Goodbye Sesshin, Hello Jukai
October 17, 2010 by Yugen
The end of another sesshin is almost upon us. We still have another 5 weeks of the Fall Training Period left – four more weeks of regular schedule and then one last, final, blow-out dharma-fest of a sesshin. And then we get ready for winter! Not that winter is necessarily a well behaved creature, waiting patiently for us to finish our training before descending upon the canyon, so we are already preparing. I have no idea how many trainees we will have here in residence over the winter months and tomorrow we are having a board meeting, as we do at the end of every quarter, and the issue of help will be discussed then. The gist of it is, we need some. Help, that is. And due to the snow and difficult driving conditions it is often the time of year when we get the least, so we will be discussing ways around this. Do we pay for some one to come up and plow the road when we are too busy with other work and we don’t have enough skilled people up here to operate the plow and tractor? Do we really want to spend precious resources on things we can potentially do ourselves, and if not, what about all the other things that need to be done while we are taking care of the road and shoveling snow etc? It is the usual winter conundrum. We usually get through it, exhausted at the other end, by basically going in to what Roshi refers to as triage, where we take care of the part of the Center which is hurting the most at the time, be it the frozen and burst water pipe or the foot of snow on the road or the fire wood that needs to be stacked or the guest group that needs serving. This can actually be a lot of fun, but when you stop to catch your breath, you realize how tiring it can be, and after 15 or so winters up on the mountain, I think Roshi is hoping for a less chaotic time of it this season.
The gakki went well. Suiryu knew the service inside out and trained us up in no time and the service went with out a hitch. Hopefully we will do more of them in the short-term future so we can practice. I hated the formal stuff when I started, but the sense of flow and of sangha working together really appeals to me now, so I tend to enjoy the services and like learning new parts. Tomorrow we have a Jukai ceremony for Melissa Severa, Jim Prall, Ilene Van Gossen and Cherie Berryman-Beyer. The guys have all been working hard on sewing their rakusu, the abbreviated Buddhist robes that we wear around our necks, and tomorrow during the ceremony, they will be formally presented with them along with a dharma name. Jukai is, according to Wikipedia:
Lay Buddhist ordination (traditional Chinese: 受戒; pinyin: shòu jiè, Japanese: Jukai (受戒?), Korean: sugye (수계) refers to the public ordination ceremony wherein a lay student of Zen Buddhism receives certain Buddhist precepts, “a rite in which they publicly avow allegiance to ‘The Three Refuges‘ of Buddhist practice: The Buddha, the dharma and the sangha.”
Notice the 'public' part means that you are all very welcome to come and take part in this ceremony tomorrow morning at 11:20. Be there, or be somewhere else. Your choice.