Taigu and I are pleased to announce that three individuals (from Canada, Germany and Sweden) will be receiving Shukke Tokudo (Home-Leaving) Ordination within our Treeleaf Sangha late this summer. That means that they will each begin training to be Soto Zen priests, traditionally marked by a ceremony of head shaving, and receiving Buddhist robes and bowls.
As with so much of our Practice at Treeleaf — transcending distance, separation and borders — we will be breaking some very new ground. The ceremony itself, and a large portion of the training to follow, will combine traditional methods with great innovations. [Click through to read more and to "sit-a-long" with today's video.]
The ceremony itself will be held with the participants in four separate countries, and our Sangha members observing the ceremony from perhaps twenty countries, often separated by thousands of miles, all linked by modern telecommunications. Training too will combine old ways and some very new ways transcending barriers. We expect the training period will require several years, and there is no promise or expectation of the outcome. The “goalless goal” is the creation of priests who have profoundly penetrated into the way of Zazen, who are ethical, who can serve the community and people who come to them for guidance, and who embody the ways of their Lineage. No corners can be cut, and nothing should be rushed, for we would risk giving birth to clergy and teachers who are ill equipped, ill informed and ill prepared for their roles.
Traditionally, in India, China, Japan and the other Buddhist countries of Asia, one was expected to leave one’s home and family behind in order to begin the necessary training and practice of an “apprentice monk.” Now, in Japan and the West, most Zen priests are married with families. This, in keeping with changes in cultures and society, has done much to bring Buddhism out from behind monastery walls. Thus, the term “leaving home” has come to have a wider meaning, of “leaving behind” greed, anger, ignorance, the harmful emotions and attachments that fuel so much of this world, in order to find the “True Home” we all share. In such a way, we find the Home that can never be left, take to the Way that cannot be taken.
Today’s Sit-A-Long video follows. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended.