This annual ceremony, second in importance only to ordination, gives us the opportunity to further ground our practice by pledging to do our best to live up to the basic sixteen precepts of Buddhism: the Three Treasures, the Three General Resolutions, and the Ten Cardinal Precepts.
All are welcome, whether you’re a member of the Zen Center or not: don’t shy away from this ceremony because you think you’re not “ready” for it. This ceremony really is not about navigating right and wrong, but about fortifying our natural desire not to cause harm. We do that by actually voicing these precepts, bringing us closer to embodying them.
If this year will be your first time receiving the precepts, or if it’s been a while, here’s a rough outline of what to expect:
- The ceremony begins around 5 pm in the Buddha Hall, but you’re welcome to come early if you like and sit in the Arnold Park zendo (anything you’re able to do ahead of time to slow down and clear the mind will help make Jukai more meaningful).\
- A bit ahead of time, we’ll begin sending people out to the Buddha Hall.
- Once in the Buddha Hall you’ll be directed down the center aisle to make an optional donation to the teacher (a token amount is fine), do a prostration at the altar, and take a seat.
- When everyone is seated, Sensei will enter, and we’ll chant the Prajna Paramita
- Then Sensei will lead everyone through the Sixteen Precepts.
- The ceremony itself takes about half an hour, and afterwards we’ll have refreshments in the Link.