Our Treeleaf "Homeleaving" Ordination, Held Simultaneously in Japan and America
I am content to announce that our Treeleaf Sangha conducted a "Shukke Tokudo" Homeleaving Ordination Ceremony
this week in the traditional manner, with the Preceptor (Jundo Cohen) in Japan and our new Novice-Priests in Austin, Texas and Rochester, New York.
Face-to-Face, Heart-to-Heart ... expressing all Being-Time-Space in the Ten Directions, in the presence of the Buddhas and Ancestors ... sentient beings connected by audio-visual media via the internet ... allowing this ceremony to be performed simultaneously on two continents, witnessed by a Sangha scattered to six continents
... beyond all thought of 'here' 'there' 'now' 'then'. At the end of the Ceremony, our new Novices, Taido Shinkai and Shudo Dosho, also formally welcomed their brother, Myozan Kodo of Dublin, Ireland, who was Ordained by Rev. Taigu Turlur at our Retreat in Brussels last December. They join our Novices, Fugen, Mongen and Shohei, who were Ordained in 2010 at a Ceremony conducted simultaneously in Japan, Sweden, Germany and Canada. As Master Dogen has written in Shobogenzo Zazenshin
, "Neither value the remote nor disparage what is remote. Be accustomed and intimate with the remote. Neither disparage what is close, nor value the close. Be accustomed and intimate with the close. Do not treat your eyes lightly, and do not attach great importance to your eyes. And do not attach great importance to your ears, and do not treat your ears lightly. Just make your ears and your eyes sharp and clear.
" Dogen writes in Shobogenzo-Menju, Face-To-Face
, "By bowing down in respect to the Face of Shakyamuni Buddha and by transferring the Eye of Shakyamuni Buddha to our own eyes, we will have transferred our eyes to the Eye of Buddha. Ours will be the very Eye and Face of Buddha....
Please watch a short film (about 16 minutes) of our Ceremony
Although I refer to our new Novice-Trainees as "the Class of 2012", this is not a "graduation" but a "commencement"! The real test, and our responsibility, is their individual training and education as clergy, ministers and potential teachers which begins now.
Training will combine old ways and some very new ways transcending barriers. We expect the training period will require several years, and there is no promise or expectation of an outcome. The “Goalless Goal” is simply the creation of priests who have profoundly penetrated into the way of Zazen and the Teachings, who are ethical, who can serve well the community and people who come to them for guidance, and who embody the ways of their Lineage. No corners can be cut, and nothing should be rushed, for we would risk giving birth to clergy and teachers who are ill equipped, ill informed and ill prepared for their roles. The core objective of any method of Ordination and Training is, purely and simply, the nurturing of caring, devoted, ethical, gifted, Wise and Compassionate … dare such be said, Realized-Realizing … Soto Zen Buddhist Clergy dedicated to saving all sentient beings, good spiritual friends and teachers of the Sangha, knowledgable in our History and Traditions (both our Traditions as traditionally practiced and our Traditions as re-expressed and evolving for new times and settings).
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 monk.” Today, most Zen priests in Japan and the West practice are also husbands, wives, parents which, in keeping with changes in cultures and society, has done much to bring Buddhism out from behind monastery walls. 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 a way, we find the Home that can never be left, take to the Way that cannot be taken. That openness is at the Heart of our Treeleaf Sangha, a Soto Zen Sangha which honors each place and time … in a child's nursery, an office or factory, a cave, a monastery, hospital or hospice room …
as a sacred place and space, Buddhaland, the place and time for Timeless Practice, a Holy Ritual.
This is an important moment for any Buddhist Sangha, and a time for celebration. Congratulations to our new Novice-Priests as they undertake training!
Gassho, Jundo Cohen,
Treeleaf Sangha, a Soto Zen Sangha