Kito ceremony

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  • Nindo
    • Jun 2024

    Kito ceremony

    On Wednesday night, I saw a wonderful video on G+ called "Contemplative Kito". By Thursday it was gone. The Wednesday Teisho video is also missing, part of which I saw live. Were these taken down for privacy concerns? Any way to share them for TL members only?

    And - what is Kito ???

    With grateful bows to the retreat participants and webcam operators
  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39211

    Hi Nindo,

    I will discuss a bit more when I return from my America travels, but Kito is not something I usually include in our Practice here. Taigu leans more that way, and included the ceremony during the Retreat he guided. It is a difference in our approach. However, historically, it is an old aspect of Buddhist ritual, including Zen Buddhist ritual in Japan with aspects of intonation to the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and various Deities. Here are a couple of explanations of the meaning of Kito.

    A quick, short definition ...

    Over 1,700 in-depth entries from A to Z, containing information on the beliefs, practices, and history of Zen Buddhism as well as its most significant movements, organizations, and personalities. Complete with black-and-white photos throughout that illustrate the many aspects of Zen Buddhist culture and religion, including temples, relics, artifacts, and the ceremonial objects used by practitioners. Thoroughly cross-referenced entries guide the reader to related terms and concepts. 8 1?2" x 11" Library-bound 500 pages Copyright 2002 Zen Buddhism is one of the most important and influential world religions. Its unique forms of artistic, philosophical, and spiritual practices, including meditation, haiku, and calligraphy, have spread throughout the world. Written in a clear and accessible style, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Zen Buddhism introduces readers to this vital and influential tradition. Helen J. Baroni, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the department of religion at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She received a bachelor of arts from Grinnell College in 1981, a master's degree in divinity from the Princeton Theological Seminary in 1984, and both a master's degree (1990) and a doctorate degree (1993) in philosophy from Columbia University. From 1990 to 1991, Dr. Baroni was a visiting research fellow at the International Research Institute for Zen Buddhism of Hanazozo College in Kyoto, Japan. She was awarded a Japan Foundation Dissertation Fellowship in 1990, a Weatherhead Fellowship in 1992, and a grant from the Harvard Pluralism Project in 1998. Dr. Baroni has published a number of journal articles on Japanese religions. She is also the author of Obaku Zen: The Emergence of the Third Sect of Zen in Tokugawa, Japan, published by the University of Hawaii Press (2000).

    A historian's description of what the ceremony has typically meant in the history of Zen Buddhism ...

    When books about Zen Buddhism began appearing in Western languages just over a half-century ago, there was no interest whatsoever in the role of ritual in Zen. Indeed, what attracted Western readers' interest was the Zen rejection of ritual. The famous 'Beat Zen' writers were delighted by the Zen emphasis on spontaneity as opposed to planned, repetitious action, and wrote inspirationally about the demythologized, anti-ritualized spirit of Zen. Quotes from the great Zen masters supported this understanding of Zen, and led to the fervor that fueled the opening of Zen centers throughout the West. Once Western practitioners in these centers began to practice Zen seriously, however, they discovered that zazen - Zen meditation - is a ritualized practice supported by centuries-old ritual practices of East Asia. Although initially in tension with the popular anti-ritual image of ancient Zen masters, interest in Zen ritual has increased along with awareness of its fundamental role in the spirit of Zen. Eventually, Zen practitioners would form the idea of no-mind, or the open and awakened state of mind in which ingrained habits of thinking give way to more receptive, direct forms of experience. This notion provides a perspective from which ritual could gain enormous respect as a vehicle to spiritual awakening, and thus this volume seeks to emphasize the significance of ritual in Zen practice. Containing 9 articles by prominent scholars about a variety of topics, including Zen rituals kinhin and zazen, this volume covers rituals from the early Chan period to modern Japan. Each chapter covers key developments that occurred in the Linji/Rinzai and Caodon/ Soto schools of China and Japan, describing how Zen rituals mold the lives and characters of its practitioners, shaping them in accordance with the ideal of Zen awakening. This volume is a significant step towards placing these practices in a larger historical and analytical perspective.

    As I said, not typically a ritual form I would emphasize here at Treeleaf, although a lovely old Ritual. Further, Dainin's explanations of the meaning of the various aspects, and the elegance he brought to the ceremonies, truly brought them alive. As Dainin explained the ceremony, it becomes in his hands truly an expression of gratitude and something much more beautiful than some simple supplication to the Buddhas for good fortune or the like.

    We will discuss this a bit more when I return from the trip, but I personally hesitate at such ceremonies. Shohaku Okamura Roshi is also rather hesitant (bottom paragraph here) ...

    This immensely useful book explores Zen's rich tradition of chanted liturgy and the powerful ways that such chants support meditation, expressing and helping us truly uphold our heartfelt vows to live a life of freedom and compassion. Exploring eight of Zen's most essential and universal liturgical texts, Living by Vow is a handbook to walking the Zen path, and Shohaku Okumura guides us like an old friend, speaking clearly and directly of the personal meaning and implications of these chants, generously using his experiences to illustrate their practical significance. A scholar of Buddhist literature, he masterfully uncovers the subtle, intricate web of culture and history that permeate these great texts. Esoteric or challenging terms take on vivid, personal meaning, and old familiar phrases gain new poetic resonance.

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - Not sure why the ceremonies are not visible on our page.
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-18-2014, 04:11 AM.


    • Dokan
      Friend of Treeleaf
      • Dec 2010
      • 1222

      You are very quick and observant Nindo! They are back online now. The Kito ceremony had a dedication portion where names of people who are in the monks hearts are recited. (@ 1:02:30 for Kito and 13:40 for Contemplative Kito)

      For privacy purposes I have edited it out and now reposted. Similar situation with the teisho which is still on my to do list. Here are the links but they should also now show on the Treeleaf YouTube page.

      Kito Ceremony:

      Contemplative Kito Ceremony:

      Last edited by Dokan; 08-18-2014, 11:58 AM.
      We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
      ~Anaïs Nin


      • Nindo

        Thanks so much Dokan for the videos, and Jundo for the explanation!
        Yes, it felt Dainin brought this to life in a special way, it was palpable even just watching on the screen.
        Last edited by Guest; 08-18-2014, 04:16 PM.


        • Jika
          • Jun 2014
          • 1337

          I'm looking forward to further explanations and discussion - not that I'm not confused enough already or needed more on my plate, but I was watching it like I used to watch magicians at kindergarten parties, how is he doing this! Beautiful, especially with accompanying explanations.

          治 Ji
          花 Ka