Nebraska. Ven Fajian is a 30 years acquaintance of mine, who has traveled much the same path as I have over the years, with the exception that he has given his full attention to Buddhism, having put aside his Christian priesthood some years ago.

    The Order of the Lotus Blossom is a "Zen Buddhist Brother-Sisterhood that consists of both lay and ordained members, but not exclusively monastics". I will become his first ordinand to the Order.

    I must tell all of you that for me this is an outward manifestation of my inward commitment to unite Christian/Benedictine spiritual tradition and practice with Buddhist spiritual tradition and practice in my monastic life. It is a physical and spiritual expression of my determination to fullfill the Vow: "Dharma gates are coutless, I vow to wake to them" or "To perceive Reality,though Reality is boundless."

    I know that there are some in my tradition, both Benedictines and Jesuits, who have done a similar thing and are actively teaching as Sensei. I only know, for certain, of one other monk who incorporated another Eastern tradition solely to the monastic life : Bede Griffiths. For me this will truely be "breathing with both lungs".


    Gassho,

    Seishin Kyrill
    You sir, are a great teacher... Deep bows to you. Very very happy for you!!!(and thank you for the dedication too!)

    Thank you to all for the congrats, though I understand it should also be accompanied by commiserations too
    A we are quite blessed with wonderful sangha to learn and grow with(lol, and I have a lot of growing to do ), Thank you!

    Gassho
    Shohei

  29. #29
    Senior Member KellyRok's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Hello all,

    What wonderful news all around! My best wishes and heartfelt gratitude go to you Fugen, Shohei, Hans, and Seishin. Each of you is already a teacher and a friend...I am looking forward to learning more from each of you.

    This truly is a special Sangha and I'm so happy to be part of it with all of you. ~ with tears of happiness in my eyes.

    bows to you all,

    Kelly - Jinmei

  30. #30

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    i know it has nothing to do with anything, but what Kelly wrote made me think of something i felt like saying.
    even though my life is hectic at times and i dont find the time or energy to read everything that is posted and respond. each time i come to visit this sangha and see all of you i do feel it is a kind of safe place, a home away from home if you will.

    Thank you.

    Gassho, Daniel/Dojin.

  31. #31
    disastermouse
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Quote Originally Posted by Dojin
    each time i come to visit this sangha and see all of you i do feel it is a kind of safe place, a home away from home if you will.


    This.

    Chet

  32. #32

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Quote Originally Posted by Dojin
    i know it has nothing to do with anything, but what Kelly wrote made me think of something i felt like saying.
    even though my life is hectic at times and i dont find the time or energy to read everything that is posted and respond. each time i come to visit this sangha and see all of you i do feel it is a kind of safe place, a home away from home if you will.

    Thank you.

    Gassho, Daniel/Dojin.
    Hi.

    Yes.
    There's no place like home.
    (now repeat it three times and click your heels together and you'll be there...)


    And seishin, deep bows.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  33. #33
    Member shogyo's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    congratulations to you all in having the opportunity to follow this path

    gassho
    shogyo

  34. #34
    Senior Member Silva's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Bonheur pour la Sangha,
    bonheur pour Jundo and Taigu,
    bonheur pour Shohei, Hans and Fugen
    et pour moi qui suis arrivée pour partager
    ce grand bonheur avec vous,

    avec toute ma gratitude
    Sylvie

  35. #35
    Stephanie
    Guest

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    To be honest, I have mixed feelings about this.

    On the one hand, it is inspiring to see this sangha continue to develop. I have strong confidence in the power of Treeleaf to function as a full sangha.

    On the other hand, I'm a bit baffled as to what the criteria are for those set to become 'Treeleaf priests.' I mean no offense to anyone, but think this is important enough not to censor myself: I don't see what Shohei, Fugen, and Hans have in common as Dharma students or Treeleaf members. Shohei's commitment to Treeleaf, dedicated practice, and patient and kind demeanor allow me to easily see him in a priest role. But Hans and Fugen? Sorry guys, I mean no disrespect--you both seem like good people, from what I can tell. But Hans' involvement here seems minimal to me, and after reading many of his posts, I'm not sure I have any idea who Fugen is as a real person.

    This is the difficulty, and one of my reservations, about an Internet sangha, that it is easy to be casual, half-engaged about it. One might drop in every once in a while to post a comment, or one might be a persistent presence but not be engaged on any real or personal level. Lord knows there's a lot of nerds out there who like to imagine themselves as 'senseis.' How do we judge sincerity on this format? How does one demonstrate commitment to the sangha? Post a lot? Something isn't right about that either. Anyone with an opinion might be moved to post a lot of words... trust me, I know :lol: There's also a concern of... how many priests are we going to train here at Treeleaf? I imagine an absurd scenario where eventually, half the people posting here are priests or priests in training... priests 'priesting' at priests... like a Zen nerd convention... like some bizarre parody of modern Zen written by Beckett.

