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.
“A Course on Koans” is the delusion-riddled work of Chris Kufu (“Wind in the Void”) Wilson, who began practicing Zen in 1967. He regards Taizan Maezumi, Robert Aitken, and David Weinstein as his root teachers. Each of them pecked at his shell until he “completed” the never-ending koan curriculum of the Harada-Yasutani lineage.
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