The Formal Zen Path at FCZ

Initiation and Ordination

Zen Initiation (jukai)

Jukai is an opportunity to deepen one’s commitment to the Soto Zen tradition and to formally receive the precepts and go for refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.
FCZ members who have a commitment to the practice and community, a teacher, and have attended many classes and retreats at FCZ are welcome to ask about the prospect of initiation. Initiation requires a mutual commitment, and ultimately the authority and decision to initiate a student is solely in the hands of the teacher.

Ordination and Priest Training

Ordination is a path of giving oneself to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, a path of practice for the liberation of all beings everywhere from suffering.
People who are ordained in the Soto Zen tradition only hold their status as ordained priests-in-training if they are currently in training with a teacher or have received Dharma transmission.
Ordination and training at FCZ require a long-term commitment to zazen, the precepts, Dharma, personal development, an individual teacher who has received Soto Zen Dharma transmission, ritual, service to the community, and the liberation of all beings from suffering. There are many steps to the path, and it is a demanding commitment.
Ordaining teachers have broad authority over the training of their students and work together with other teachers to provide a healthy and beneficial training process.
The first step to the path of ordination is to commit to Soto Zen practice, the FCZ community, and a teacher with Dharma transmission.
The next step is to talk to one’s teacher about the possibility of ordination. It is quite common for a teacher to decline to begin the process of ordination with an interested student for any number of reasons.
If the teacher accepts, they will outline the next steps in the process.
Ordination requires a mutual commitment, and the authority and decision to ordain, train, end training, or give Dharma transmission is solely in the hands of the ordaining teacher.