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Discipleship and Training
the Shingon Priesthood


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 to teach.

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 fees.

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