So, PZI is planning a refuge ceremony in 2012. This is a big deal. Which begs the question, what the *$^@ is a refuge ceremony.
I would love to tell you, but I really have no idea. I have been sitting in a Zen practice for 6 plus years, but this has never been explained or developed. Zennies are not big on explanations. This fits poorly with my need-to-know personality, in which I figure people will explain anything I need to know and I rarely ask questions. Its not my thing. So, this refuge is going to happen, and we are all going to figure out what is going on.
So far as I know right now, this has something to do with the bibs that Zen practitioners wear. They are, from what I understand, symbolic representations of the robes the buddha wore. I presume its a small portion or the robes or else Buddha was largely naked. Which is fine with me, I am open minded, it just clashes with my previous visuals. I believe that each person going through this ceremony stitches one of these together, but of this I am not positive. They are almost uniformly black. I have no idea why this is. From what I know about India, I am highly skeptical that Buddha wore black. My experience with Indian fashion preferences is that the more gold, color, pattern, and texture the better. I suspect the Japanese had something to do with the palate alteration. The Japanese seem big on black. Its flattering.
There is a little bit stitched into the back. I have seen it mainly in green, though I feel like I have seen it once in brown, maybe yellow or white. Its not that this is mysterious, I just don't care. It looks like a little arrow thing. Ill see if I can find a screen shot. There is stuff written or painted on the inside. This is top secret. Zen practitioners are forced to kill you if you ever read it. I think. They don't flash that bit, so I am guessing it has things in it like the secret handshake and the decoder ring code.
This bib is called a rakusa. Or something like that. David's is gold, which is great. I feel like Buddha would have rocked that one. It looks like something from S Palm Beach. I wonder if David would wear it while playing shuffle board .
But the bib is not the big deal. There are 3 grave precepts, and ten, er, other ones. They sound a lot like the ten commandments, and the center of the refuge ceremony is each person taking up these precepts as vows. I'll get a copy later and post them. Translations differ. I really liked the one we read at Boundless Way. I have never seen the PZI version. Its kept in a vault and guarded by homicidal virgins. That is probably not true. Its likely in the liturgy book, but I have never seen a full copy of that either. Its not that PZI is secretive, actually, I just have been really busy and never got around to getting the full PZI liturgy. I have the short version, which is all we need to WiG as we are not big on Liturgy. Though, as an aside, I love it. It appeals to the Catholic schoolboy in me.
So the idea is that one works with each of these precepts, makes a personal connection to them, then takes them as a vow to themselves and voila, you are an official buddhist. I think they give you a secret agent name, but reports vary. The vows are really lovely and provoke serious thought. I will share them as the carousel gets speed.
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