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.