2018 Jukai Applications Welcome

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Applications for Jukai (the ceremony at which one receives the Buddhist precepts) are now being accepted. Jukai will be held on the last day of Nyogen Senzaki Sesshin May 5 – 10, 2018, at Dai Bosatsu Zendo (DBZ).

Requirements for being accepted into this upcoming Jukai group are as follows: consistent Zen practice at and support of the Zen Center of Syracuse Hoen-ji, including attendance at morning service; memorization of sutras and dharanis chanted in morning service, as well as the Ten Important Precepts; participation in a curriculum of study guided by me through dokusan and group meetings; participation in at least three past sesshin as well as an upcoming sesshin at Hoen-ji, New York Zendo or DBZ; sewing a rakusu or arranging to purchase one through the DBZ office; and reading books on the recommended reading list, especially those that have been starred.

I will give each student a Dharma name, which will be inscribed on the rakusu and presented at the ceremony.

To undertake this step, please e-mail a letter of request to me by December 31, 2017, to Zen Center of Syracuse (admin@hoenji.org).

“Ju” is a synonym for “kaku,” “to realize.” “Kai” is “Precepts,” but it is also a synonym for Buddhanature. So in the most profound sense, Jukai means “to awaken to ultimate freedom.”

What keeps us from realizing this freedom is the very thought that it lies beyond our present condition.

“We seek it far away,” Hakuin Zenji says in “The Song of Zazen.” “What a pity.”

The Precepts are far more than a set of guidelines for leading an ethical life. They are not a panacea by which we can feel cured of our ills, but rather an outline of the work ahead.

The commitment to live by the Buddhist Precepts, and to enter into Jukai, is a crucial and indeed revolutionary step. Practicing with assiduity and earnest motivation, we can embrace the challenges and obstacles that confront us as our best teachers. The diligence and devotion mandated by the Jukai process brings the understanding that we can awaken to who we truly are right in the midst of our struggles.

Although we speak of “taking “ or “receiving” the Precepts, what is necessary is to give up that usual way of thinking—that mind of taking and getting something—and shift to the mind of giving, purely and without any expectation of reward. Then indeed, we can affirm Nyogen Senzaki’s words: “Bodhisattvas seek to realize the truth not only for themselves, but for the sake of all beings…You and I are here to learn to be bodhisattvas, with no desire for other ranks at all.” (Eloquent Silence, “The Ten Stages of Consciousness,” p. 259).



Mon, Jan 1, 2018 - 12:00pm
Program fee: