This morning I undertook Buddhist lay ordination in a ceremony called jukai, which means “receiving precepts” in Japanese. “Precepts” are a series of vows for living one’s life. This ceremony was conducted entirely online through Treeleaf Zendo, an all-online Soto Zen sangha that I’m a part of. The others taking part came from all around the world – Ukraine, Thailand, Vietnam, and elsewhere. Here’s a recording of the ceremony.
This is the han hanging outside Treeleaf Zendo in Tsukuba, Japan. I just participated in a 2-day online retreat with the Treeleaf sangha around the world. The han functions as a sort of wooden “bell”, struck to start the retreat. It reads:
“Life and death are the great matter.
To waste time is a pity.
All is impermanent and passes swiftly away.
Time waits for no one.”
The other day, someone visited me and asked, ‘I wish to practice zazen under your guidance. But because I live far away, I can’t come to [temple] very often. I’d like to practice zazen at home. What should I keep in mind to avoid doing zazen in a mistaken way.’ I responded, ‘If your wife and children say, “Daddy has become nicer since he began doing zazen”, then your practice is on the right track.’Kōshō Uchiyama, Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo
Some weeks after I read this, I was walking my daughter to her school bus stop. Out of nowhere, she looked at me and said “You’re less angry since you became a Buddhist.”