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Thread: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

  1. #1

    Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

    As we get closer to the Jukai ceremony I am curious to other peopleís thoughts about it.
    What are other tree leaferís reasons for taking part or not. Perhaps those who are taking part can answer the questions of those who are unsure and vice versa.
    I should hope that for those taking part this is a very important decision to make, but for those not taking part the decision is equally important.

    To get the ball rolling I will say for me, so far, the jury is out but probably not taking part. I see my practice as a very deeply personal journey and struggle to see how a public ceremony would help other people or improve my own practice. Saying that, I have considered doing something representative in parallel but private way (which is a bit contradictory I know :roll: ).

    For those on the fence Harry made a good point on another thread (so if you haven't seen it),-
    The verse that Master Dogen valued so much on donning the robe (or Rakusu) which we can receive is (translated of course):

    How great is the clothing of liberation,
    formless, field of happiness, robe!
    Devoutly wearing the tathgata's teaching,
    Widely I will save living beings.

    We adopt the robe to drop everything, to 'wear' the formless field of happiness for everyone. Its just our practice itself. We don't need it to practice of course.

    I personally feel that wearing the robe in this way (per the verse above) was/is more of a challenge to my cherished identities than not wearing it was. Also, I feel that my wearing the robe contributes in some way to transmitting the practice into the future.

    Sure, it feels all nice and 'buddhisty' sometimes, but that soon wears off when our knees and ass get numb!

    The robe is the transmitted Buddha-Dharma,
    The robe is just a piece of cloth,
    The robe is our Buddhist Practice,
    The robe is just this amazing and terrible Reality itself.
    So if you donít mind answering, Yay ?Nay? or just some thoughts?

  2. #2

    Re: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

    I don't know how to take it really.

    Coming from a Theravada background I found it odd really. I conciously took refuge in the 3 jewels and undertook the 5 precepts seriously at about 13-14 I think. I decided this was the path after dabbling with Catholicism. Was won over by the coherent arguments (not that I started practicing seriously until my early 20s). When I knew what taking the refuges and the precepts meant I willingly took them.

    So if you are not sure its for you, then best to wait until you make up your mind.

    But this is the thing I don't get with the Mahayana taking precepts bizzo. I took them as a lay person when I was 13-14 and actually every time you chant in therevada you take refuge and undertake the precepts every time. Then I went to Chinese Nun for a while to learn qi-gong. After a while I was asked if I had taken the refuge and the precepts and I was like "yeh, duh" as I had at this stage done it so often. They were like "who did you do it with it, were you given a name" and so on. It kind of surprised me, because for a layperson in therevada tradition it is always a private thing although you do take the precepts when chanting in a group. No one is there to validate your decisions, it's entirely up to you. But in saying that, when chanting everyone takes refuge and the precepts.

    So yeh, if you think it's worthwhile then definitely do it, but if you rather do it in private I think it does not diminish your intentions.



  3. #3

    Re: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

    Hello Phil, I hope all is well.

    I can relate to your one-the-fence'ness. I too am beginning to find my practice to be quite a private matter that, to some degree, should not require validation. But that being said, the occasional milestone to ensure I am not completely off track is not necessarily bad either, and I think I am ready to perform a Jukai. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find the idea of performing such a ceremony over the internet that appealing. Such a ceremony is a nice symbolic gesture... but I don't think my cluttered computer room and the glow of my monitor is the best symbolic environment for such a gesture. And so we shall see, my mind is not made-up. I have however begun to read Mind of Clover and look forward to getting further into it.


  4. #4

    Re: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

    Personally, I am all for the Treeleaf Jukai. I think it will be a step forward for my practice and a step forward for this sangha as well. My practice is private, but at the same time what I carry from it is public. I think it is just a ceremony and a ceremony has significant meaning if you want it to. if you don't want it to be a big deal than hey, what do you know it is no longer a big deal. It's all about what you make of it. To each their own. I believe there is no harm in taking the precepts publicly and I encourage Jundo to keep being progressive and innovative in his approach to leading this 21st century sangha.


  5. #5

    Re: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

    Hi all,

    I'm with Damian. I've taken the precepts in the Tibetan tradition but there was not a lot of preparation, thinking or study involved. I think that the Jukai that Jundo has planned will be really meaningful on a personal level. It seems like it will require just enough commitment to study and thinking about what the Precepts entail, that it will really help my practice. And, even though I've taken the Precepts before, there is always something to discover about their application in everyday life.

