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  1. #1

    Requesting Jukai Etiquette

    Hi all, just a quick question that may be quite subjective. Im curious to know how long those of you who have taken jukai were practicing before? I would like to take jukai soon but I am relatively new to my real world sangha (and even newer here, hi!) and for this reason Im choosing to wait and become a more regular member before asking. Id love to hear others experiences!

    Gassho
    Sat


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    Last edited by Tsuru; 02-17-2020 at 07:02 PM.

  2. #2
    Id been practicing for 6 or 7 months before I started the Jukai preparations here, so it was around a year before the actual ceremony.

    Its done once a year here. The preparations start in September and the actual ceremony is in January, so youve got plenty of time to hang out and figure out if it feels right to you.

    Gassho, Zenmei (sat)

  3. #3
    I purposely waited for at least one Jukai to pass before I undertook Jukai here. I think Id been formally practicing for just over of three years with a teacher at that point.

    Like Zenmei said. Youve got time to determine if this is right for you.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah

  4. #4
    Member Onka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Hi Tauru
    I'd been sitting daily without a Sangha for around 7 months before I joined Treeleaf then around 4 months here before undertaking Jukai prep.
    At the beginning I was worried about undertaking the Jukai prep and ceremony because I thought it was important for Jundo and the Sangha to get to know me better. I needn't have though because Precept study when undertaken with an open heart and honest participation most certainly gives Jundo and the Sangha plenty of opportunities to get to know you. Ask any of my fellow recent Jukaiies, Jundo, other Treeleaf Priests and the broader Sangha and I'm sure they'll agree that they got to know the good, bad and ugly of me as I was challenged andnchallenged myself, the Precepts and others a number of times *groan*. I got there in the end and it felt like I had really benefitted from the journey.
    Some people feel ready for Jukai straight away, some take years and some don't wish to at all and that's fine. Here there is no difference between people who've taken Jukai and those that haven't or don't want to.
    Jundo even says that some people choose to take Jukai multiple times throughout their life. All is good, don't worry about it.
    Gassho
    Onka
    Sat today
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

  5. #5
    Hello Tsuru, and welcome!

    I didn't have much experience with zen before coming to Treeleaf a year ago, so I wanted to get to know zen, Jundo and the rest of the Sangha before taking the next step in my practice. I am actually thinking of be part of Ango and Jukai period next time.

    Gassho, Nikolas

    Sat
    Last edited by Nikos; 02-17-2020 at 08:52 PM.

  6. #6
    Welcome Tsuru,

    I would add that maybe it also depends on what you want from Jukai. To me it was once againg embracing the precepts which I hope all humans do whether Buddhist, some religion or no religion at all. In my view they are light posts to guide my actions towards others and myself. I have been hanging around the Zen world for over 20 years. I have taken different vows/ceremonies at different periods but did not formally undertake Jukai until I joined Treeleaf five years ago. For me Jukai was making yet another "formal" commitment to my practices. It was also to identify with a Sangha to support my practice. I also learned to sew

    I believe you will know when you are ready. Participating with this forum and group online sits will help inform you as well.

    Peace

    Doshin
    st

  7. #7
    Thank you all for these answers, and for being so welcoming. Im already taken aback by the warmth of this community


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  8. #8
    What exactly is Jukai?

    Gassho
    John
    Sat Today

  9. #9
    I got it for the most part by reading the other threads I somehow missed , but I would like to learn more about it.

    Gassho
    John
    Sat Today

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Sotozen73 View Post
    What exactly is Jukai?

    Gassho
    John
    Sat Today
    Hi John,

    Jukai means "Undertaking the Precepts," and is a Ceremony for lay folks very common in the Zen world, in China, Korea, Japan and the west. We hold the Ceremony each January, but begin preparing each Fall by reflecting on each of the Precepts, sewing a "Rakusu" (a form of small Buddhist robe) and other activities. The Precepts guide us toward gentle, healthful, non-violent living as best we can (part of our reflections on the Precepts is how all that fits into our complex lives where it is hard to do much of that sometimes).

