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Kathleen Shokai Bishop Tokudo Ceremony, December 7, 2013

Yesterday was December 7, 2013 Pearl Harbor Day a fortuitous day in American History and a day of silent meditation for those who lost loved ones on both sides of the sea.  I remembered them all as I was moving through my ordination as a Zen Buddhist priest/monk with the Southern Palm Zen Group in Boca Raton, FL.

December 8th is traditionally the day Buddhists focus on as the day of “awakening” when Shakyamuni Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) saw all existence as it really was. After meditating for 45 days while sitting under the Bodhi tree he  is to have said, “I and all beings on earth together attain enlightenment at the same time.” And thus we are all the Buddha.  This Buddhist teaching was beautifully woven into the ceremony by my teacher and guide Doshin Sensei.  As I looked around I saw the room filled with beautiful Buddha’s of all ages, sizes, shapes, and minds.  How wonderful is that!

As the ceremony moved slowly forward  I was able to take the time to focus on the principles of Buddhism that I was now officially taking into my life.

I pledged to live by the Three Treasures:

  1. Being one with the Buddhas in the Ten Directions

  2. Being one with the Dharma in the Ten Directions

  3. Being one with the Sangha in the Ten Directions

I pledged to live by the Three Pure Precepts:

  1. Not creating evil

  2. practicing good

  3. actualizing good for others.

I pledged to live by  the Ten Grave Precepts:

  1. Do not kill-Affirm life

  2. Do not steal-Be giving

  3. Do not misuse sexuality-Honor the body

  4. Do not lie-Manifest truth

  5. Do not cloud the mind-Proceed clearly

  6. Do not speak of others errors and faults-See the perfection

  7. Do not elevate the self and blame others–Realize self and others as one

  8. Do not be withholding-Give generously

  9. Do not be angry-Actualize harmony

  10. Do not defile the Three treasures-Experiencing the intimacy of things

I am ever grateful for my teachers, friends, and family members who were there in body and/or spirit who give me multiple opportunities in this life to test my ability to live these precepts and practice outwardly their meaning and ultimately their effects in my life and the lives of all those with whom I come in contact.  I pray each day that when I encounter you, old friend or new, that I see you as you truly are the Buddha incarnate in mind, body, and spirit, and that I treat you as such.

In gassho, Shokai

In the end of the ceremony Doshin and Mushin dedicated this beautiful song by Tchaikovsky, ” My genius, my angel, my friend” to me.  I though you might like to know the words.

My angel, my genius, my friend!

Isn’t it here, My angel, my genius, my friend, That you are talking to me softly, And flying quietly around like a light shadow?

You are giving me a timid inspiration, And healing my sweet ailments, And giving me a quiet dream, My angel, my genius, my friend!


The picture below is a shot of all those who attended the Tokudo Ceremony minus the photographer my dear friend, Chip, who gives me multiple opportunities to walk my talk.

Kathy's Tokudo (Ordination) Ceremony SPZG 12.7.13

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