    As far as the public aspect of Jukai Ceremony goes, being online does not seem quite as public as a ceremony in the flesh!? However, I do feel that it is important now and then to publically say where you stand. (This is a concept that seems to have completely disappeared in the U.S.) It is very comfortable and safe to sit zazen in our own homes. It becomes a different matter to state to the world that I believe in these values and will try to live them. (Uh oh, now the world can judge me. :wink: ) But in a way, living out your practice in public is what we are talking about when we are taking our practice off the cushion.

    Now this is not to say they people should feel pressured to take Jukai. But, if it is the right time in your practice, it can be an important challenge and a strong teaching.



  6. #6

    Re: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by lindabeekeeper
    Now this is not to say they people should feel pressured to take Jukai. But, if it is the right time in your practice, it can be an important challenge and a strong teaching.


    Hi everybody.

    Quite so.
    And what about those that havent got an webcam or a "fast internet"?
    Are we excluding them? :twisted:

    May the force be with you

  7. #7

    Re: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

    Hi Guys,

    Well, I think it would be really helpful to provide you some details, and more background on the Jukai ... which I promise to do within the next day or two. Still working out a couple of technical points.

    I want to avoid some misunderstandings, and I hear a few in some of the above postings. I will try to clear those misunderstandings up. So, let me, in the coming couple of days (I am a little under the weather today) tell you my understanding of Jukai as Jukai was taught to me. Please hold off making any judgments or interpretations until you read my explanation of what it is about.

    Gassho, Jundo in Rumor Control

  8. #8

    Re: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by HezB
    I feel I should point out that I received the Precepts from another of Nishijima Roshi's Dharma Heirs, not Jundo. So my take on it should not be seen to represent Jundo's views on the matter in any way.


    Well, don't jump to conclusions!

    Gassho, J

    I think you Jukai'd with Ven. Peter Rocca, one of my favorite fellows in the world.

  9. #9

    Re: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

    Ooops. Sorry for jumping the gun a bit there ops:

    In my defence this is an internet forum so I think there is an entitlement to talk about things I don't know and with little or no knowledge.

    I hope you feel better soon Jundo.


    P.S Hello Kelly,
    all good here I hope you are getting on well too, good to see you around.

  10. #10

    Re: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

    This is my first post. I have only been with Tree Leaf a couple of months, listening to Jundoís teaching each night, sitting twice a day, and trying to resolve the technical challenges of entering Tree Leaf. Finally have my picture on my profile, have a new web cam that I have not entirely figured out, but most important after bouncing around between traditions for several years, finally feel at home. I look forward to studying the precepts under Jundo, and feel I will be ready to make a commitment through the jukai ceremony when the opportunity arrives. It is a great opportunity, especially for those of us who live in very isolated areas with few if any opportunities to practice with a shanga.

  11. #11

    Re: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

    Hello all,
    I am really looking forward to studying the precepts and taking Jukai.

    Like Kelly, my practice, and reasons for it, are intensely personal. The support I receive from this sangha, this community, is vital to my practice. Taking the Jukai and making a formal commitment to me signifies an important life choice. As Linda mentioned, not taking a stand has become all too popular in the United States, and it is time for me, at this point in my life, to make a choice about what I stand for and the principles I represent. More importantly, I wish to represent these principles through my actions, through example, not proselytizing or finger pointing.

    When Cortez landed on the coast of Mexico, he burned his ships on the beach - there was no turning back. In taking the precepts, I am burning the ships on the beach. I have only one life to live, I am not getting any younger, and the world is on its way to destroying itself through conflict and contention. Through the guise or illusion of academic and supposed rational "objectivity" I have sat on the fence and participated in effect in moral relativism and harmful inaction. This academic and intellectual "objectivity" on my part is selfish and entitled behavior. I have come to believe in the saying "be the change you want to see in the world." Change, and peace, begin on an individual level. This is the best lesson I can leave for my three sons - the power of example. I tried it the other way - I tried the "peace through strength" path in the 1980s as part of the Reagan Doctrine in the Middle East and Latin America and my actions were anything but peaceful and were certainly not representative of any emotional or ethical strength. I think the most powerful example I have set for my sons is to sit in the evenings... just sit. This is more powerful than lecturing them about morals and proscriptions. I think the observation of choice in action is a far more effective.

    I have found more community , support, and personal integrity on this internet forum than I have in many physical and personal religious/spiritual communities. I have found Jundo to be the real deal, and I share his vision for the Soto Zen tradition in the 21st century. Finally, I am looking forward to his explication of the course of study for the precepts, and I am convinced this is the path for me. As to whether or not our "certification" will be observed by other practitioners/organizations in Japan, China, Korea, etc. - well, I have punched plenty of professional tickets and they are nothing but paper. What counts is what is in the heart and this outfit is just fine with me.

