Sunday, March 8, 2009

Jukai Koffee Bean

I'm still headed towards Jukai. Dependent on whether I have a rakusu prepared in time. Some of the pieces are cut. Today I took the yellow pillowcase and tried to dye it browner with cast-off coffee from Starbucks. While that seems to go against the advice of picking fabric without discrimination, to get the coffiee grounds my daughter and I had a little adventure that excuses the transgression, I think. We had to get some stuff for a party my wife and I were going to that night so I invited my daughter to hike with me down to the local grocery store to get it. My daughter hasn't wanted to do anything with me for the last month or so, so I was phyched that she took me up on this invitation to walk.

We were going to stop off at the stand-alone Starbucks that is on the way, but when I got to Randall's I remembered they had a Starbucks kiosk built in (lest it be to troubling for patrons to drive literally across the street to the stand-alone). On the way in, I stopped at the Starbucks kiosk and asked the Starbucks lady if she had any grounds to toss that I could have. She did. I told her we'd pick them up on the way out. We got our "fuzzy water" and baked beans and stopped by the kiosk again. She had prepared an 10lb bag of cast-offs bigger than a large bag of rice.

She nicely put the short bag of grounds into a longer, industrial sized trash bag to make it easier to carry. I tied the end of the long bag through our grocery bag with the 12 pack of canned water. The coffee and water just about balanced each other. I was an odd sight to suburbia, I'm sure. A large bag of brown whatever suspeded down my back with a box of water hanging from the front. My daughter carried the beans.

We reveled in how odd we looked to the world, and how nice it was that we took a 30 minute walk to do what could have been done in 5 by car.

So now the pillow case is dyed to an earthly beige. And even though that fact of not-accepting-what-it-was cuts contrary to Dogen's "instructions," the color it has carries the memory of our odd adventure. Which, of course, I prefer.

And Jukia itself will be an odd adventure if I pull it off.

Brad has said he will officiate, but has nothing to say about where and with whom. He will be here in April to do some booksigning and dharma talking gigs I worked out for him. I've only been to the local Zen center once, and don't have a strong relationship with them. I would feel a bit odd, just dropping in on their space for a Jukai.

I've been thinking that since my zazen is done at home, and since my wife and duaghter are my immediate sangha (or at least they don't object to my pursuit), my home is really the right place to do Jukai. It is, in effect, my temple.

I will ask my wife and daughter to attend. I might even invite a relative or two that I speak with some about my Buddhist inclinations. Maybe even my wife's best friend and her husband. We haven't talked much about Buddhism, but I'm sure my wife has talked about it with her friend (and so her husband), so they are probably mildly supportive.

I'll convert our dinning room into a temporary zendo; find a formalish chair, and I must have a small efigy of Buddha somewhere. Near to Austin is a patch of Loblolly pines, cut off from the main herd by some past ice age, if I remember the park sign correctly from 30+ years ago. I'll go there and get a pine sprig.

I would like some of my e-sangha friends to be there too (that's many of you reading this). I thought about video links and such but that level of technology seems too techy for the spirit of the event. What I'd like to offer instead is that if you'd like to "be present" a my Jukai, send me a little note in the mail with some thing to represent you. It could be a picture, a guitar pick, a scrap of fabric left over from your own rakusu... just something little. Kinda like those cool tokens from Monopoly (I always enjoyed being the shoe).

I will arange your note and "token" on a shelf in the room where the Jukai occurs.

This is all a bit of fantasy. I haven't finished my rakusu yet, so who knows. Brad may think the whole idea of a home jukai is too unorthodox even for him.

If you're interested in taking the plunge into this bit of unknown, my mailing address is

Lauren Crane
1401 Wesson Cove
Cedar Park, Texas 78613

If it reaches me by April 16th, and my rakusu is ready, your token will "witness" my Jukai.

Our friend Uku just got back from Japan where he was able to hang out with Nishijima Sensei and recieve Jukai from Peter. I find I expereince a little envyous of this. Maybe I should wait until I can afford another trip to Japan, and do Jukai as part of a Shizuoka retreat? But no. Trying to copy someone elses cool adventure never turns out right in the long run. This home-jukai idea is a bit of karma I've already set in motion. It fits my reality better. So that's where I'll put my focus. We'll see!


Barry said...

The coffee-dyed rakusu could come in handy during some long and difficult retreat - you might need to suck some caffeine out of it! Thanks for this nice post, especially the part about walking to the Starbucks with your daughter. And thank you also for your intent to take precepts..

Lauren said...

Never thought of that angle. Thanks, Barry. Maybe I should soak part if it in some soup too, in case I get hungry!

Just Zazen said...

I'm there! I'll send you a drum stick I used at my last punk rock gig on March 16, 2008 - had to quit playing b/c of tinnitus at a club in Baltimore called Fletcher's. You could have Brad use it as a Kyosaku. (But maybe that wouldn't be respectful, whatever.)

Lauren said...

Great, Just.

BTW I've got tinnitus too. I'll have to do a post on that.


Uku said...

Lauren, thank you very much for your efforts and commitment! I'm looking really forward to read and hear more from your upcoming Jukai!

Thank you, Dharmabro for your inspiring post!

Peter said...


I think you're right about doing your jukai in your own way. No need to worry about how anyone else goes about it. I think the way you do it will be the right way for you. You can trust your own Buddhism and see what happens.

Hope my token makes it in time,


Lauren said...


Just saw your comment. Thanks for the support and encouragement.