Jukai is comprised of two concepts. Ju (受) represents “handing something over” and is often translated as “accept” or “receive.” Kai (戒) refers to the tenets/virtues/precepts (take your pick) of Buddhist practice. We can understand this compound as “accepting the Buddhist precepts.” On a larger scale, we could say that jukai means “handing over the tenets of practice.”
The idea of “taking jukai” usually refers to a ceremony of accepting, or having handed over to us, the precepts. This is a pivotal moment in many lives – the point at which practitioners publicly declare their intention to serve as custodians of this timeless tradition.
If we “take” jukai, then it is in the sense of “undertaking.”
We are committing ourselves to, and beginning, a lifelong adventure characterized broadly by:
Doing no harm
Serving and liberating others
In Hollow Bones, we are then guided by our Eleven Precepts:
1. Affirm Life – I respect all sentient and insentient beings and always act with compassion towards 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.
2. 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 suffering.
3. 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.
4. Manifest Truth – I honor honesty and truth. I speak with integrity from the depth of my heart.
5. 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.
6. Honor Silence – I remember the preciousness of silence. I see the perfection in others and refrain from gossip and frivolous conversation. I remain thoughtful and mindful of the effects of my speech.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. Manifest this Way – I hold precious this Sangha and the sacred life we embody, especially these three treasures:
Buddha, Dharma & Sangha
Jukai at Hollow Bones Zen
Under the guidance of Taiso Byran Bartow Roshi, the intention of Hollow Bones Zen is to provide the Hollow Bones teachings in a manner consistent with its roots in Rinzai Zen while emphasizing the unique contribution of Jun Po Roshi, specifically Mondo Zen.
Candidates for jukai are prepared and expected to maintain a consistent Five Training Element personal practice. They have a foundational understanding of the Hollow Bones Zen core teachings and our historical lineage. Candidates are expected to memorize the Morning Service, Song of Zazen and Meal Reflections, and demonstrate comfort while participating in and supporting others on sesshin.
Attend sesshin with attention to details, demonstrating comfort in following proper etiquette
Complete Mondo Zen Facilitation with a trained facilitator from Hollow Bones Zen
Complete the following coursework:
The Sutra Book of Hollow Bones
The Precepts of Hollow Bones Intensive
Five Practice Mirrors of Hollow Bones Zen
Participate in ongoing sangha activities
Participate in dokusan or daisan with the leadership
Ongoing commitment to Five Training Elements
Sacred Stewardship: Have a consistent practice of conscientious consumption in your daily life, which demonstrates recognition of the impact of your actions on all sentient and insentient beings, and reduces your footprint on the planet.
Philosophical Reorientation: Continue with ongoing inquiry into the teachings of Hollow Bones Mondo Zen beyond the initial completion of Mondo Zen Facilitation, including a consistent meditation practice (1 hour daily).
Emotional Maturity and Integrity: Maintain ongoing practice of an Emotional Koan.
Conscious Embodiment: Maintain a regular and consistent embodiment practice.
Genuine Insight: Through this way of life we open into new understandings of impermanence, suffering and selflessness. Geniune insights into the dharma will result in transformation in our lives and deepen our committment to practice.
Form and Structure: Perform the Morning Service once a week. Assist sesshin staff and online offerings when requested and available.
Skillful Means: Participate in ongoing sangha activities. Attend 1 sesshin or retreat annually.
The Jukai ceremony is a public event in front of the sangha. Most often this occurs on the last day of a sesshin, guests are invited to witness. During the ceremony you will be committing to follow the Hollow Bones Precepts. While your true dharma name is your given name, sangha members often receive a name chosen by the Roshi and a rakusu that symbolizes taking your seat as a member of the Hollow Bones Zen sangha.
Supporting the ongoing health and vitality of the sangha occurs both through your willingness to volunteer your time as well as through financial contributions. A sacred economy has two parts, one is the mundane, ongoing operations necessary to support sharing our teachings. Jukai members are requested to make sustaining contributions to Hollow Bones Zen. Suggested contributions range from $25 to $50 per month, but only you can determine what is most appropriate for your circumstances. Those who can give more allow us to keep our fees reasonable and provide scholarships to those in need.
The other aspect of a sacred economy is the energetic exchange of “teacher’s” selflessly giving spiritual guidance, and “student’s” expressing their gratitude, which often includes gifts (it used to be food or clothes, now it’s money… times change!). Properly practiced, it is impossible to identify the gift, the giver, or the recipient in this expression of harmonious support. This type of exchange is distinct from sustaining donations and appropriate after experiences in dokusan/daisan, online programs or in-person events.
If you are interested in jukai, the next step is to arrange a meeting with Umi Dan Rotnem to discuss your commitment, followed by a meeting with the Abbot.