... beginning in September. As always, all festivities will be fully conducted online ...
Treeleaf Sangha (http://www.treeleaf.org) was designed specifically as an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or childcare, work and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online.
Preparations for Jukai include our class study/Sangha discussion group covering, one by one, the meaning of each of the Precepts, as well as the meaning of "Jukai" and of the ceremony itself. As well, Jukai recipients will sew a Rakusu relying on Rev. Taigu's online sewing lessons and our "support each other" Sangha sewing circle.
Through this, it is our hope that the real significance of "Jukai" will be found for each recipient in one's life. For that reason, some folks may wish to join in our preparatory studies and work (such as Precepts Study and Rakusu sewing), but only decide later if they wish the ceremony.
What is more, our Preparations for Jukai will conclude with netcast of OUR "AT HOME" 2-DAY ROHATSU RETREAT (currently scheduled for the weekend of December 3rd & 4th, via live netcast) and the JUKAI CEREMONY in early January. Here is our last one:
All are welcome. A little bit more below on the flavor of "Jukai" and "Ango" at Treeleaf Sangha.
... the Jukai ceremony celebrates and commemorates two facets that must exist quite on their own, apart from the ceremony ... the ceremony itself works no magic, and merely marks their necessary arising:
First, there is the vow and aspiration to live in accord with the Precepts. All the Precepts come down to our seeking, as we can, to live in a manner harmless to ourself and to others, and healthful and helpful to ourself and others, knowing that ultimately there is no separation between ourself and others. If we are living already in such manner ... seeking as we can do be a good father/mother/son/daughter/friend/human being ... then (in my view) we have already "undertaken the Precepts", and the ceremony merely commemorates that fact. However, the ceremony also signifies our vow to continue to do so in the future.
Second, the Jukai ceremony stands for our commitment to continue Zen Practice, our commitment to the wider Buddhist Sangha ... , and our linking ourself symbolically to all the Buddhas and Ancestors, and all the other many people, who have walked the Way before us in the past. Again, if one already feels this in one's heart, then the ceremony merely celebrates that fact, I believe.
Thus, the ceremony itself will not "make you into a Buddhist". If one does not feel that one "is a Buddhist" already, then the ceremony will do nothing but kill some time in your life. On the other hand, if one has developed a feeling within that one has trust in our Way, in the Buddhas and Ancestors and their Teachings, and will continue to seek to make those the foundation of one's own life ... then one is already a "Buddhist" whether one has the ceremony and receives a robe, fancy name or not.
So, if that is the case, why bother with the ceremony at all? ...
Jukai is a heartfelt promise that one makes to oneself (and the universe and to other members of the Sangha ... each not separate, by the way) that one aspires to study, practice and live in accord with a certain philosophy. One should be willing, always, to repent one's past harmful actions and to seek a path for the future which avoids harm. Thus, it is appropriate to undertake Jukai whether at the beginning of that aspiration or after many years of already having pursued the aspiration. Because Jukai does represent a vow to seek to remain within the Precepts although our human nature might push us to angry or greedy, harmful actions again and again, such aspirations and vows can and should be renewed at any time, and from time to time. There is no limit to the number of times or places at which one can undertake "Jukai".
Ango, literally "peaceful dwelling", is a period of concentrated and committed Zen practice, usually lasting three-months in the Soto Zen tradition. The roots of Ango arise from the earliest days of the Buddhist monastic community in India, when monks and nuns would cease their wandering and settle together in one place for the rainy season. Even today in Zen monasteries of Japan, Ango is a time of intense and rigorous training, typically including long hours of Zazen, short hours for sleep, formal meals taken in the Zendo (meditation hall), and a structured schedule for the rest of the day comprising periods for work, liturgy, study, rest, and personal needs. In the West, most Zen groups have adapted the form of the three-month practice period to the needs and demands of life in their communities.
In keeping with the philosophy and path of practice here at Treeleaf ("life is our temple"), we will seek to obtain many of the same ... (and, I believe, quite a few additional and very special) ... fruits and lessons of a traditional Ango while sitting within the "monastery" of our day-to-day lives, jobs, problems, unending distractions and family responsibilities.
In doing so, I believe, we will have the opportunity to taste the sweetness (and sometime bitterness ... no one without the other) of concentrated Zen practice ... and learn lessons ... in many ways more poignant, practical, immediate and powerful than what might be known to monks locked away in a sheltered mountain monastery. As always, we will be tasting the power of this practice in the world, in daily life ... and not hidden away from it all.
About this Entry
This page contains a single entry by Jundo published on July 31, 2011 2:37 PM.