    All this said, I trust Jundo and Taigu enough to be optimistic that this experiment could work. Treeleaf has certainly functioned more powerfully in my own life as a source of teaching, guidance, and practice encouragement than I could have ever imagined. I am sorry if my words offend anyone, but it comes out of my respect for this place and the people who share their lives here. I want this place to continue to develop and grow, and to do so in a way that works and does not dilute the practice or teaching here.

  36. #36

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie
    To be honest, I have mixed feelings about this.
    .
    Hi Steph,

    These are all legitimate questions. I guess all we can do is check back in 10 years or so and see how it turns out ... like a marriage or a baby or any part of life. We are trying to do this with sincerity, not lightly. Of course, "the best laid plans."

    "Shukke" Ordination is not the instant making of a teacher or priest ... it is merely opening the door to a process that has the potential to result in that down the road. The Buddha ordained hundreds and thousands of folks ... and thousands of folks occupied seats in ancient Chan monasteries. Many many folks have been ordained in the West, some who stayed with the process and some who did not. Without that, this Tradition would not have continued until today. Not only ... in fact, very few ... are now known to us or eventually became active as teachers. Maybe out of 10 or 100 people ordained, only a few will stick with it or 'have what it takes' to eventually be a teacher down the road (I have no exact statistics on this).

    My criteria (and I think Taigu shares this too) are very simple. I look for someone who seems to have unusual dedication to the Buddhist path, the willingness to learn and master certain traditions and teachings so that they may be continued to future generations, some good insight into the meaning of this Way, potential (emphasis on potential) to act as a teacher or leader of students in the future or to serve in some other role (not every priest needs to be a teacher, and some can be translators, nurses, hospice workers, counselors ...), Wisdom and Compassion, and good honest character.

    As I said ... let's see how it turns out in 10 years.

    Gassho, J

  37. #37

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Hi!
    Thank you Stephanie and Jundo !
    Jundo's answer make me think about something I was speaking with a friend monk in our Soto tradition.
    Most monks and nuns I now in this tradition,(just must add I'm in Belgium and most of them are from the AZI Sangha), are people truly practicing Buddhadharma and really dedicated to this path ... but a very very few of them are engaged in any kind of "teaching thing", I mean barely none of them is going to be teacher.
    They never are said to be priests. For example, a know a very few of them who can run anything else than a zazen group, I mean no mariage, or funeral... except a few "heads" who received proper initiation from japanese monks, the majority of them don't, and don't need to .
    Maybe it is also a problem within this Sangha where transmission of the Dharma is something very vague that a very few had. (In fact except a very few, all the others where in Japan or in the US to get the Dharma transmission from another teacher).

    My point is are we in this Sangha in a more "oriented to teaching" kind of thing, or will you also give tokudo to people dedicated in to the path but not willing to become a teacher. I ask this because, all the monks I know are engaged in a lot of kinds of things, they often guide a sitting group or are dedicated in their local communities (a lot of ecological prevention and those things...) but are not in any kind of race to the Dharma transmission.

    I understand that we also will need teachers i this community, I feel we are at the beginning of something, and that is also why Treeleaf is such a special place. That a lot of time and work is needed to form people. But will you later give tokudo to people willing to dedicate themselves to this path but in another way than being teachers?

    Anyway, I'm a bit long, but Jundo's post was in a so related with the talk I had this morning that I couldn't resist :lol:

    gassho,
    Luis/Jinyu
    ps: Just hope my English is not too bad on this because I'm exhausted and I didn't read back my post :?

  38. #38

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    .

  39. #39

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Quote Originally Posted by Undo
    I look for someone who seems to have unusual dedication to the Buddhist path, the willingness to learn and master certain traditions and teachings so that they may be continued to future generations, some good insight into the meaning of this Way, potential (emphasis on potential) to act as a teacher or leader of students in the future or to serve in some other role (not every priest needs to be a teacher, and some can be translators, nurses, hospice workers, counselors ...), Wisdom and Compassion, and good honest character.
    That sounds like everyone
    If only that were so. :? Although it is so for many folks.

    We all are/have Buddha-Nature ... that much is true.

