Last Saturday I went through jukai, and am now a lay ordained Zen Buddhist.
There is so much to say. And yet I cannot for the life of me begin to put it into words. The days leading up to the ceremony were full of anticipation, so much so that I was unable to sit down at the keyboard. And then after the day itself, I was so full, so complete, that I was exhausted. The Sunday following, I hibernated, doing little more than read the congratulatory cards from the members of my sangha.
The full import hit me on Tuesday, when I attended my regular Zen sangha group in Healdsburg. The seven of us who had been through jukai showed up with our newly received rakusu. Before the sit, we did the robe chant for the first time at that zendo, and donned our rakusu, wearing them for the rest of the evening. It felt like we had all grown up in a way, entered a new phase of our practice.
I hope, over the next week, to talk about the ceremony, and what it meant to me. About my new name, and receiving my lineage papers, and becoming part of a sangha in a richer way. For now, I must leave it at this: I feel changed. I feel renewed. And I am very, very grateful to Tony and Darlene for giving me this chance to deepen my practice.