Discipleship and Training
the Shingon Priesthood
ORDINATION (Jp: Tokudo)
The first step is to find a Master, who will accept the potential
Disciple as a student. This is a very important step, for the
relationship between Master and student is usually a lifetime
committment. Each Master may have their own requirements and there
are very few Priests that will take on Disciples, because of the
required skills and the time that it requires to train a person.
Some priests establish unofficial teaching and in the past have
even trained people in the practices, but this training will not
be recognized by the Shingon Sect, unless the Priest is authorized
Ordination is a relatively short ceremony, takes less than a half
hour, depending on the number of Disciples and must be performed
at an Authorized Temple where the Master is eligible to teach.
The procedure calls for the ceremony to be performed on an auspicious
or good day and is symbolically the point where the person leaves
their family and illusion behind and enters the path of learning.
The ordination ceremony includes:
1. Taking refuge in the Three Jewels.
2. Receiving the precepts and a Buddhist name.
3. Symbolically cutting of the Hair.
4. The first Dharma Teaching on illusion.
It is important to become registered with Koyasan Shingon Headquarters,
at this point, to establish an official standing. If you are not
registered, you have not officially started your training. Registration
fees change, but at the present 1998, they are 20,000 yen (about
$170 depending on the yen rate). Registration must include a resume
and birth certificate, as well as the form in Japanese. In the
United States, the Master will send the completed and signed form
to the Bishop of North America, who resides in Los Angeles, CA,
USA, for his signature; the form is then forwarded to Koyasan
Headquarters in Japan. The Disciple is expected to pay their own
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