Jukai

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  • Dojin
    Member
    • May 2008
    • 562

    Jukai

    i would like to know how does one take a jukai and what does it involve?

    what one must do before and how does one come to take it?

    p.s.

    i dont have a teacher in my country, so is it possible for me to take it?
    I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
    - the Buddha
  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39221

    #2
    Re: Jukai

    Hi Zen (What a name!),

    I have been planning this for many months, and I am thinking to go ahead soon after I return from Vietnam. The Jukai ceremony (meaning, "Undertaking the Precepts") is just a celebration of one's living the Precepts right now and now and now. The Precepts, I believe, all come down to this:

    Live as you can so as not to harm others, not to harm yourself ... and to know that there is ultimately no separation there.


    If you are living like that, you have already "undertaken the Precepts", I think. But the Jukai also represents a commitment to your Zen practice of Zazen and to our tradition and its history running back to the Ol' Buddha himself.

    We will have a special course of study of the individual Precepts in the coming months, sew a Rakusu (a short form of the Buddhist robe that you can usually see me wearing on the "Sit-a-Long" netcast), and then the Jukai ceremony. It will be, as far as I know, the world' first cyber-Jukai. Although all will be online, the Jukai will be done with great care and attention. There will be nothing left out, no corners cut, merely because we are to undertake it all over the internet.

    Yes, anyone who is part of this Sangha and feels their heart interested in this is welcome. New or old folks. In fact, there is no reason that folks who have previously taken Jukai cannot do it again ... in Japan, I have met folks who take Jukai every year. There is no reason you cannot do it again with Treeleaf if you have already taken it with another Sangha.

    As for the Precept studies: I am thinking that it will run something like the book club, with special readings and discussions ... a Precept at a time over a series of weeks. Perhaps a Precept each week. Everyone undertaking the Precept studies will be obligated to make a daily posting, not just weekly (as with the book club). It will be an opportunity for study and reflection.

    For sewing the Rakusu: there is someone in my lineage who is truly an expert on Rakusu and Kesa sewing, and I am hoping that I can persuade him to teach that part. He is a little shy right now. The sewing instructions would be partly in writing, partly video, partly a section of the forum where people can offer tips and advise.

    There will be a multi-day "Sesshin" leading up to the ceremony. It would be in the format of a simulcast from our Treeleaf Zendo, netcast "live" 24 hours, on a multi-day basis, from the sitting room. Of course, people will be sitting at home, and in different time zones. So, I would post a sitting schedule and upload talks, plus work assignment and the like. Meeting with me by video during the Sesshin, several times, will be encouraged. People would follow the schedule at home, and listen to the talks and perform the work assignments, on the honor system. For working folks, it would be a "commuter's Sesshin," meaning that it would work around, and incorporate, existing work and family obligations. I am thinking, as much as possible. to make it a silent retreat, however, and to ask people to cut out an non-essential entertainments for the week (tv, hobbies, newspaper reading, etc.). Also, we would have a special study of Oryoki eating and other Sesshin practices.

    The ceremony itself would be a simulcast, live (as you know, I have the capacity for that), with all members in the same room. Yes, some folks will probably have to do it at 3am their time. It would be recorded for others (non-participants) to view later.

    I am sorry that I have waited with this. I have wanted the community to develop and continue to jell first. However, I am determined that this community will come to have everything that a wood and bricks Zen Center has, so we will figure out together how to do this well, as a Sangha.

    Finally, for those of you who have not read one of my descriptions of the Precepts, I include one below.

    Gassho, Jundo


    I consider the Precepts signposts or guides for life in a harmless and healthful manner.

    Our Zen practice teaches us that we are free to act at each moment. We are free to harm others and/or harm ourselves (same thing ultimately), or we are free not do harm and to be helpful. It really is up to us. The Precepts guide us toward conduct that, generally, will not cause harm.

    The Precepts both naturally arise from, and facilitate, our Buddhist Practice. For example, one who meditates will tend to be less angry and clutching at material goods, thus less prone toward overstepping the Precepts on anger, stealing etc. On the other hand, someone who lives so as to avoid anger, stealing etc. will find a certain equanimity cultivated within themselves by that lifestyle which will, in turn, facilitate their Buddhist Practice.

    The Precepts are more like frameworks or guidelines than "Commandments" in the Judeo-Christian meaning. First, the details within the guidelines are left rather open ended in our Zen Practice (e.g., one should not kill, but what about to protect society?? Should one tell a white lie if telling the truth will hurt someone's feelings, or are all lies wrong? ... the Precepts provide few hard and fast answers.). There is no particular belief that a god or the universe handed us the Precepts as "Commands", and they are viewed more as matters of human "common sense" lifestyle. We go to a kind of heaven and hell sometimes due to breaching the Precepts (although the Karmic ramifications are far from mechanical and clear), but that "heaven" and "hell" is viewed as a psychological realm within us.

