“The hour is striking so close above me,
so clear and sharp,
that all my senses ring with it.
I feel it now: there’s a power in me
to grasp and give shape to my world.
I know that nothing has ever been real
without my beholding it.
All becoming has needed me.
My looking ripens things .
And they come toward me, to meet and be met.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke’s The Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
Many people practice Buddhism, but few take vows, or Jukai. Jukai is the first formal level of commitment to embodying the Buddha’s teachings. A Jukai initiate in our zen lineage receives the following precepts. Those who embody, and aspire to embody these precepts are treasures in this world.
- AFFIRM LIFE – I respect all sentient and insentient beings and always act with compassion toward them. In order to live, it is necessary for me to take life. I do so with reverence for the life taken. In gratitude, I do not take my own life for granted.
- ACT GENEROUSLY – I act with generosity and open-handedness. I receive only things that are freely given to me. I remember that clinging and attachment are the root of all suffering.
- BE LOVING – I am conscious and loving in all of my relationships. In sexuality, I discern the difference between love and lust and do not take advantage of other human beings. I transform the arising of lust into true loving.
- MANIFEST TRUTH-I honor honesty and truth. I speak with integrity from the depth of my heart.
- RESPECT CLARITY-I act at all times with mindfulness and clarity. I do not abuse my body or cloud my mind with the misuse of intoxicants.
- HONOR SILENCE – I remember the preciousness of silence. I see the perfection in others and refrain from gossip or frivolous conversation. I remain thoughtful and mindful of the effects of my speech.
- CELEBRATE OTHERS-I rejoice in the good fortune of others. I do not, through my thoughts, words or actions, separate myself from others through coveting, envy or jealousy.
- BE GIVING-I give generously of myself, sharing freely my love, my gifts, my talents and my abundance for the benefit of all. I do not selfishly withhold. I do not add any more suffering to the world.
- EMBODY COMPASSION-I recognize and enlighten my greed, anger and ignorance. I transform my negative emotions and act with equanimity, sympathetic joy, compassion, and loving kindness.
- STEWARD THE EARTH-I hold sacred this planet Earth. I seek to understand Nature’s interconnections and celebrate my own interdependency. I work toward achieving a lifestyle that gives more back to this Earth than I take from it.
- MANIFEST THIS WAY-I hold precious this Sangha and the sacred life we embody, especially with these three treasures: This absolute purity of our Awakened Mind! (Buddha), This life filled with wisdom, compassion and skillful means! (Dharma), This never-ending mystery of life unfolding! All brothers, all sisters, all beings! (Sangha)
In addition to receiving the vows, the initiates receive a dharma name. Dharma essentially means highest truth. In our Blue Sky Zen lineage, the name I give each initiate is related to their particular manifestation of sacred truth in this world.
Tomorrow, I will be ordaining our first two sangha (community) members to take formal vows, and welcoming them formally into Blue Sky Zen, as well as into our greater, international Hollow Bones sangha. Our Mission: We are a sacred order, bringing into being a harmonious and loving world, through the practice of meditative, compassionate awareness, and mindful stewardship. To take Jukai is to bind your individual intent towards this mission with that of a great vehicle, already in motion, already supporting its practitioners, and manifesting this harmonious and loving world. With every interaction, with every intention, we strive to add value and bring focus to what is truly essential.
“Life and death are of supreme importance. Time passes quickly, and opportunity is lost. Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Do not squander your life!” – Zen night chant
The world has never been a greater need for more of us to wake up. If you are interested in our mission, find a Hollow Bones sangha near you.