On November 19, 2017, we ended the three-month ango training period with Shuso Hossen, where the Chief Disciple Patrick Yunen Kelly offered his first public talk and engaged the sangha in Dharma Encounter. Yunen, now a senior student in the MRO, will continue to help keep the dharma flame burning at Fire Lotus Temple near his home in Brooklyn, as well as at the Monastery.
Earlier in the month on Sunday, November 12, Shugen Roshi gave Jukai to six students of the Mountains and Rivers Order. Having already practiced and studied at the Monastery and the Zen Center for many years, this ceremony of receiving the precepts marks their formal taking of the Bodhisattva Vows.
In preparation, the group stayed at the Monastery throughout the proceeding week, working on their rakusus and meeting daily with Shugen Roshi to explore the nature of these precepts in ever greater depth. During the ceremony the students received a lineage chart of the ancestors, a dharma name reflecting their personality and aspiration, as well as their inscribed rakusus.
The participants are seen in this photo (from left to right): Ely Seiryu Rayek (“Dragon Vow”), David Shokan McNamara (“Illuminated Barrier”), Pascale Koho Montadert (“Abundant Peace”), Donna Shoho Forgey (“Sacred Service”), Tom Tokusei Van Sickle (“Authentic Sincerity”), Kristen Keimu Adolfson (“Enlightened Dream”)
Shugen concluded the ceremony by offering these words from Daido Roshi, founder of the MRO:
“When the true eye opens, everything is realized as one. When the dharma eye opens one is realized as everything.
When the true eye functions, it clears away all discriminating thoughts and allows us to see the pure dharmakaya, the absolute oneness of the universe. When the dharma eye functions it creates a clarity the allows us to see that nothing in the universe is hidden. Everything is revealed, everything is just as it is.
The true eye is the eye of wisdom which is like diamond sword of Manjushri cuts through all illusions.
The dharma eye is the eye of compassion. it is the unconditioned love of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva and Samatabhadra Bodhisattva; it is working for the alleviation of all suffering.”
Everyone has these two eyes, as does the Buddha and you. When we open the two eyes we realize Buddha mind, and when we realize Buddha mind we realize that self nature and true nature are one. This is the treasury of the true dharma eye, Shobogenzo. This is giving life to all Buddhas.”