Yesterday was a very auspicious occasion. We held a ceremony to ordain two new priests in our community at Clouds in Water. Genjo Sam Conway was ordained by Byakuren Ragir, and Shojin Be Alford was ordained by Sosan Flynn. This is not the kind of thing that happens very often - I was working on a talk about a completely different subject when it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to talk a little about ordination in our tradition, and something about the history and practices associated with it.
I’m going to explore a bit about the history of ordination and the precepts in our lineage and a little about the path of priest ordination in Soto Zen Buddhism in the 21st century U.S. I’d like to express something about why I decided to pursue ordination and what I think it means to be a zen priest.