Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

My jukai

BarraBarra soto zenniewandering in a cloud in beautiful, bucolic Victoria BC, on the wacky left coast of Canada Veteran

Well we had our jukai ceremony on a sunny May 1, 2014.

For me to describe the ceremony, I need first to introduce you to my sangha. Our little group - the Middle Way sangha - is a Soto group, led by our teacher Wayne Codling, who traces his involvement to the very early days of the San Francisco Zen Centre in the early 70's, when he was the only Canadian there. He has maintained a diligent practice - as a monastic most of that time - and moved to Victoria BC a decade or so ago. He chose not to be ordained as a priest, preferring to be a low-ranked teacher, and as a teacher he focusses almost soley on meditation. We have dharma talks, but virtually none of the formalities of bowing, chanting, and prostrations. So it came as a surprise to him (and me) when twelve members of our group, unknown to each other, all made it known to him that we wanted to take vows. This started an interesting planning journey on "how to do it", given that we would have to have some other high official sanctify the event. After some emailing back and forth with an old friend, Soketsu Norman Fisher agreed to spend the day with us prior to going to Vancouver to lead a retreat the next weekend. Then we spent the better part of a year sewing our rakasus (the vestige of Buddha's robe, worn by Soto practitioners. We decided to preface the ceremony with a full day sesshin (retreat) and were joined by other friends from "overseas" (we live on an island) representing the Mountain Rain sangha in Vancouver, the Red Cedar sangha in Bellingham Washington, and the Saltspring Zen Circle (Dogen scholar Peter Leavitt). We chose to hold in in a lovely sun drenched side room of a local United Church, and did our kinhin (walking meditation) in the church's meditation garden. A couple of our members prepared meals for us, which were presented in a makeshift "orioki" style, using mismatched pastel crockery from the kitchen cupboards. The ceremony took place in the community meeting room next door, to which we walked single file, chanting, to find a room full of friends and familiy and camera flashbulbs going off. It was all very moving, ten creaky middle aged people nervously taking pinches of incense and figuring how to get upNow we open Buddha's robe/A fi to a standing position while holding our lineage charts carefully in our hands.

Now we start our Sunday sitting periods by putting our rakasu's on our heads while chanting the Robe Chant - Now we open Buddha's Robe/ A field far beyond form and emptiness/ The tathagata's teaching for all being.

Now we have taken our vows, and look at life slightly differently. Still starting from zero every day.

Enjoy the photos!
(you may have to click on the little photo icon to make it come up)



  • BarraBarra soto zennie wandering in a cloud in beautiful, bucolic Victoria BC, on the wacky left coast of Canada Veteran

    Here's another photo. This one is of me getting my lineage papers.

  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran

    NIce pics! .. :) ..

  • BarraBarra soto zennie wandering in a cloud in beautiful, bucolic Victoria BC, on the wacky left coast of Canada Veteran

    Here we are with our rakasus on our heads, chanting the Robe Chant. I think this is a Soto thing, because my rinzai group never did this.

    It is interesting the reactions that I get when I tell people about the ceremony. The women in my art gallery group seem to "get" it (I say it is like a confirmation ceremony) and some have come up privately to congratulate me. I find this quite moving. I am also finding, unexpectedly, that my practice is becoming deeper.

    [Admins feel free to bring up the photos, if you can. I should probably learn how to compress files]

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @Barra‌ great photos! Thanks for sharing. I love the sitting position you guys take. Must of been a great day! :)

  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    My 'Take Refuge' ceremony, a bit like @federica's, also passed me by due to a severe case of lost-in-translation maelstrom.
    The ceremony, which included a Green Tara initiation, was booked to take place in both English and German. My German is perfect for everyday interaction but not academic enough for a philosophical discussion (I never even bothered to look up how you say 'take refuge' or the 4 NT or the N8P in German).
    After a short introduction in English, and since apparently I was the only speak-any-language-on-Earth-but-German member in the audience, quite off-handedly, Lodrö Rinpoche decided to carry out the ceremony in perfect German. Of course, he's been living in Switzerland for almost fifty years, so what was I expecting?
    He flitted from Tibetan to German and viceversa. Obviously, Tibetan did not much to light up the bulb in my head. The bilingual booklet with the wrong languages in my hand either.
    Instead of drowning in my misery, I practised the most focused mindfulness exercise I have ever practised in my life. I concentrated on the little German I understood, and grounded myself on the intuitive beauty of the ceremony. I decided this was a decisive moment in my life where I was actually coming out of my beliefs closet, a memory I would often revisit later in the future, so even if intellectually I was not all there, my heart was very, very present.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I take Refuge every morning, and I do the same before retiring at night. Topping and tailing the day is like the 'Please and Thank-you' that precedes and completes any request.
    In the morning it is a wish-fulfilling entreaty; in the evening it's a "well, another day has passed - what did you screw up big time? "

    Mostly, it isn't anything that can never be remedied....

  • howhow Veteran Veteran


    I notice that not only were the toilet posts removed that Barra objected to but even my post asking her about that objection as well, and her reply.

    I wonder why Barra's objection received such a sweeping correction considering the many other threads ignored by the moderators where the OP's objected to the responding posts...unless it was your personal contribution in it.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I think Barra was correct. This is her thread; I think the content was both off-topic and wholly inappropriate.
    Most discussions will occasionally veer off-topic, and take different tangents. The off-topic nature of the posts, she considered tasteless, and to be honest, I would have deleted them whether I had contributed or not.
    in fact - you could check with @Chaz on this - any discussion which is deemed to be inappropriate to the thread, is removed. And that has also included discussions I may have had with members.

    I hope this answers your question.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran


    Thanks for sharing. A serious and on occasion formal commitment is something to inspire everyone. :clap: .

Sign In or Register to comment.