Precepts group opens up again to practitioners interested in accepting the precepts
At the start of October we had a lovely precepts ceremony (Jukai-e 授戒会) in the Mirror Room of KSD Rokpa. Congratulations to Duncan (given the dharma name Sogaku), David G (Jido) and Nick (Koshin) on accepting the 16 precepts and receiving their Dharma names and Rakusu robes. We wish them all the very best in their Bodhisattva practice in the sangha. Our last Jukai-e was in Ardfern in 2017 which feels like quite a while back! This means we have again come full circle and re-open the precepts group to practitioners who are interested in finding out more about accepting the precepts.
When we have practiced Zazen for a while and we feel comfortable with the group and our sitting practice, we naturally feel we want to strengthen our connection to the sangha and deepen our practice further, for the benefit of all beings, following the wholehearted way of the Buddha.
Preparing to accept the bodhisattva precepts is a great way to do this – and you can do so by joining our precepts and sewing group to discover the process, learn about how the sixteen precepts are living and vital within zazen practice and your everyday life, and then be guided in the sewing of your small Buddhist robe (rakusu) in readiness for the Jukai-e ceremony.
The Buddha first gave a set of precept rules to his disciples to help them live harmoniously together as a sangha, and over hundreds of years these developed into the bodhisattva precepts, the entry point for practitioners who had intuitively awakened to the truth of Buddhism through practice. By becoming a Bodhisattva, practising the Buddha way, you are not just deepening your own practice but have the opportunity to aid the practice and welfare of other beings, and we hope you will commit to supporting our group activities, such as helping with any of the daily sits, or assisting teachers, or at our retreats and events.
There are several misconceptions about Jukai-e (literally ‘accepting the precepts meeting’) namely that you can’t do this if you have another spiritual interest or practice, or that some of the precepts (such as ‘take selfless action’ or ‘honour life, do not kill’) are restrictive rules to your lifestyle or pressure you to ‘behave’ a certain way. Some think wearing the robe shows a sign of hierarchy, or is a kind of ‘dressing up’ as a Zen Buddhist. None of these things are the case, and we will explain that to you at the group, and answer any questions you have. The robe is one of freedom that embodies the teachings of Buddha Dharma, a material expression of emptiness and interconnection that we carefully sew one stitch at a time, supporting each other as we do so. And the precepts are not vows that must be adhered to rigidly, they are supple and change in a similar way to how we must make micro adjustments to our posture as we sit, finding ease and balance.
Please contact Shogen Blair to find out more about the group and register your interest with us.