  40. #40

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    I think the Point Stephanie raised is very good. i must admit that if i think of it... it might be a good question whether people are fit for the hard and important choice and dedication to such a path. but as jundo said many drop in the middle and some never become teachers.
    i do have a belief that the people here at treeleaf are truly here because they want to and i think that if anyone wants to do such a think as to be ordained and begin such a path they should think really well before they decide upon it, and i trust the members of treeleaf to not take such things lightly... the same as i trust Jundo and Taigu to keep thier finger on the pulse of this sangha and not allow such things to be taken lightly.

    Gassho, Dojin.

  41. #41

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Hi.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie
    To be honest, I have mixed feelings about this.

    On the one hand, it is inspiring to see this sangha continue to develop. I have strong confidence in the power of Treeleaf to function as a full sangha.

    On the other hand, I'm a bit baffled as to what the criteria are for those set to become 'Treeleaf priests.' I mean no offense to anyone, but think this is important enough not to censor myself: I don't see what Shohei, Fugen, and Hans have in common as Dharma students or Treeleaf members. Shohei's commitment to Treeleaf, dedicated practice, and patient and kind demeanor allow me to easily see him in a priest role. But Hans and Fugen? Sorry guys, I mean no disrespect--you both seem like good people, from what I can tell. But Hans' involvement here seems minimal to me, and after reading many of his posts, I'm not sure I have any idea who Fugen is as a real person.
    Stephanie, Thank you.
    This makes all this worth the while.
    Let me talk a little about the dharma marxbrothers.
    When the issue was first brought up, Jundo mentioned there would be others with me, and there were some that i could think of, and those included shohei and hans.
    We're about to become "cloud and water" and it's a good way to describe us i think.
    Shohei is water, soothing but can be hard if need be.
    Hans is cloud, no question being high up there being good at the "higher things", watching over us and i'll be the and.
    But as i said earlier in the thread, this doesn't make us 'holier than thou' or anything.
    And it certainly doesn't make us more enlightened!! :shock:
    We're nothing special.
    We're here, and if you want to talk to us, we're available, more or less all of us at the sundayteaparty each sunday.
    Otherwise, give us a call.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  42. #42

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Hi Stephanie,

    I thoroughly enjoyed your honest questions. One quote comes to my mind: "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"

    If we talk/act trash....that's what we do. No matter whether we are ordained, half ordained or fully ordained. If we talk/act in a way beneficial to others, that's what we do.

    Leaving home seems to me to be a lot like marriage in many ways.... you make vows to marry the one you love. One can love just as deeply and be loved in return without any such ceremony and act, but being officially married imposes certain obligations and makes breaking up much less of an option.

    Que sera sera...

    Gassho,

    Hans

  43. #43
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Hi all,

    Leave it to Stephanie to break though the inital glow to ask the hard questions. Bless you and Chet for bringing such an attitude to our sangha! It is a sometimes jarring but welcome attitude that is a perfect counterbalance to those of us who sometimes stay on the sidelines too long.

    I must admit that I am curious about how this process came about and how Shohei, Fugen, and Hans were chosen. Were they approached with this idea? Did they ask for it specifically? It is certainly possible that the specifics are best left to just the teachers and students involved and, if such is the case, it is not my intention to pry loose the answers. But I do think it is a valid question to ask how such things are done generally speaking.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  44. #44

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Wow!

    Gone a few days and come back to this news! Congratulations to all of you! Interesting comments - I am very pleased to see this as means growth for the entire community!

    Congrats again!

    -Jim

  45. #45

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    It is certainly possible that the specifics are best left to just the teachers and students involved and, if such is the case, it is not my intention to pry loose the answers. But I do think it is a valid question to ask how such things are done generally speaking.

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    It is my very limited understanding that it is a mutual agreement that can be initiated by either party. In this case, since we never had it before and Jundo probably didn't want to open the flood gates with a "free beer" sign, he and Taigu had a few folks in mind to ask to be Guinea Pigs.
    As to the question of why them, I imagine that there are many factors that we are unaware of . . . things gleaned in Skypes or other such interactions that prompted Jundo and Taigu to approach them first.
    I think the only downside I forsee is a kind of one-upsmanship in postings on the part of the rest of the Treeleaf sangha to be one of the next ones asked. Not sure how to avoid that, and the various accounts mostly confirm that that kind of competition is common in brick and mortar zendos and monasteries. All part of this experiment I suppose.
    I'm glad that this is happening. Even if I'm never one of the novices, I still think the experiment is necessary. Many compositions start out as simple musical experiments. Some of those experiments fail and are forgotten quickly, but sometimes some very original and beautiful music comes from those experiments.

