Soto Zen Bodhisattva Precepts Jukai
After nearly a year of study and engaging in daily practice & training at Zen Center North Shore in Beverly, Massachusetts, today I received the Bodhisattva Precepts from my Dharma teacher and Zen priest Myozen Joan Amaral in a Soto Zen Buddhist lay ordination ceremony called Jukai.
The Bodhisattva Precepts are a set of moral codes for living an ethical life used in Mahayana Buddhism. In the Jukai ceremony, I formally took refuge in Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, and vowed to live my life according to the Bodhisattva precepts.
I was given the Dharma name Jishō Gaishin. It means self blossom, shore intimate, which my teacher painted in Japanese calligraphy on the back of my Buddha's robe, called a Rakusu, which I hand sewn under the direction of Zen priest & sewing teacher Hogetsu Laurie Belzer of Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, Chicago, and lots of help from several of my fellow Zen practitioners.
Although this post isn't about my photography or art work, I thought I'd share this with you so you could learn more about who I am in addition to what's on my minimal about me page, although, considering most of my art work is Buddhist in nature, it is also, I suppose, good for me to write about this here, because, although I was already Buddhist when I first came to the Zen Center, studying and practicing Tibetan Vajrayana for roughly 7 years prior, and several other traditions prior to that since 1989, I first became involved in Zen practice and study at the Zen Center as a photographer when Joan invited me to be a part of Zen Center North Shore to photograph a week long series of events with Buddhist scholar, sensei and artist Kazuaki Tanahashi. I have been there ever since and have been fully committed to a daily practice.
I genuinely love Zen practice, Zen Center, my teacher, my Sangha whom I practice with and Buddhism. I committed my life to this path, daily practice and living by vow, and I will continue to walk this path until the day I die. The experiences I had over these past 11 months have had a profound, beneficial impact on me and my life, and I am filled with so much love, joy and gratitude for the dramatic shifts in how I view and interact with the world and those around me, with love, kindness and compassion.