    Other sects of Buddhism interpret the Precepts in different ways, and we will study that too. For example, some believe that the Precepts and our actions have Karmic effects which, very literally, determine our rebirth after death (that is not something I teach). Other, very traditional strains in Buddhism (as in all religions) impose hundreds and hundreds of very strict and detailed Precepts (especially for Priests over lay people, and worse for women than men). However, in Zen tradition, our Zen Precepts have been boiled down to a common sense few.

    And again, in my view, each and all of the Precepts come down to this variation on the Golden Rule:

    Live, as you can, so as not to harm others, not to harm yourself ... and to know that there is ultimately no difference.

    It is the manifestation of Wisdom in life, and Compassion toward others.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    Comment

    • CinnamonGal
      Member
      • Apr 2008
      • 195

      #3
      Re: Jukai

      Zen, thanks for bringing the question up and Jundo, for replying with such detail.

      I had a similar question but really have not come to any decision having this internal fear that I would want a formal commitment more than a commitment in heart and spirit, that I would be drawn to the romantic, exotic side of it. I think studying the meaning of precepts is the way to start.

      Sewing over Internet would be fun! :-)

      Gassho,

      Irina
      http://appropriteresponse.wordpress.com

      Comment

      • Dojin
        Member
        • May 2008
        • 562

        #4
        Re: Jukai

        thank you Jundo for the replay.
        i am curently a student of and am studying for my last big test ( RN - Registerd Nurse ) over the next few month.
        yet i am very interested in doing the Jukai, i have been thinking of it for quite some time now. i do believe it is a serious matter not to be taken lightly, and have contemplated it for quite some time. with that said i do wish to study and know all about it and to truely understand it not only intellectually but also deeply and truly know it ( i think i lack the words to explain, and after trying to find a word in the 3 languages i know, i have to say it is beyond words ).

        p.s.
        please let me know if there anything i can do to help with the preperations i would be more than happy to do so if i am at all able
        I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
        - the Buddha

        Comment

        • Shui_Di
          Member
          • Apr 2008
          • 210

          #5
          Re: Jukai

          Yeah....

          I'm really waiting for this online Jukai....

          Gassho....
          Practicing the Way means letting all things be what they are in their Self-nature. - Master Dogen.

          Comment

          • Ryumon
            Member
            • Apr 2007
            • 1693

            #6
            Re: Jukai

            Hmm... Would it be wrong of me to say that I have no desire to do this? While I am certainly interested in studying the precepts, and already do my best to live by some or most of them, the idea of a formal ceremony to make me an "official" Buddhist turns me off. Will I be looked at differently because I don't want to? :|

            Kirk
            ---
            Ryūmon (Kirk)
            流文

            SAT/LAH

            I know nothing.

            Comment

            • Jundo
              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
              • Apr 2006
              • 39221

              #7
              Re: Jukai

              Originally posted by kirkmc
              Hmm... Would it be wrong of me to say that I have no desire to do this? While I am certainly interested in studying the precepts, and already do my best to live by some or most of them, the idea of a formal ceremony to make me an "official" Buddhist turns me off. Will I be looked at differently because I don't want to? :|

              Kirk
              Oh, but Kirk ... if you don't do the ceremony, you won't learn the secret handshake. :cry: Also, you don't get the "official Buddhist" discount at the local cine.

              Well, if you are not wanting to do the ceremony for the reason you describe ("already doing your best"), then I for one consider you already to be an "official Buddhist". Sorry. You are already "Jukai" whether you want to be or not.

              Gassho, Jundo
              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

              Comment

              • Ryumon
                Member
                • Apr 2007
                • 1693

                #8
                Re: Jukai

                That's not fair! :-)

                Kirk
                ---
                Ryūmon (Kirk)
                流文

                SAT/LAH

                I know nothing.

                Comment

                • Longdog
                  Member
                  • Nov 2007
                  • 448

                  #9
                  Re: Jukai

                  :lol: yeh I reckon you're snookered Kirk :lol:

                  To me precepts are just a way of getting it witnessed that you want to hold the precepts and follow the 8 fold path. Like confirmation in the catholic church, something I was forced to do as a child grrr....

                  In truth your actions will show whether you're a Buddhist or not, not a ceremony, and 'the kingdom of death must be entered by oneself alone with nothing for company but our own good and bad karma'.

                  For the record, I'm not sure if I'll be doing it, I'd like to, but family commitments etc might make it difficult to join in everything.

