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Pure Land Notes. Journal of the Pure Land Buddhist Fellowship. Web version. namandabuPLN web header.gif
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The Tannisho Today
Rev Tairyu Furukawa March 1996
On Meditation
Vaughan Evans May 1995
From Blood to Rocks
Geoff Carpenter March 1996
Tokudo
Rev John Paraskevopoulos March 1996
The Meaning of Kikyoshiki
Hongwangi International CentreSeptember 1996
The Shin Buddhist Way
Rev Jack Austin September 1996
A Sutra of Healing and Protection
Tricycle Publications March 1996
Rules for Being Human
Unknown September 1996
Reliance
September 1996 Sallea Ungar
The Importance of Self Effort
Joren MacDonald September 1997
Self Power and Other Power Play Together
David Brazier
September 1997
Faith in What?
Sep 1997 Ajahn Sumedho (summerised by Max Flisher) Sep 1997
The Myokonin
Friedrich Fenzl September 1997
Seiza
Toshio Murakami September 1997
 
 

 

THE MEANING OF KIKYOSHIKI
Hongwangi International Centre


This is taken from an explanatory booklet, The Confirmation Ceremony, published by Hongwanji International Centre, and given to each candidate. 'Confirmation' is the translation given for Kikyoshiki, which in the West we would better understand as a 'Ceremony of Refuge in Amida Buddha'. The text is printed here exactly as in the booklet, with the exception of the sub-headings and some minor corrections.

In this Shin Buddhist ceremony, perfonned before the altar of Amida Buddha and Shinran Shonin, one takes the important step of affirming reverence for the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and one's determination to tread the path to Buddhahood.

In the time of Sakyamuni Buddha, one was permitted to join the Buddhist community (sangha) upon receiving the precept of the three refuges under the guidance of a monk, and shaving one's head. To receive the precept of the three refuges means to declare before one's teacher that one takes whole-hearted refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and to vow that one will not deviate from them.

'Buddha' here refers to Sakyamuni. 'Dharma' to Sakyamuni's teaching and 'Sangha' to the community of followers who have entrusted themselves to Sakyamini Buddha's teaching. Because these form the basis of what one values most in one's life, they are called the 'three treasures'. Shaving one's head symbolises departure from worldly ways of life and entrance into a life devoted to the path of Buddhism, which transcends the mundane world.
The teachings of Sakyamini Buddha are so extensive that they are said to number 84,000. It is not surprising then, that after the Buddha's death, various schools developed based on different aspects of his teaching. Shin Buddhism (Judo Shinshu) is the Buddhist path of great compassion clarified by Shinran Shonin. Shinran teaches that Sakyamuni appeared in the world in order to reveal the Vow of Amida Buddha to save all beings; it is the saving of all people by Amida Buddha that is Sakyamuni's fundamental teaching.

The Confirmation Ceremony in Shin Buddhism, therefore, shares a common meaning with the precept of the three refuges administered in the time of Sakyamuni Buddha, but it also has a special meaning. In the Confirmation Ceremony, the Buddha of the three refuges is not simply Sakyamuni, but refers especially to Amida Buddha, who is the heart of Sakyamuni's teachings. Sakyamuni came into the world to teach the Vow of Amnida Buddha, and our salvation is brought about by Aniida. Dbarma' is the teaching of Amida's compassionate working to save all beings, and 'Sangha' refers to people who have entrusted themselves to Amida.
Since there are no precepts in Shin Buddhism, instead of receiving the precept of the three treasures, one participates in the Confirmation Ceremony. Also, Shin practition-ers do not shave their heads, but undergo a ritual and symbolic cutting which has a similar meaning. On participating in the Confirmation Ceremony, one receives a Buddhist name (homyo). These names are in the form of Shaku and two Buddhist terms. The word Shaku means 'disciple of Sakyamuni' and signifies that the person has joined the followers of the teaching of Sakyamum Buddha, a teaching that transcends race or nationality.
In Shin Buddhism, the Confirmation Ceremony is as a rule performed by the
Monshu (Chief Abbot) However, depending on the circumstances, it may also be performed by a representative of the Monshu.
As a Shin Buddhist, one endeavours to hear the teaching of Amida's Primal Vow, and also to transmit it to others. Further, one clearly grasps the principle of cause and effect that is basic to the Buddhist teaching, and does not rely on superstitions and beliefs of any kind that contradict it.

The following account is by David Alder, who received Kikyoshiki.

Before I describe the ceremony, I would like to thank the Zenmon, Rev Nagatani and the representatives from Nishi Hongwanji, as well as all the Japanese members who support us in so many ways. I would also like to thank Jim and the Buddhist Society, and everyone who contributed to making the Kikyoshiki cere-mony such a happy and successful occasion.
Jim's opening address mentioned the significance of the event for British Pure Land Buddhism. He remarked that this was a moving occasion, bringing back a flood of memories from when he received Kikyoshiki with Jack Austin in London
1976. Indeed, this was the first time that the ceremony has been performed in London since that time.


Rev Nagatani led the opening service, and together we recited the Sanbutsge (in traditional Sino-Japanese) followed by nembutsu. He then explained the meaning and challenges, as well as the limitations of the ceremony for the recipients. Personally, I thought this was a most important point in view of the problems associated with the ego and spiritual pride.
After this, the twelve recipients received Kikyoshiki from the Zenmon, Lord Ohtani. The confirmation ceremony involved affirming our faith in Axnida Buddha, reciting the three refuges, and having our heads symbolically shaved by the Zenmon. Lord Ohtani placed a razor on each recipient's head to symbolise tonsure.
Afterwards, during refreshments in the library (kindly provided by the Buddhist Society) Rev Nagatani presented Jim - representing the PLBF Sangha - with a magnificent Amida Scroll for use at meetings.
Altogether, the service was a solemn and joyful occasion, and I am happy that members of the Buddhist Society also attended.
Lastly, in response to general conversation and comments in the newsletter, I hope this Kikyoshiki ceremony will in some way help to forge a living Sangha, where we will get used to meeting and practising together.
Namu Amida Butsu

This article first appeared, with the Author's permission, in PLN 7, September 1996. Republished here in agreement with the compiler/editor of the inaugurate hard copy Journal. The Author, any person or any organisation credited, quoted or connected with this article are cordially invited to contact me with any comments, amendments, fresh contributions or complaints. email me

 

 

 
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