Kakuko Kaye Simard's Ordination Ceremony

Ordaining as Zen priest--and ordaining one--can be a daunting thing. Especially when you live in place where that is not part of the cultural heritage, taken for granted. But we and Kaye have taken the plunge. We've co-ordained our first person, and she's now a shaven-headed monk (see photo below). Kaye's dharma name Kakuko Shinkai means Awakening-Light, Heart-Ocean. One person's awakening light and opening heart cannot happen without the support and connection of buddha, dharma and sangha.

Perhaps the most important thing we learn as we walk the bodhisattva path, is that we are not separate entities seeking enlightenment. We can only awaken for and together with all beings. Only a buddha and a buddha can realize the buddha-dharma, said Dogen, quoting the Lotus Sutra. So when we take these big steps off the 100-foot pole, we do so in the faith that if we practice wholeheartedly, even with all our clumsiness and failings, it will give courage to others, 

Thank you, Kakuko Kaye, for your steadfast and shining practice. May it continue.  And deep bows of gratitude to everyone who contributed in so many ways to the weekend retreat and ordination ceremony, and to those who attended to celebrate the occasion. 

Warm bows,

Myoshin Kate and Shinmon Michael