                  In gassho, Kev
                  [url:x8wstd0h]http://moder-dye.blogspot.com/[/url:x8wstd0h]

                  Comment

                  • Dojin
                    Member
                    • May 2008
                    • 562

                    #10
                    Re: Jukai

                    i agree with Jundo if one does his best to live a life in which he does not harm people he has already taken the jukai.

                    i dont care what it takes from me. it is important to me and i feel so i will do it. even though it doesnt matter at all since its only a formality
                    I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
                    - the Buddha

                    Comment

                    • chicanobudista
                      Member
                      • Mar 2008
                      • 864

                      #11
                      Re: Jukai

                      Originally posted by Jundo

                      For sewing the Rakusu: there is someone in my lineage who is truly an expert on Rakusu and Kesa sewing, and I am hoping that I can persuade him to teach that part. He is a little shy right now. The sewing instructions would be partly in writing, partly video, partly a section of the forum where people can offer tips and advise.
                      Sooooo.... ops: ....is it "cheating" if I ask my wife to sew the rasuku? :?:
                      paz,
                      Erik


                      Flor de Nopal Sangha

                      Comment

                      • Jundo
                        Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                        • Apr 2006
                        • 39221

                        #12
                        Re: Jukai

                        Originally posted by chicanobudista
                        Originally posted by Jundo

                        ....is it "cheating" if I ask my wife to sew the rasuku? :?:
                        YES!

                        This is Practice, like Samu or Oryoki eating, an opportunity for mindful action, with each stitch being one by one by one, instant by instant by instant. There will be many mistakes and misses, but there will be no mistakes or misses ...

                        You can ask your wife for guidance ... but you must do the sewing yourself.

                        Gassho, Jundo

                        PS- This is another reason that I am trying to get clarification from Nishijima Roshi on his meaning when he wrote on his blog this week that he does not approve of "mindfulness" ... because he and Rev. Taijun, a priest who is his long time student, held many many classes for our Sangha on Rakusu and Kesa sewing, and there it was always emphasized that Rakusu sewing is a mindful practice in the manner I describe. Not to mention that Shobogenzo is full of passages that encourage mindful action in regard to the Kesa and all manner of daily events. From working on translation with him a long time, and having this occur before in his way of speaking, I think Nishijima Roshi''s meaning might be rather subtle and lost a bit in his English ...
                        ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                        Comment

                        • chicanobudista
                          Member
                          • Mar 2008
                          • 864

                          #13
                          Re: Jukai

                          Originally posted by Jundo
                          Originally posted by chicanobudista
                          Originally posted by Jundo

                          ....is it "cheating" if I ask my wife to sew the rasuku? :?:
                          YES!

                          This is Practice, like Samu or Oryoki eating, an opportunity for mindful action, with each stitch being one by one by one, instant by instant by instant. There will be many mistakes and misses, but there will be no mistakes or misses ...

                          You can ask your wife for guidance ... but you must do the sewing yourself.
                          Thanks for the clarification.

                          I am veddy, veddy bad with sewing. So. I might end up with a hankie. :mrgreen:

                          Gassho.
                          paz,
                          Erik


                          Flor de Nopal Sangha

                          Comment

                          • Dojin
                            Member
                            • May 2008
                            • 562

                            #14
                            Re: Jukai

                            same here....dont know how to saw. but i think we will all manage
                            I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
                            - the Buddha

                            Comment

                            • Hans
                              Member
                              • Mar 2007
                              • 1853

                              #15
                              Re: Jukai

                              Hello Folks!

                              Just my two cents regarding Jukai. As Jundo knows very well, I am eagerly (but not too eagerly) awaiting the time of our Jukai, basically because I have found rituals like this to be very helpful, or rather to be upaya/ skillful means that help me with keeping up a certain level of commitment and discipline. Do I think one needs Jukai in order to be a good buddhist boy or girl? Not in the least, but I consider these things to have great value on a relative level, for people who are thus inclined.

                              One doesn't have to get married either in order to truly love someone, but I chose to and would do it again if for some reason it turned out that there was something wrong with the paperwork back when I married.

                              May I humbly suggest, that everyone (including myself) should ask him/herself again and again in the weeks leading up to the Jukai, whether they really want to take the precepts in this particular Buddhist school/ Soto lineage. Some people on this forum (I am only guessing here) may really like this Sangha but may be so new to Buddhism and its different manifestations that they may think it's great to do the Jukai here, only to discover three months later, that the Karma-Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism is the real deal for them.

                              I guess that'd be no real problem at all, however I am a bit of a conservative fellow when it comes to people committing to "the next best thing" that feels right instead of committing to "the thing that one truly feels is best for oneself after loads of careful experience and thorough research". Ultimately not my personal problem to be honest, however if Jukai became the equivalent of "since you're around, why don't you do just it", there seems little point in setting it up like a special ceremony that served as an important part of Soto-Zen for quite some time now in the first place.

                              Seriously I am not trying to put anyone off the Jukai (well...maybe a little bit)....but I am reminded of some of my own past mistakes here, where enthusiasm won against careful consideration with dubious results.


                              Gassho,

                              Hans

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