Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Joy of Jukai

This past weekend I attended another Sesshin (meditation retreat) before my Jukai (Lay Ordination).  It was nice to see friends and of course meet new ones.  One of the highlights was the new practice at the monastery of traditional Oryoki meal serving in the Sodo (meditation hall).  We have always had Oryoki meals there before, but in the dining hall instead.  Sorry I don't have a picture, but it was pretty much exactly like this:

I was chosen to be a server for two of the meals which was a unique and cool experience as well.  I fell somewhat ill, so I was unable to sit in every single sitting, but I was able to get my "fill."

The highlight of the weekend, of course, was the Jukai Ceremony.
Setup before Ceremony

 I had been looking forward to this and taking the precepts pretty much all summer.  It was strange going in the procession I felt almost "naked" in a sense.
I was surprised how many people were there.  We had quite a handful there for Sesshin, but more and more people kept pouring in.  After taking the vows though, I felt a definite renewal of practice and purpose.  It was truly something I'll never forget.  The following pictures (and captions) may better describe what ensued. :
Formally asking for Ordination

Incense offering at one of the altars

Initial prostrations

Chanting the Heart Sutra

Receiving the Rakusu

Prostrations after The Vows

Bestowal of Lineage Papers

Shoken (the abbot) with Ordainees

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