Ordination of Kushu Damir Jamsek and Jishin Liz Kuney

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On Mandala Day, Monday, September 21, Shinge Roshi will ordain two long-time practitioners, Kushu Damir Jamsek and Jishin Liz Kuney. The in-person ceremony will take place at the Zen Center of Syracuse Hoen-ji at 11 a.m., and will be on Zoom for our Threefold Sangha.

Jishin will spend fall kessei at Dai Bosatsu Zendo. Kushu will continue joining us on Zoom and will return to in-person sesshin once they can again be offered. He continues to run an aikido dojo and zendo in Austin, Texas.

Commitment to the Dharma

My first encounter with Shinge Roshi, at the time Roko Osho, was in the fall of 1987. I had just moved to Syracuse to complete my graduate education at Syracuse University. I attended a talk at Hendricks Chapel and afterwards met Roshi for the first time. She invited me to sit at the Zen Center. It took a couple months, but in January 1988 I sat for the first time at Hoen-ji. It was a snowy Saturday morning and I showed up early, covered in snow and dripping wet. Roshi was kind in giving me instruction before sitting, and so my formal training began.

I had been practicing martial arts since my teens. By the time I arrived in Syracuse, I had been doing Japanese martial arts for quite a few years. There is a lot of talk about Zen in the martial arts, but not until arriving in Syracuse did I have an opportunity for true practice. As I was approaching graduation from SU, I was planning for a job outside Syracuse. Before leaving, I asked to receive Jukai and was given the name Kushu, meaning "Empty Hand," in 1990.

From 1991 to 1997, I moved around quite a bit, from Syracuse, to Austin, to Ithaca, back to Austin. My contact with Shinge Roshi and the Zen Studies Society was intermittent, primarily the occasional sesshin at Dai Bosatsu Zendo. This gave me a chance to receive instruction and dokusan with Eido Roshi. In all this moving about I always had a strong connection in my heart with Shinge Roshi and Hoen-ji.

My first couple years in Austin, I sat with local groups affiliated with San Francisco Zen Center and Mt. Baldy Zen Center. In 1998, I started a sitting group in Austin. This lead to yearly visits by Shinge Roshi to hold sesshin in Austin for our small group. During these visits to Austin, a discussion about ordination See next page began and continued for several years. In the last period of time leading up to 2020, several strong connections and experiences led me to ask her to help me in deepening my commitment to the Dharma through the process of ordination. For this opportunity I am deeply grateful.

Over 30 years, a continuous thread throughout various practices has been the study of the Dharma. Twenty years ago I founded a martial arts school and started a sitting group. If I think about a core of all this activity, it is always the group, the Sangha, and what can I can do to aid our practice. Ordination is the next step.

— Kushu Damir Jamsek

Roots of Conviction

This path to becoming an unsui has been a long, aspiring journey. False starts and stops and seeming obstacles all proved fertile soil from which deeper and more authentic roots of conviction could take hold. Not delayed, but in the readiness of time comes this passage. May my commitment help even slightly to widen the way for all beings.

I received Jukai in 2008 from Genro Lee Milton Sensei, abbot of Endless Mountain Zendo, located where Atta Road and Hollow Road meet in Stillwater, Pa. The love, support, and sponsorship from Genro Zenji and Yayoi Zenni run within my core.

I have had the great fortune to study under Shinge Roshi at Hoen-ji in Syracuse. Her mercy and kindness flood my defenseless, humbled heart. May these teachers’ guidance and that of our ancestral lineage grace each step forward. I have the good fortune of attending kessei this fall at Dai Bosatsu Zendo and hope that I may be of service to our Sangha as we venture forth together.

— Jishin Liz Kuney

Please email admin@hoenji.org for Zoom links.

Mon, Sep 21, 2020 - 11:00am - 12:00pm
Zen Center of Syracuse Hoen-ji and Online via Zoom
Program fee: