2021 Jukai Classes Begin This Summer

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Dear Students of the Way,

I am now accepting applications for Jukai, the ceremony at which one receives the Buddhist Precepts from one’s teacher. This cannot be undertaken lightly. A special bond between teacher and student is established, and a commitment to serious, dedicated and consistent practice is essential.

“Ju” is a synonym for “kaku,” “to realize.” “Kai” is “Precepts,” but it is also a synonym for Buddha-nature. 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")

If you wish to join this upcoming Jukai group, you must submit a letter of request explaining why you would like to do so by June 15, 2021. Jukai will be held on the last day of Harvest Sesshin at Dai Bosatsu Zendo (DBZ), November 14. If possible, this sesshin will be held in person. Please send your Jukai request to this address.

For more information please click here.


Shinge Roko Sherry Chayat

Tue, Jun 15, 2021 (All day)
on Zoom until further notice
Program fee: 
contribution and sesshin costs