    You can read more here, from last year ...

    ANNOUNCEMENT: It's JUKAI TIME .... 2019!
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...I-TIME-2019%21

    You can see how we did sewing and discussed the Precepts by looking around here ...

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/foru...glen-Too%21%29

    Let me know if anything is unclear. All are invited, but it is purely up to each person. More than any "Ceremony" is living gently, and the Ceremony just celebrates that fact.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #11
    I will just drop in my unscientific "survey" impressions about what other Soto Zen groups do ... it varies.

    There are many that say that Jukai is fine any time, even right at the start of Practicing for someone totally new, whenever the recipient feels some resonance. In Japan and China, that is the general attitude too, in my impression, for lay Precepts (Nishijima Roshi was like this in Japan). There are other places in the west that I know that are the opposite, and make it extremely late and formal, with required waiting of a year or more, and all manner of preliminary studies involved. One group in Canada has this policy, for example:

    After a minimum a year of practice as a general student and having studied the Teachings designed for general students and after having engaged in regular monthly retreat practice, if you decide you would like to become a deshi or formal student of a Teacher you can apply as a probationary formal student. ... This training will involve a period of at least one year or more of probationary practice during which you will receive frequent daisan or dokusan, so that you may establish the foundations for a strong Teacher-student relationship and develop a clear understanding of the radical challenges that your Zen practice will bring to you. Students who train under the direction of a Dharma Teacher meet with the Roshi from time to time, but receive the majority of their instruction from their Teacher. Following at least a year or so of training as a probationary formal student, and having completed the curriculum of study designed for probationary formal students, you may request, or it may be suggested to you that you begin to train for jukai, receiving the Transmission of the Bodhisattva Precepts and a Dharma name. It should be mentioned here, for the benefit of new students, that the Dharma names that most formal students have are not signs that they are "enlightened"; rather, they indicate the particular style with which that person approaches practice, and are thus used as reminders.
    That is very unusual for Jukai, even in Japan. Most places are "in between" (Treeleaf is so), opening the door any time, but suggesting that the person first spend some time here to make sure that there is resonance and they feel "at home" here. We also reflect on the Precepts for several months, sew a Rakusu, and engage in some other practices. (I will tell you that many places in Japan, for example, do not require --any-- Precept study before the Jukai Ceremony, or maybe a few short lectures on the Precepts at most. They also do not ask for sewing of a Rakusu, nor bestow a Rakusu to lay folks in Jukai).

    I also am not as restrictive on binding to me or this place as an exclusive teacher/lineage for example, like the place in Canada above, the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives (I think?) and some other western Sangha. Most western Sangha are not so exclusive in attitude either, although some are so exclusive that they don't even honor and recognize a Jukai from some other group (in Japan and America, I myself received Jukai a few times with different teachers who meant something in my life, like these teachers besides Nishijima Roshi: https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...l=1#post257318 ) I feel that someone has a relationship with a place when they feel so and practice there voluntarily, and one can learn from many teachers (who, by the way, I prefer to call "friends along the Way" rather than "teachers").

    Next, some folks in Japan and elsewhere believe that the Ceremony itself is all that is required because, mystically, the Ceremony itself works a kind of magic. It is kind of like those empowerments that the Tibetans do, so actually no need to really study the Precepts ... or even to try to live by the Precepts! The Ceremony somehow takes care of that mystically. That is a very radical interpretation, but it is actually held here and there in the Soto Zen world. Here, at Treeleaf, I believe that lay folks should make some study of the Precepts, but we recognize that we are imperfect human beings, not machines or saints, so we use the Precepts as guides and aspirations, realizing that we sometimes fall down.

    Also, I think that the real "Jukai" is how we live each day, both before and after the Ceremony, doing what we can to live gently, avoiding as best we can excess desire, anger, divided thinking and the rest. That is what counts. The Ceremony itself, in my view, is merely a celebration of our seeking to do so. What really matters is how we live all the time.

    Finally, in my view, the Jukai does not make one a "real Buddhist." If anything, it should make one more committed to helping other sentient beings, and place oneself a little bit more in a role of service to others in the community. One is a "real Buddhist" I feel whenever one seeks to sit Zazen, study the Buddhist teachings including the Precepts, and to live accordingly. Again, the Ceremony is merely a celebration of our otherwise doing so, and works no "magic" in itself.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-18-2020 at 12:09 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I will just drop in my unscientific "survey" impressions about what other Soto Zen groups do ... it varies.

    There are many that say that Jukai is fine any time, even right at the start of Practicing for someone totally new, whenever the recipient feels some resonance. In Japan and China, that is the general attitude too, in my impression, for lay Precepts (Nishijima Roshi was like this in Japan). There are other places in the west that I know that are the opposite, and make it extremely late and formal, with required waiting of a year or more, and all manner of preliminary studies involved. One group in Canada has this policy, for example:



    That is very unusual for Jukai, even in Japan. Most places are "in between" (Treeleaf is so), opening the door any time, but suggesting that the person first spend some time here to make sure that there is resonance and they feel "at home" here. We also reflect on the Precepts for several months, sew a Rakusu, and engage in some other practices. (I will tell you that many places in Japan, for example, do not require --any-- Precept study before the Jukai Ceremony, or maybe a few short lectures on the Precepts at most. They also do not ask for sewing of a Rakusu, nor bestow a Rakusu to lay folks in Jukai).

    I also am not as restrictive on binding to me or this place as an exclusive teacher/lineage for example, like the place in Canada above, the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives (I think?) and some other western Sangha. Most western Sangha are not so exclusive in attitude either, although some are so exclusive that they don't even honor and recognize a Jukai from some other group (in Japan and America, I myself received Jukai a few times with different teachers who meant something in my life, like these teachers besides Nishijima Roshi: https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...l=1#post257318 ) I feel that someone has a relationship with a place when they feel so and practice there voluntarily, and one can learn from many teachers (who, by the way, I prefer to call "friends along the Way" rather than "teachers").

    Next, some folks in Japan and elsewhere believe that the Ceremony itself is all that is required because, mystically, the Ceremony itself works a kind of magic. It is kind of like those empowerments that the Tibetans do, so actually no need to really study the Precepts ... or even to try to live by the Precepts! The Ceremony somehow takes care of that mystically. That is a very radical interpretation, but it is actually held here and there in the Soto Zen world. Here, at Treeleaf, I believe that lay folks should make some study of the Precepts, but we recognize that we are imperfect human beings, not machines or saints, so we use the Precepts as guides and aspirations, realizing that we sometimes fall down.

    Also, I think that the real "Jukai" is how we live each day, both before and after the Ceremony, doing what we can to live gently, avoiding as best we can excess desire, anger, divided thinking and the rest. That is what counts. The Ceremony itself, in my view, is merely a celebration of our seeking to do so. What really matters is how we live all the time.

    Finally, in my view, the Jukai does not make one a "real Buddhist." If anything, it should make one more committed to helping other sentient beings, and place oneself a little bit more in a role of service to others in the community. One is a "real Buddhist" I feel whenever one seeks to sit Zazen, study the Buddhist teachings including the Precepts, and to live accordingly. Again, the Ceremony is merely a celebration of our otherwise doing so, and works no "magic" in itself.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Thank you for this thorough response! Im surprised by how formal and ordered thy excerpt is, I havent come across anything quite like that before. It seems that one would just know if and when the time is right. Its comforting to see such an open, supportive approach


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  13. #13
    Hi Tsuru,
    I sat on my own for a few years, sat with a couple of different sanghas, but I just wasn't feeling it. I got disillusioned, quit for a few years, then started on my own again. I joined Treeleaf in 2015. I observed a couple of Jukai from the sidelines and was interested but unsure of upholding the commitments and sewing a rakusu. I PM'd Jundo with some of my concerns and he was quite helpful and reassuring. No pressure.

