Our annual celebration of the Buddha’s birth begins with Temple Night and Jukai (Taking the Precepts) on Friday, May 24. There are two Jukai ceremonies held each year, and although this springtime one – the climax of Temple Night – is somewhat informal, it offers us an opportunity to reinforce our practice and express our aspiration to uphold our Buddha Nature as described in the Precepts.

Before the Jukai ceremony begins at 9 p.m., and after it’s over, sitting and devotions are unstructured. You’re free, on this night, to set up your mat and cushions, or chair, anywhere in the Buddha Hall and to make prostrations and offer incense (or not) at any of the altars, as you wish.

If you like, you can sit late into the night after the Jukai ceremony ends. (For security reasons, the door to the Buddha Hall is locked from the outside at 9:30, so if you leave after that, you won’t be able to get back in.) This is a chance to do late-night sitting outside of sesshin in the company of buddhas and bodhisattvas – and, for residents, with no wakeup bell looming at 6:00 the next morning!

Festivities continue on Saturday with music, story-telling, a parade, and food. The full weekend schedule is here.