Jukai Study (Lay Ordination)
Jukai means “to receive the precepts.” It is an initiation into the Zen Buddhist community. In Jukai, you receive the rakusu, which represents the robe of the Buddha, the kechyimyaku (lineage papers), connecting you to the lineage of people who practiced in the past, and a dharma name, representing qualities of your practice.
Jukai is also called “taking refuge.” In Jukai, you take refuge in the sixteen bodhisattva precepts, composed of the three refuges, the three pure precepts and the ten grave precepts.
The Jukai ceremony is a public confirmation of one’s life as the life of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. We empower and are empowered by the teacher and the lineage. Witnessed by the Sangha (community), we enter the family of the Buddha.
Receiving Jukai is a commitment to your own practice, to the sangha and to your vows. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you are committing to one root teacher at this time. If you go on to ordain as a priest, you receive new lineage papers.
Jukai is open to people who:
- Have practiced with the Clouds in Water sangha (including BIPOC sitting group or affiliated sanghas such as the Zen Bridge Community) for at least a year.
- Have a regular meditation practice (daily or nearly so).
- Practice regularly with the Sangha (weekly or nearly so).
- Are familiar with basic Buddhist teachings of the four noble truths (suffering, cause of suffering, liberation and the path), the dharma seals (impermanence, no separate self, and nirvana), and Zen practices of bowing and chanting.
- Have formed a relationship with one of the teachers by attending classes, sesshins, or retreats and speaking privately to one of them regarding your motivations for participating in jukai. If you have not already chosen a teacher, you must do so by January, 2022, in order to continue the Jukai process. The teacher you choose for this process is called your Preceptor. If you are not sure who to pick, we can assign a preceptor to you.
- Are willing to make an ongoing commitment to the sangha through various volunteer service positions that are appropriate to one’s life circumstances.
- For teens, the process and requirements are slightly different. Teens or teen parents should contact Kikan@cloudsinwater.org for more information.