    I committed to Jukai this past year feeling the time was right to enter the stream but was unsure of my ability to sew the rakusu. The Unsui went out of their way to help me with my sewing. I completed Jukai this year. I just thought the time was right. And it was.

    Gassho
    STlah
    James

  14. #14
    Hello Tsuru

    Happy to share my experience here. I practised in the Theravada tradition for about 7 years before I found Treeleaf. A few years of casual reading and occasional meditation, a few years of serious study and committed practice. I found Treeleaf April 2018 and received Jukai January 2019. That worked out quite well for me. Some people hang around for a while before deciding to receive Jukai (I think there are even a few long-time members who have never taken Jukai), but most members participate in their first year here. As Jukai preparations don't start for another 6-7 months, you have plenty of time to practice here and decide what you want to do.

    Gassho

    Nanrin

    Sat today

  15. #15
    Hi Tsuru,

    I'd been hanging around different IRL Zen sanghas for a while but could never commit to attending with any regularity and then I moved away so I was sitting on my own for a good 5 years. I knew I was lacking guidance and instruction, I joined a few other online communities and found Treeleaf. Two months later I was undertaking the study for Jukai and it was the right time. I've heard sayings along the line of 'when the time is right the teacher will appear' and never paid much attention to them but funnily enough that's exactly what happened with me.

    Gassho,

    Neil

    StLah

  16. #16
    I've heard sayings along the line of 'when the time is right the teacher will appear'
    This is totally true.

    I was just reading some Zen and Jundo suddenly appeared in my bedroom!

    Admittedly, it was via a laptop screen but still very mystical!

    As others have said, there is plenty of time before the next Jukai preparations in autumn to see if Treeleaf feels like the right place for you. But even if you take the precepts here and choose not to stay, that is no problem.

    Also, if you get to August/September and are still unsure, it is fine to wait for the next year, or the year after that etc.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  17. #17
    I hadn't been at Treeleaf for very long before I asked to participate in Jukai - 4 or 5 months I think it was. I have done self study and sat on my own for many years though (6 years or so I think it was?). I didn't finish Jukai because I became extremely busy with home and work while it was going on. I did just start back up where I left off on Mind Of Clover and I plan on finishing it and reading over the threads here over the next few weeks. I may take part next time and try again. Either way, I'm still here, and still doing my practice.

    Gassho
    Kendrick
    Sat
    Life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken! Take heed, do not squander your life. ― Dōgen

  18. #18
    Member Hokin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Ixtlahuacan De Los Membrillos, Mexico
    Hello Tsuru.

    For what it matters I have been practicing the buddha dharma (or at least 'Tried To') for some 5/6 years, both by my self and with other groups/sanghas, before meeting Jundo and this beautiful sangha, and when that happened I felt completely right committing to Jukai study and the profound practice that it offers, even though as Jundo himself pointed out sometimes, and I feel that is certainly my case, people undertaking the ceremony are just renewing and giving somewhat a more deepened formality to the precept practice that is already ongoing...remembering that usually it is not that one is ever so "perfect" in his or her practice (again certaily my case!), but that if we keep sitting with heart and mind open and in a most sincere way, observing our thoughts, words and actions even during our everyday lives too in the most objetive way as possible without being harsh neither to ourselves nor to others but straightforward nonetheless, the practice will be "perfect"even amidst all these seeming imperfections we are working with....and maybe, I wander, this is just the way a Buddha is born: by awakaning little by little every time some imperfection is clearly noticed and let goof....maybe...

    Anyway...I feel you are in a most beautiful place to be and practice...Treeleaf is a warm and very helpfully supporting family!
    Just be yourself and feel free to do as you think fit (as long as you dont harm yourself and others...its ok, I think)...I know that you as everybody here and everywhere, are doing your best...flow on, Brother!

