Archive of Jornal Articles

Pure Land Notes. Journal of the Pure Land Buddhist Fellowship. Web version. namandabuPLN web header.gif
  Designed for Online
The Tannisho Today
Rev Tairyu Furukawa March 1996
On Meditation
Vaughan Evans May 1995
From Blood to Rocks
Geoff Carpenter March 1996
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
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
Toshio Murakami September 1997


Rev John Paraskcvopoulos

This was featured in the Spring 1996 edition of Tricycle a large glossy Buddhist magazine published in the USA. which in turn quotes from The Zen Master Hakuin, by Philip B Yampolsky. ** This was brought to the attention of PLN by a number of people, who thought it would interest PLBF members. The following is adapted from the Tricycle article. It is repeated in its entierty in text and audio @ Lantern Festival on this site.

On the 15th October 1994, fourteen overseas candidates received initial ordination or Jokiido as Jodoshinshu priests at the Nishi Hongwanji in Kyoto. This was only the second time that an ordination programme had been conducted specifically for Western ministerial aspirants (the first was in 1989). It is expected that such a programme will be available every live years. On this occasion, the candidates hailed from seven countries across four continents. namely, Germany, Austria, Belgium, the United States, Canada, Brazil and Australia.

Those wishing to become Jodo Shinsimu Hongwanji priests must receive their tokudo at the Honzan or mother temple. This once - in -a -lifetime rite is conducted at the Goei-do (Founders Hall) before the image of Shinran. The rite consists of adorations, recitation of the Three Refuges and the Creed of Jodoshinsliu, tonsure (shaving of the head), and the receiving of kesa (ceremonial robe) docho (ordination certificate) and a homyo (Buddhist name). The ceremony is conducted in utmost solemnity.

I am often asked why Jodoslminshu, being a non-monastic Buddhist path, should still insist on tonsure. Historically, the tonsture rite was performed by Shakyamumi Buddha, as well as being mentioned in the Larger Sukhavaltvyuha Sutra. Since then, it has traditionally been regarded as a ritualised physical act of personal commitment to the teachings of Buddhism. For Shin Buddhists, the tonsure rite (which, incidentally, is not obligatory for female candidates) is not only a symbolic physical act of commitment through shaving of the head, but is also a conscious affirmation of becoming an ordained priest of the Hongwanji and of living the life of Nembutsu.

Tokudo literally means, ‘to cross from this shore of birth-and-death to the other shore of Nirvana’. When Gautama embarked upon the Way, he shaved his tresses and said; ‘In cutting off my hair, may I, together with all beings, be freed from evil passions and hindrances’. Receiving a set of robes from a hunter, he continued, ‘Even as these clothes cover me, may I enfold all beings in compassion and free them from evil passions’. It is in accordance with this rite as established by Shakyamuni, that tokuido comprises a tonsure, the wearing of robes and the recitation of the Three Refuges. Tokudo is a solemn promise to rise above all temptations, to refrain from egotism and to diligently pursue the
way of the Buddha.

The tokudo programme comprised of eleven seventeen-hour days of study and training which included lectures by prominent Buddhist scholars (in English), three services a day (including 6am Jinjo service at the Honzan), and individual study sessions. The lectures, given by such eminent academics as Rev Prof. Hisao Inagaki and Rev Dennis Hirota, covered topics such as: Jodoshinshu and its Hisiory; Outline of the Triple Sutra of Pure Land Buddlusin; Liturgy and Rituals; and Dharma Talk Methodology.

Tokudo, as mentioned earlier, is considered to be only initial ordination. It entitles you to take certain services such as funerals, lead chanting sessions, disseminate the teachings and, depending on which country you are in, give formal dharma-talks. In order, however, to become a full-time temple master with pastoral responsibility for a entire congregation, one needs to obtain Kyoshi or full ordination which comprises another retreat similar to tokudo, and, usually, a course of formal university study in Buddhism. Tokudo, which must precede kyoshi, is primarily a religious rite, whereas kyoshi is more akin to an academic and pastoral qualilication (tonsure is not taken again). It is envisaged that a kyoshi programme for Westerners will be offered for the first at time in the next year or so and then approximately every ten years after that.

Tokudo was, for me, an extraordinary experience as well as a very great privilege. Apart from deepening my ties with the Shin tradition in a more formal way, it allowed me to enjoy the profound fellowship of other way-farers from around the world who were similarly treading the path of Amida’s Dharrna. This was especially wonderful for those of us from Australia for whom isolation from the larger Shin sanghas has been the norm. The tokudo retreat also exposed us to some excellent teachers of Buddha-dharma who provided us with the unusual luxury of instruction in English. Of course, the whole experience of receiving ordination in Kyoto at the ‘home’ of’ Shin Buddhism was also an experience to be treasured for a lifetime. One can only remain deeply grateful for the ‘causes and conditions’ that led each of us on a pilgrimage from far-flung corners of the earth to an enriching experience, spiritual, ritual and emotional - immersed at the heart of the mystery that is the Primal Vow’ of Amida Tathagata.

This article first appeared, with the Author's permission, in PLN 6, March 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



PLBF Southampton Sangha
Buddha Rupa Inauguration
"Not Separate from Person"
"Harmony in the Home"
Stupa of Namu-Amida-Butsu
Lantern Festival
Amsterdam Buddha Parade
Buddha Dharma Study Notes
1. The Four Noble Truths
2. The Nobel Eightfold Way
Further Study of the First Truth
3a. Three Aspects
3b. Suffering and Self View
3c. Denial of Suffering
audio file shortcuts
The Three Jewels
text pages
Saying the Name
"Enmei Juku Kannon" Gyo
The Three Jewels @ wikipedia.org
stand alone pages
On Faith in the Heart
Ven. Myokyo-ni Obituary