    Bows to all,
    Eika

  46. #46
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Quote Originally Posted by Eika
    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    It is certainly possible that the specifics are best left to just the teachers and students involved and, if such is the case, it is not my intention to pry loose the answers. But I do think it is a valid question to ask how such things are done generally speaking.

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    It is my very limited understanding that it is a mutual agreement that can be initiated by either party. In this case, since we never had it before and Jundo probably didn't want to open the flood gates with a "free beer" sign, he and Taigu had a few folks in mind to ask to be Guinea Pigs.
    As to the question of why them, I imagine that there are many factors that we are unaware of . . . things gleaned in Skypes or other such interactions that prompted Jundo and Taigu to approach them first.
    I think the only downside I forsee is a kind of one-upsmanship in postings on the part of the rest of the Treeleaf sangha to be one of the next ones asked. Not sure how to avoid that, and the various accounts mostly confirm that that kind of competition is common in brick and mortar zendos and monasteries. All part of this experiment I suppose.
    I'm glad that this is happening. Even if I'm never one of the novices, I still think the experiment is necessary. Many compositions start out as simple musical experiments. Some of those experiments fail and are forgotten quickly, but sometimes some very original and beautiful music comes from those experiments.

    Bows to all,
    Eika
    Although I initially thought it odd that the first candidates would be announced at the same time we find out about the process in the first place, I agree with the "free beer" metaphor and I wouldn't have wanted to be the tech dealing with Jundo's overflowing inbox.

    I'd be lying if I said this kind of thing had never crossed my mind before and it is definitely something I might want to pursue after a long period of well established practice. My only concern going forward would be that the "loud" ones would end up at the front while the "quiet" ones don't get much attention. However, you probably couldn't have found a much "quieter" group. And I mean that in a good way.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  47. #47
    Stephanie
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Hans and Fugen, I appreciate your warm and straightforward fielding of my concerns. I think first and foremost, from what Jundo is saying, a priest is someone present to and fully engaged with the sangha, and I hope to get to know you both better as people and Dharma students as you embark upon this path. I suspect there is much richness in both of you that is yet to be seen!

    I understand that undertaking priest training does not confer some special status. I'm a skeptic by nature and am not even that impressed with Dharma Transmission... I think it's a necessary and useful method of developing teachers, but it's not a perfect system and some real dull-eyed folks have gotten to ascend their own 'Roshi throne' to personal aggrandizement when their teacher bestows upon them what they imagine to be the title of 'Lord of the Universe.' It's comical, really. What do you get, for 'Dharma fame'? The 'respect' of people who project their own crap onto you and want you to be their Mommy, Daddy, etc.? All that matters is the freedom of knowing the truth. That's what I care about in my practice... freedom from my delusions, so I can fully appreciate this fleeting life, to be able to experience love and joy that is not dependent on my limited preferences.

    My concern is that the people who become priests can fill the role well, do it whole-heartedly. Make this place more powerful, make the teaching and support of the community stronger. If the priests are not clearly visible here as strong practitioners, then we run the risk of coming across as the Buddhist equivalent of an online university where it's easier to get a degree but no one really respects it. We already run that risk simply by virtue of being an online sangha.

    While I certainly believe there are unique virtues to 'brick and mortar' sanghas, I do not believe these are as significant as some do. Online interaction has unique strengths and disadvantages. I do not believe 'brick and mortar' automatically equals 'more authentic'; people are equally capable of bullcrap face-to-face. But I do believe it's a bit easier to 'hide' online, to airbrush one's virtual image... and because people don't have to leave home to participate here, there may already be a bit less dedication or commitment. It is not necessarily so, however, and I have great hopes for the capacity of this place as a Dharma training center that knows no geographic bounds (though unfortunately linguistic ones) and allows more open sharing of life experience and issues by sangha members with the entire community. We have a capacity to reach people here that have financial, psychological, or other issues that might have otherwise prevented them from ever setting foot in a 'brick and mortar' sangha. We offer an alternative to people disappointed by their 'brick and mortar' experiences. This place is potentially immeasurably valuable... and also potentially as worthless as a tin penny. I think we should be careful, and set a strong example of how this can be done well.

    We now have the chance to see if "digital transmission" can work. (I don't mean full Dharma transmission only, but also the capacity to train and develop fully capable priests.) I fully believe it can, but only if we are not sloppy about it.

    I hope Shohei, Fugen, and Hans are up to the challenge :wink:

  48. #48

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Shohei, Hans and Fugen - this is a huge commitment and responsibility you have undertaken and I wish you the best in caring for and teaching the dharma. I can't even imagine taking on something like that because I struggle just to keep up with my work and family responsibilities. I enjoy reading and learning from all the Treeleafers and hope that some of my expressions may help in some way.