    Gassho.
    Arya.
    Sat Today.

  19. #19
    Thank You so much, Jundo.

    Gassho
    John
    Sat Today

    Samurai

  20. #20
    I will say that when I undertook Jukai in January 2016, I had Joined in October 2014, I was 14 months into membership in Treeleaf Zendo, I may not have been ready. I soon realized in August 2015 after purchasing thread, cloth, and shears that I probably was not going to be able to sew a rakusu. I kept fooling myself, and did sink myself into the reading of The Mind of Clover, and other books on Zen I might find on Amazon. Meanwhile I attended the Tea Parties, and Coffee Shops given by two usuri. I learned so much in these talks, and became friends with the two usuri. I still count myself among one man's friends. We met often, was it once a week via Hangout, and anywhere between one and four Pre Jukai members attended, and sometimes a lay person would come to the Coffee Shop. I asked a lot of questions of the usuri. I learned more about Soto Zen in these informal gatherings than a whole stack of books on our discipline, our practice, our understandings. Well. I'm grateful to the two usuri because for me, they filled in the blanks. I continued with the sound bites of Jon Kabot-Zinn, meditating to relieve stress and pain, and moved through Jundo videos on Soto Zen, Shikantaza practice. About 12-01-2015 I decided to go through with Jukai having confessed to Jundo there was no way I could sew a rakusu. My wife thought she might sew it for me, but she looked at videos and patterns and said there was no way she could sew it in the time needed,and she is an accomplished seamstress. I might add that she sewed my rakusu cover according to pattern in one evening, by hand, from scraps in her sewing basket. Well, Jundo said not to worry. I didn't know what to think as time went by, and one day an unmarked yellow envelope arrived and as I opened it tears formed in my eyes, and there was a beautiful forest green perfectly stitched rakusu, and I would suppose a hand drawn linage chart, but that must have been lost in the package because if there was such, I only learned of it this year at the time of Jukai 2020. I say I was not ready, but I wanted this with all my heart, so I stood with my suit coat, tie, and slacks for January 2016 Jukai. This year, going through Jukai again, I know I have been made more ready each time I sat, each time I tried to sound eloquent (not), each time there was a realization that I'm getting older, this year September 11 I'll be 69, and I don't think a single miss speaking, poem, necessary or unnecessary remark, or mistake has been wrong. I had to be a culprit sometimes, oh two or three times? lol. I am so happy this year I seemed ready, and I'm still part of the Zendo, our Sangha.
    Tai Shi
    say/lah
    Gassho
    The object of practice is not transcendence but transformation, yet ultimately we must transcend ourselves. (Elucidation of Dogen) in HOW TO RAISE AN OX

