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  1. #1


    Dear All,

    I am very content to make this announcement, and ask everyone sitting with our Sangha to join in its celebration. OUR SANGHA WILL WELCOME THROUGH 'Home Leaving' ORDINATION TWO NEW NOVICE-PRIEST TRAINEES, well known faces around here ...

    Daizan Richard Herman and Sekishi Eric Weik.

    They will join our present Novice-Priest Trainees, Fugen, Kyonin, Yugen, Dosho, Shokai, Jiken, Shugen and Shingen. Daizan and Sekishi will be Ordained by Jundo as Novice Priest-Trainees. The Ordination Ceremony is currently anticipated for late March.

    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 great change in the nature of Buddhist clergy has been that many 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. We are not bound by monastery walls, dropping all barriers separating "inside" from "out". 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 sincerely 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. Some will withdraw by their change in feelings, some will be asked to withdraw. 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 "novice 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 expected to learn … with the future not assured, and no promises about the future. (Of course, we are all beginners, all students … 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, [u]I am pleased to announce that Sekishi and Daizan will be our next “class” of Novice Priest-Trainees in a great experiment here. 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 people are expected to follow and come to embody … here it is (33 pages, PDF).

    These “Treeleaf Sangha Guidelines for Training Soto Zen Buddhist Clergy” are inspired by guidelines for priest training established by 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.


    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 Sekishi and Daizan well in their start on this long undertaking. Most of you will know them very well from their almost daily participation here over several years, and the energy, wisdom and compassion they always bring to our community. The ceremony will occur much as our prior Ordination Ceremonies, across oceans using all means of modern media, dropping all thought of place and time.

    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 ceremonies when the time comes.

    Gassho, Jundo

    Last edited by Jundo; 01-12-2016 at 07:25 PM.

  2. #2
    Hello all,

    Two more very worthy and wonderful novice priests! Congratulations and I look forward to sharing your journey with you. Great news!


  3. #3
    Congratulations. Best to you both on your travels down your chosen path. Looking forward to the ceremony.


  4. #4
    Wonderful news ... very happy to have both Daizan and Sekishi joining the priesthood, they are both wonderful people who adds such great value to the Sangha. =)

    Deep bows


  5. #5
    Deep bows and great joy for Daizan and Sekishi!!


  6. #6

    Sat today

  7. #7

    Well done, every One.

    Myosha sat today
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  8. #8
    Deep bows to you both! Thank you very much for your sincere practice!

    Chiko (Matt)

  9. #9
    What a wonderful time of the year! Jukai and Shukke Tokudo ceremonies in our community - the manner in which you all support one another and encourage us, the novice priests, is very inspiring. Sekishi and Daizan are very fine individuals - I'm honored to be in their company.

    Deep bows


  10. #10
    Deep bows brothers




  11. #11
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Redding California USA




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  12. #12
    Congratulations to Daizan, Sekishi and all!

    Deep bows.


  13. #13
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Thankyou Daizan and Sekishi

    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  14. #14
    Congratulations Daizan and Sekishi and thank you for your service to the sangha



    Sat today

  15. #15
    Thank you for these kind words. This has been a long considered step, and there is a lot to learn. With love for Jundo and the wonderful people who bring treeleaf to life, I'll do my best.. to stumble and get up with grace. deep bows to all of you.

    Sat today

  16. #16
    Treeleaf Priest / Engineer Sekishi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Thank you all for the kind words and for the opportunity to practice and serve.

    May we all live the enlightened way together.

    Nine bows,
    Sekishi | 石志 | He/him | Better with a grain of salt, but best ignored entirely.

  17. #17
    Awesome, congrats and THANK YOU for your practice and service!!
    Bows to you
    Rodney SatToday

  18. #18
    Wonderful news! Deep bows, and thank you both for your service.


  19. #19
    That's great news - congratulations and thank you to you both



    sat today

  20. #20
    Congratulations...may your path enlighten all...

  21. #21

  22. #22
    Congratulations, brothers.

    So happy for you.


    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  23. #23
    Great to hear that!
    Congratulations and thanks to both of you!

    治 Ji
    花 Ka

  24. #24
    Congrats to you both. That is wonderful news.

    Gassho, Kyotai
    Sat today

  25. #25
    Congrats to you both. Fantastic news.



    Sat Today

  26. #26
    Wonderful, Wonderful! Can't wait for the ceremony!

    Jundo has quite a lot of work cut out for him! So nice to see a growing body of novices. Hopefully we will see some women soon, too!

    Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

  27. #27

  28. #28
    Congrats to both of you and thank you for your practice. I am looking forward to the ceremony.


    Nanto Sat2Day

  29. #29
    Member Shurin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Twentynine Palms, California
    Congratulations to you both!

    Sat today

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin View Post
    ... Hopefully we will see some women soon, too!

    Yes, it would be.

    The Dharma transcends all diversity, and truly there is no male or female Buddha. And yet, the Dharma celebrates and flowers with diversity in this world of many colors. It would wonderful to have some women, and people of many good backgrounds and paths.

    Gassho, J


  31. #31
    Great news.

    Good luck and thank you!

    The strength and beneficence of the soft and yielding.
    Water achieves clarity through stillness.

  32. #32


  33. #33


  34. #34
    Great and happy news! Congratulations Daizan and Sekishi, and thank you for your earnest practice. Looking forward to the celebration!

    Byōkan / Lisa
    sat today

  35. #35


  36. #36
    Congrats on this next step in your journey, Sekishi and Daizan.

    Deep bows,

  37. #37
    Deep bows.

    Gassho, Entai

    泰 Entai (Bill)
    "this is not a dress rehearsal"

  38. #38
    Congratulations to both of you. Thank you for your dedication to this sangha.

    sat today

  39. #39
    Member Roland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium
    Thank you so much, Daizan and Sekishi.


  40. #40
    Wonderful news!


    -sat today-

  41. #41
    Congratulations. I hope to join you one day. ☺



    Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk

  42. #42
    Member Taikai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Fogelsville, SE Pennsylvania
    Congratulations to both of you!
    Gassho, Taikai/Jennifer
    sat today

  43. #43

    Deep bows My friends.


    Life is our temple and its all good practice

  44. #44


    Sat today

  45. #45
    Congrats to both of you. Congrats to us, too.



  46. #46
    Wonderful! I think you will both be excellent additions to the unsui.

    Deep bows

  47. #47
    Great news Thank you both for your practice and commitment to this sangha. Gassho.


    If you miss the moment, you miss your life - John Daido Loori

  48. #48
    Wonderful news. Congratulations Daizan and Sekishi.
    Gassho Heisoku
    Sat today.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Heisoku 平 息
    Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

  49. #49


    Sat Today
    Ongen (音源) - Sound Source

  50. #50
    Well, I'm late to the party, but I wanted to say that this is great news. I couldn't think of two better people in need of a head shaving!

    Sat today
    If I'm already enlightened why the hell is this so hard?

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