    The choice of course is a personal one and each individual will have their own preference. The views expressed above are solely my own and I do not pretend to speak for anyone else. I value and appreciate your company regardless of the choice you make on this topic.


  12. #12

    Re: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

    Beautiful post, Alex.



  13. #13

    Re: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

    A deep bow of acknowledgment to you as your post was helpful in framing my response! As I reread my post, I observe that the choice of Cortez as a historical example of complete commitment is potentially problematic - the experience of the Mexicans with Cortez' legacy evokes strong debate and as we have both Spanish and Mexican sangha-mates (whom I hold in high regard) I wish only to drive home the notion of personal commitment. My life depends on this - and I wish to consume myself entirely, as Shunryu Suzuki would suggest. As Chicanobudista has recommended, I am reading Crooked Cucumber (the biography of Shunryu Suzuki), and it is great reading.


  14. #14

    Re: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?


    Quote Originally Posted by alex
    A deep bow of acknowledgment to you as your post was helpful in framing my response! As I reread my post, I observe that the choice of Cortez as a historical example of complete commitment is potentially problematic - the experience of the Mexicans with Cortez' legacy evokes strong debate and as we have both Spanish and Mexican sangha-mates (whom I hold in high regard) I wish only to drive home the notion of personal commitment.
    :mrgreen: I am guessing you were feeling the Chicano vibes in the forum. :mrgreen:

    As Chicanobudista has recommended, I am reading Crooked Cucumber (the biography of Shunryu Suzuki), and it is great reading.
    I am glad you like it. It's really interesting to me in another sphere. We now take as common place the space that Buddhism has in the American religious landscape. But. Here was man who at 55(!) took the opportunity to come the US in 1959 during the Eisenhower era. Yes. He arrived at the right city (San Francisco) with it's counterculture and Japanese-American community, but...nothing is guaranteed in life.

  15. #15

    Re: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

    I for one intend to take the Jukai.
    as many people here have said my practice is also very personal, yet it is not personal at all. since pretty much every aspect of my life is effected in some way or other other by my practice, i cant really say it is a private matter.

    for me taking the precepts and having the Jukai means nothing more than actually doing it.
    but at the same time it is very important to me. i view it as an oath, not meant for someone other than me, yet it is to everyone and everything i uphold it to.
    it is not an oath to be a perfect human being. but it is more or less a reminder of trying to live according to something i see as correct and right for me. studying for such a things is even more important than actually taking it in my opinion. in order to understand what it means.
    after all taking the precepts is just a reminder why and what we practice.
    of course it is only my own opinion,but that is how i see it.

  16. #16

    Re: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

    I'll also be taking the precepts with Jundo and the rest of you fine folks. I've been practicing for a little over 2 years and I just feel that I'm ready to make a formal commitment. I'm also excited about participating in a new form of this ancient ceremony. Online Jukai is awesome crazy web Dharma, and I like that.

  17. #17

    Re: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

    Great posts in this thread.

    To me, the Jukai symbolizes a commitment to practice in every aspect of our lives. It's not a submission to commandments or god's will. It's not even a promise (IMO). A commitment forever? Maybe, maybe not. A commitment to give it a good effort. Yep. The precepts themselves are simple common sense for trying to act in a thoughtful manner. Nothing different than what my Mama taught me.

  18. #18

    Re: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

    Well, I'll being taking Jukai with the Sangha.

    I've been a bit of stranger lately and have not been very focused on walking a Buddhist path. But, the time has really come for me to return to this practice and to study the precepts, and make a commitment to them. I care deeply about this Sangha and the people involved with it and cannot think of a better place for me to do this.

    Although the precepts are simple things, they are a challenge and I do believe it takes considerable effort to mind them. Study and reflection are just what I need right now to help me focus and find my center. I'm looking forward to getting back to practice and glad to have you all right by my side.

    take care,


  19. #19

    Re: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

    Hey everyone,

    Like Gregor, I've been a bit of a stranger lately. This is something of a reboot of my practice. Beginner's mind.

    I intend to be here (and nowhere else!) for jukai.


  20. #20

    Re: Jukai Ceremony Thoughts?

    I too am intending to take Jukai, although famly life and the jukai retreat will be a bit of difficulty it's one I hope to over come. Anyway I'm buying the book, getting on with it and if things get in the way ( be it mebeam/baby or whatever) I'm still doing it in my heart and to me that's what counts.

    In gassho to you all, Kev

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