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Shi View Post
    I will say that when I undertook Jukai in January 2016, I had Joined in October 2014, I was 14 months into membership in Treeleaf Zendo, I may not have been ready. I soon realized in August 2015 after purchasing thread, cloth, and shears that I probably was not going to be able to sew a rakusu. I kept fooling myself, and did sink myself into the reading of The Mind of Clover, and other books on Zen I might find on Amazon. Meanwhile I attended the Tea Parties, and Coffee Shops given by two usuri. I learned so much in these talks, and became friends with the two usuri. I still count myself among one man's friends. We met often, was it once a week via Hangout, and anywhere between one and four Pre Jukai members attended, and sometimes a lay person would come to the Coffee Shop. I asked a lot of questions of the usuri. I learned more about Soto Zen in these informal gatherings than a whole stack of books on our discipline, our practice, our understandings. Well. I'm grateful to the two usuri because for me, they filled in the blanks. I continued with the sound bites of Jon Kabot-Zinn, meditating to relieve stress and pain, and moved through Jundo videos on Soto Zen, Shikantaza practice. About 12-01-2015 I decided to go through with Jukai having confessed to Jundo there was no way I could sew a rakusu. My wife thought she might sew it for me, but she looked at videos and patterns and said there was no way she could sew it in the time needed,and she is an accomplished seamstress. I might add that she sewed my rakusu cover according to pattern in one evening, by hand, from scraps in her sewing basket. Well, Jundo said not to worry. I didn't know what to think as time went by, and one day an unmarked yellow envelope arrived and as I opened it tears formed in my eyes, and there was a beautiful forest green perfectly stitched rakusu, and I would suppose a hand drawn linage chart, but that must have been lost in the package because if there was such, I only learned of it this year at the time of Jukai 2020. I say I was not ready, but I wanted this with all my heart, so I stood with my suit coat, tie, and slacks for January 2016 Jukai. This year, going through Jukai again, I know I have been made more ready each time I sat, each time I tried to sound eloquent (not), each time there was a realization that I'm getting older, this year September 11 I'll be 69, and I don't think a single miss speaking, poem, necessary or unnecessary remark, or mistake has been wrong. I had to be a culprit sometimes, oh two or three times? lol. I am so happy this year I seemed ready, and I'm still part of the Zendo, our Sangha.
    Tai Shi
    say/lah
    Gassho
    Thank you for this Tai Shi, Im so pleased you had such a positive experience

    Gassho
    St


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Shi View Post
    I will say that when I undertook Jukai in January 2016, I had Joined in October 2014, I was 14 months into membership in Treeleaf Zendo, I may not have been ready. I soon realized in August 2015 after purchasing thread, cloth, and shears that I probably was not going to be able to sew a rakusu. I kept fooling myself, and did sink myself into the reading of The Mind of Clover, and other books on Zen I might find on Amazon. Meanwhile I attended the Tea Parties, and Coffee Shops given by two usuri. I learned so much in these talks, and became friends with the two usuri. I still count myself among one man's friends. We met often, was it once a week via Hangout, and anywhere between one and four Pre Jukai members attended, and sometimes a lay person would come to the Coffee Shop. I asked a lot of questions of the usuri. I learned more about Soto Zen in these informal gatherings than a whole stack of books on our discipline, our practice, our understandings. Well. I'm grateful to the two usuri because for me, they filled in the blanks. I continued with the sound bites of Jon Kabot-Zinn, meditating to relieve stress and pain, and moved through Jundo videos on Soto Zen, Shikantaza practice. About 12-01-2015 I decided to go through with Jukai having confessed to Jundo there was no way I could sew a rakusu. My wife thought she might sew it for me, but she looked at videos and patterns and said there was no way she could sew it in the time needed,and she is an accomplished seamstress. I might add that she sewed my rakusu cover according to pattern in one evening, by hand, from scraps in her sewing basket. Well, Jundo said not to worry. I didn't know what to think as time went by, and one day an unmarked yellow envelope arrived and as I opened it tears formed in my eyes, and there was a beautiful forest green perfectly stitched rakusu, and I would suppose a hand drawn linage chart, but that must have been lost in the package because if there was such, I only learned of it this year at the time of Jukai 2020. I say I was not ready, but I wanted this with all my heart, so I stood with my suit coat, tie, and slacks for January 2016 Jukai. This year, going through Jukai again, I know I have been made more ready each time I sat, each time I tried to sound eloquent (not), each time there was a realization that I'm getting older, this year September 11 I'll be 69, and I don't think a single miss speaking, poem, necessary or unnecessary remark, or mistake has been wrong. I had to be a culprit sometimes, oh two or three times? lol. I am so happy this year I seemed ready, and I'm still part of the Zendo, our Sangha.
    Tai Shi
    say/lah
    Gassho
    Tahnk you, Tai Shi, for your words.

    Mateus
    Sat/LAH

  23. #23
    Thank You, Tai Shi, I really enjoyed your experience.

    Gassho
    John
    Sat Today

    Samurai

  24. #24
    Tai Shi




    Tairin
    Sat today and lah

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