    Stephanie - this is all so new that nobody really knows where its going. I appreciate many of your perspectives. Thanks.

    /Rich

  49. #49

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Hiyas
    Thank you all for your support and concerns.

    Like any first steps we WILL fall down...we may need some encouragement and correction (of course gentle or not as the situation warrants).This means some helping hand getting back up! Hope you do not mind if imposed upon!
    That said no one is taking this lightly. I agree Steph, on the worry about coming off as some dharma diploma mill, how ever I think if you read the 33 page doc you will see were sticking dang close to the rules and this has not been Treeleaf's/Jundo's/Taigu's/Your/Our intention or goal past or present. I may not be a teacher in this life beyond "Don/t do what Dirk does", but only time will tell. Shukke Tokudo is to celibrate the beginning steps on a path(who can know where it will lead?) not to validate any of us as Something other(like Daddy/Mommy or big pappa smurf).

    We are ALL here to serve and learn.


    Gassho
    Shohei

  50. #50

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Treeleaf “Home-Leaving Ordinations

    Hey Guys,

    It is healthy to talk about all this, and I was expecting that most of these questions would come up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho

    I must admit that I am curious about how this process came about and how Shohei, Fugen, and Hans were chosen. Were they approached with this idea? Did they ask for it specifically? It is certainly possible that the specifics are best left to just the teachers and students involved and, if such is the case, it is not my intention to pry loose the answers. But I do think it is a valid question to ask how such things are done generally speaking.
    I had been speaking to Hans, Shohei and Fugen over the past couple of years, and watching them closely too (they were some of the first folks to join the Sangha when we opened the doors ... and have been here consistently throughout, which I take as one of many signs of some dedication to this Practice) and had gathered, for that and many other reasons, that they each have an exceptional dedication to this Practice, seriousness about this Practice (granted, not always so obvious in Fugen's case! 8) ), some very good qualities as people, and were interested in ordination (in general) somewhere down the road or somehow deepening their connection to this Tradition.

    That is why I approached them with the proposal of "Shukke Tokudo" here, although I feel it was completely a mutual proposal and decision.

    By the way, they are not the only folks around here who have "an exceptional dedication to this Practice ... very good qualities as people, etc. etc." There are many. However, because this is the first time ... and Taigu and I want to see it done right ... we settled on three people as the "test monkeys we will launch into space". 8) Once we learn from this experience (and hopefully it proves itself as worthwhile), there will be others I am sure.

    HOWEVER, Stephanie's comment that "half the people here might end up priests" is not going to happen in any manner. First, it really does take a certain type of person, with a true calling, to consider seriously becoming clergy. Many folks who have the general qualities would, nonetheless, not have personal interest, inner calling or time. It is a big undertaking and hard work. Furthermore, many other folks who "want to get ordained" would be gently dissuaded by Taigu and myself, or (in some other cases) told to wait a few more years, because they frankly don't seem so cut out for it now. So, "mass ordinations" are just not going to happen around here. Not on my watch.

    What's more ... Shukke is just the start of training. It is not becoming a full priest, which is only a potential down the road.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eika
    I think the only downside I forsee is a kind of one-upsmanship in postings on the part of the rest of the Treeleaf sangha to be one of the next ones asked. Not sure how to avoid that, and the various accounts mostly confirm that that kind of competition is common in brick and mortar zendos and monasteries.
    Well, I am pretty good in spotting apple polishing or playing politics, and that would be one of the criteria --not-- considered as a positive. Bullshit is not a plus. A sincere dedication to and love of this Tradition is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    My only concern going forward would be that the "loud" ones would end up at the front while the "quiet" ones don't get much attention.
    No, in fact some of the folks who might have potential in the years to come may be wall flowers (being of few words is so often a good thing in this Practice) but with huge hearts. Some might have some rough edges on the surface, but so much to offer in other ways. Some may have seen a piece of life, ups and downs, and be a bit battle scarred.

    As they say in the "Looking for Love" columns ... "No phonies please, only the sincere need apply".

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie
    I think it's a necessary and useful method of developing teachers, but it's not a perfect system and some real dull-eyed folks have gotten to ascend their own 'Roshi throne'
    Taigu and I feel the same way. We are setting out to do this right and, frankly, better than it has often been done.

    Gassho, J

    PS- Someone asked what to call Shohei, Hans and Fugen after they are ordained as "Priest-Trainees". I would suggest "Shohei, Hans and Fugen".

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