We held a Jukai Ceremony, Receiving the Precepts, for Rob Weinberg on March 21, 2010 in their home Zendo, named Tread Lightly Zendo, in the Berkeley Hills, California. This was a renewal of vows for Rob who wanted to come into the Ryokan san family and be related in our spiritual lineage. Rob and I have known one another for 40 years and have always walked together in spiritual understanding. We are spiritual friends rather than teacher and student. Our former mutual teacher, Kobun Chino Roshi always said that friendship, being friends in the deepest understanding of the word, was the true relationship on the spiritual path.
Dogen Zenji reminds us that the Precepts are the single most important matter in Soto Zen practice. We proclaim our ancient wrong actions and are purified before receiving the Precepts. In receiving the Three Pure Precepts, we vow to cease from evil, do only good, and do good for others. In this we essentially vow to Awaken to the Unsurpassed Complete Perfect Awakening which we recognize as the Dharma of all existence.
Rob's earnestness in taking the Precepts was profound and moving. I do not know what it is like to die in the way that Rob is dying, but all who were there felt the depth of his vow. There was nothing left over, nothing trailing, simply complete vow in the greatest confidence and certainty. We could feel the Ancestors assembling around Rob as his confirmation of the Precepts reached in all directions.
From my view, having known Rob for all these years, the recitation of the Precepts was a reiteration of his life, one lived carefully and thoughtfully, always aware of the ways in which his actions would affect others, being mindful to not cause harm. Although Rob and Linda named their home Tread Lightly because of their concern for the closeness to neighbors, this could be Rob's name. He is one who has walked softly in communion with all sentient beings.
Rob received the name KoYu. Ko from Kobun Roshi and Yu from my Dharma name. The meaning is "Great Cause." Rob has always had an awareness of matters and causes in the world that were important and serious for the wellness of humankind. He dedicated his last twenty years to influencing education in the environment. That work will reach out long, long after we are all gone.
Rob rallied his energy for the Ceremony and it was joyous for all of us to let the Breath be Life and Life be the Breath. With gratitude for the opportunity to bear witness to Rob's vow to live the Precepts, to live and be lived for the benefit of all beings. The purity of his declaration will resonate for a long, long time.