My name is Kenny and I have been blessed with a new Dharma name Genki. I was first introduced to Buddhism in Los Angeles where I am from originally. I tried various forms of guided meditation in different sects of Buddhism. I was always intrigued by the practice but never found a teacher or sangha that I felt I belonged to.
In LA, I also met my wife Dana who was raised in Oregon. On one of our visits to see her family, I was introduced to the temple by Zuishin, which was then known as the Eugene Zendo. That is where I was introduced to Ejo and Zen practice. Over the years, I visited the temple a few times and we also had the most wonderful gift of Ejo marrying us. It was then at our wedding I knew there was something that really inspired me and something I was drawn to.
A few years later, Dana and I moved up to Eugene and that’s when I began my journey at what is now called Buddha Eye Temple. I started coming to Sunday services and slowly helping the temple with different tasks. Within a few months I realized a very important part of practice was going to be sitting zazen. This is something that I had never done before. I thought to myself, "Forty minutes - impossible!!!" But slowly I did it.
One of the first things I noticed when I came to the temple was people wearing things around their necks. Later I found out they are called rakusus. I realized that it was something that I wanted in my life. I asked Ejo if I could receive Jukai. It was a very big deal for me. For the next seven months I showed up to the temple or woke up at home before sunrise and did zazen. I began helping with Sunday ceremony as Jisha. I started coming to classes and started working with the sangha at temple functions.
As the Jukai ceremony came closer, we started in the term class. It was very challenging for me because it is something that I have feared for a long time. I feared the reading, writing, and working in a classroom type setting. It is something I thought I did not do well.
I knew it was something that I had to face. In the term class we wrote essays answering questions and discussing feedback. All the while, I was sewing my rakusu. I wasn’t really sure how Jukai was going to turn out but it felt right to me.
Prior to the ceremony, we started off with a five-day sesshin. There is something in sesshin that is very special. If you have not experienced it, I would definitely recommend that you do. On Sunday as we sat, waiting for ceremony to begin and as we prepared to enter the hall for Jukai, I remember this overwhelming feeling of being very excited but grounded. Being in the room with my radical fellows there was an energy in there of commitment and dedication to the practice. This is something that I am very grateful for today. It is very beautiful and also very challenging to know that I will walk and trust the Way and embrace the Triple Treasures and live my life for what it is. Taking the precepts and being committed to the practice and responsible for my life and to share in this gift with the community and the world, makes me so very thankful for Buddha Eye Temple. I am committed to the practice, being responsible for my life and to share that gift with the place that now I call my home. Looking forward to many more experiences and challenges that lie ahead on the way!