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Thread: Dharma Transmission and Zuise

  1. #1

    Question Dharma Transmission and Zuise

    Hello all!

    Iím currently reading about aspects of lay and monastic life in and outside of Japan. Iíve learnt about the way dharma transmission happens outside Japan, and when it does it is marked by the usual documents being written and passed to the one being transmitted and the giving of a brown Kesa.

    According to Abt. Muho Noelke of Antaiji (as far as I understand) it seems the Japanese way is slightly different? He mentions that one is transmitted and has all the documents, but retains the black Kesa until after ízuiseí pilgrimage. Is there a particular reason why this difference has occurred? And (not that Iím one for caring personally about validity and credentials) does the Sōtō-Shu consider handing the brown Kesa with transmission without completing zuise Ďlegití, or within convention? Do priests from outside Japan try to do zuise, if they can afford it? How is that all arranged, anyhow? And if a lay person is given transmission, do they have the same transmission ceremony, and the opportunity to do the zuise pilgrimage?

    Also, he write that teachers send photos of their ordinands to the head office, do teachers outside Japan have to do this too?

    Many thanks for your answers and expertise in advance!
    Gassho,
    Roo

  2. #2
    Forgive my lack of knowledge on this topic, but some Zendo, ours included, do not follow this model. We follow the nyoho-e tradition and our colors aren't particularly prescribed if I understand correctly.

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
    "Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train"-Ueshiba Morihei

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Roo.O View Post
    Hello all!

    I’m currently reading about aspects of lay and monastic life in and outside of Japan. I’ve learnt about the way dharma transmission happens outside Japan, and when it does it is marked by the usual documents being written and passed to the one being transmitted and the giving of a brown Kesa.

    According to Abt. Muho Noelke of Antaiji (as far as I understand) it seems the Japanese way is slightly different? He mentions that one is transmitted and has all the documents, but retains the black Kesa until after ’zuise’ pilgrimage. Is there a particular reason why this difference has occurred? And (not that I’m one for caring personally about validity and credentials) does the Sōtō-Shu consider handing the brown Kesa with transmission without completing zuise ‘legit’, or within convention? Do priests from outside Japan try to do zuise, if they can afford it? How is that all arranged, anyhow? And if a lay person is given transmission, do they have the same transmission ceremony, and the opportunity to do the zuise pilgrimage?

    Also, he write that teachers send photos of their ordinands to the head office, do teachers outside Japan have to do this too?

    Many thanks for your answers and expertise in advance!
    Gassho,
    Roo
    Hi Roo,

    First, may I ask you to replace your picture with a human face, preferably your own (contact me if some hesitancy)? It helps to keep things a bit more warmer and human around here, so we can look each other in the eye a little bit. Thank you.

    In answer to your question, most of the procedures in Japan are for priests who wish to inherit local parish temples (usually inherited father to son these days) and follow the procedures of the Soto-shu in order to do so. For non-Japanese priests, registering with the Soto-shu is up to that priest and his/her teacher. I would say that only a minority outside Japan wish to register with the Soto-shu (there are somewhat different procedures for foreign priests to do so than Japanese priests, but Zuise would be part of that. (For those who don't know, Zuise means being "Abbot for the Day" at each of the Head Temples of Eiheiji and Jojiji, although it is merely formal ... one is not actually the Abbot.) Most non-Japanese priests do not bother with that (the Deshimaru Lineage in Europe and the OBI encourage doing so, I believe, but in the USA, most do not do so.)

    Dharma Transmission is between the Teacher and his/her Dharma Heir, and is not dependent on the Soto-Shu. For that reason, most members of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association are not registered with the Soto-Shu (I am a member of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association, which is the association of Soto Zen priests outside Japan, although mostly in North America). They have a ceremony called Dharma Heritage which was originally intended to be "Zuise" for us who are outside of Japan, and I participated in that back in 2004. I think it was the first, and at the time they meant it to be our Zuise. Later, some of the Soto-shu priests objected, so the said the two ceremonies are parallel (Church politics )

    http://szba.org/dharma-heritage-ceremony/

    I don't have any interest in being a parish priest, and I prefer to be independent of the Soto-shu (although my Dharma Grandfather was Abbot of Eiheiji and the "Pope" of Soto-shu, my Teacher Nishijima was critical of their current emphasis on so-called "Funeral Buddhism")

    As to robes, we also follow what is known as the Nyoho-e tradition of Robes, which is common in the lineages of Homeless Kodo Sawaki, Katagiri Roshi, some at SFZC and other places. The rules are a little different from the Soto-shu. The Soto-shu monks typically do not sew their own robes, but buy them from shops specified by the Soto-shu. The Nyoho-e tradition involves hand sewing. You can read more here.

    https://nyoho.com/tag/nyoho-e/

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 05-23-2019 at 05:19 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Most non-Japanese priests do not bother with that (the Deshimaru Lineage in Europe and the OBI encourage doing so, I believe, but in the USA, most do not do so.)
    Yes, the mainstream Deshimaru lineage does follow the tradition very strictly. E.g., see https://www.facebook.com/TempleRyumo...57286010399448 for some pictures.

    I found Muho's explanation about Ten-e and Zuise helpful, together with the anecdote about his own Zuise (garnished with his usual dry humour).

    Gassho,
    Souchi

    SatToday/lah

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