In the past, I have introduced to you information on Jodo-shu, including its teachings and services, through this website and the Rinkaian Channel on YouTube.
I have received a lot of e-mails and positive feedback saying that the information is very useful and helpful. I greatly appreciate your responses and would like to say thank you here. I am also pleasantly surprised and at the same time encouraged by the fact that there are an unexpectedly large number of people that are interested in the teachings of Honen Shonin and Jodo-shu.
Subsequent to the general understanding of the teachings of Jodo-shu, some advanced requests for formal initiation into Jodo-shu have also been sent to me. To accommodate such requests, I have developed a new introductory course: "On-line Kikyo-shiki." Kikyo-shiki is a ritual for becoming an accredited member of a Buddhist school. In Jodo-shu, Kikyo-shiki is conducted by an individual temple, through which you become a formal member of a Jodo-shu temple and are regarded as belonging to that temple.
Please note that if you want to become such a formal member of a Jodo-shu temple or undergo Kikyo-shiki, and there is any Jodo-shu temple in your area or you are already a member of any Jodo-shu temple, ask for Kikyo-shiki there, instead of "on-line Kikyo-shiki" here. (The Jodo-shu official website has a search engine for Jodo-shu temples in Japan. )
Now, before beginning on-line Kikyo-shiki, some preparations are required. They are required because Kikyo-shiki, which is a ceremony traditionally provided in a temple, is here conducted by yourself on-line in front of your home altar. The following description is directed to those who truly want to undergo Kikyo-shiki and become a formal member of Jodo-shu Rinkaian, or those who are interested in on-line Kikyo-shiki.
First, set up your home altar. How to make a home altar is explained in detail in our YouTube video (Jodo Talk 7 ) and/or Chapter 5 of the English pages on our website. If you already have your altar, skip to Step 2.
At this step, install a statue or a picture of Amitabha Buddha on a table or a base as the main Buddha in the center, and in addition, set three Buddhist items, that is, (1) a censer, (2) a candle (a candle stand), and (3) a flower(s) (flower stand). How to set them is explained in detail in the references above.
Place a statue, a hanging picture or an image of Honen Shonin. You may download any picture or photograph from the Internet for your private use. (Google image search ) You are to pronounce Buddhist vows in front of Amitabha and Honen Shonin on your altar.
Obtain Juzu (if possible, get one of a two-fold ring type specific to Jodo-shu) and a Wagesa (again, get one of a type specific to Jodo-shu); Place them on a flat place in your altar.
How to put on Juzu (in two ways) and Wagesa is also explained in the references above, and you are recommended to keep these methods in mind.
This step is related to your resolution. Undergo the Kikyo-shiki ceremony with the resolution that you will continuously be devoted to and practice Jodo-shu throughout your life. Those who think they may convert within a few years should not undergo the ceremony.
If you want to receive on-line Kikyo-shiki, send an e-mail to Rinkaian with the following details:
In response, we will send you the following on-line URLs:
Dress code: Outfit suitable for a Buddhist event; semi-formal or informal attire is acceptable. Clean your hands and mouth beforehand.
Prepare long candles. If a candle or an incense stick consumes itself during the ceremony, burn a new one.
Arrange a fresh flower or flowers.
Place your smart phone, computer, or the like beside you so you can clearly hear sound from it. The arrangement is like this: you sit down to face your altar, and you can listen to my voice reading sutras and guidance from your left or right side.
Print out the downloaded handout for the procedure and keep it at hand. The ceremony proceeds as written in the handout.
The ceremony lasts for about half an hour. Any distraction, such as telephone ringing, should be avoided during the ceremony.
Several vows will be taken during the ceremony. These vows are basic Buddhist ones, including living your life with Nembutsu while respecting the three treasures, and thoughtfulness toward others. After Kikyo-shiki, you should live your life following these vows.
No additional obligation to Rinkaian or Jodo-shu is incurred. Donation is welcome but at your discretion.
At the same time, you will be given no special privilege. I, as a priest in Rinkaian, will continue to transmit the teachings via the Internet, and answer your questions and give advice or recommendations as a Buddhist, although you can access such information regardless of whether you are a formal member or not.
The only privilege you will get is that after Kikyo-shiki, you can declare to yourself and others that you are a formal member of Jodo-shu and Rinkaian with firm conviction as a Jodo-shu Buddhist.
If you believe that this is important to you, I recommend you to undergo Kikyo-shiki.
After Kikyo-shiki, you may be given Homyo (a holy name as a Buddhist disciple), if you want. Homyo consists of two Chinese characters (e.g., "泰淳," which is my Homyo). Homyo is proof that you have become a Buddhist disciple inheriting the Jodo-shu tradition, which, in other words, is a name given to your soul. Therefore, if your body perishes, your Homyo remains unchanged. Once you have been given Homyo, conversion or renaming is strictly prohibited.
The only qualification for Homyo is to have such resolution. ◈