Federation BWA President Receives Tokudo

We are pleased to announce that Mrs. Linda Nagai, the current Hawaii Federation of BWAs President (2022-2025), from Kona, Hawaii received Tokudo (to be ordained in the hongwanji-ha tradition) at the Honzan in Kyoto, Japan this December 2023.  This Tokudo step is just part of her long journey to become a Hongwanji minister one day.  Congratulations!!!!!  Read as she shares her Tokudo experience here or under News and Events:

     My Tokudo Experience has been a lifelong journey going back almost 35 years, from being active in Dharma School, attending Summer Sessions, and Dharna talks.  And it was after one of these Dharma sessions and conversations with fellow Sangha members that led me to dream of Tokudo.  However, due to Karmic conditions that dream was set aside until now.  Due to the benevolence of the many people in the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii’s spiritual community, I was finally able to attain a 35 year dream.

     As many of you know, I have many things on my plate, and my plate at times is at the brim of overflowing, and trying to add Tokudo to it was a very challenging task, however the end result was well worth.

     Trying to memorize sutras and various recitations, and then having memorization requirements change at the last minute was very stressful.  However, I realized that I was actually living the teachings.  The teaching of impermanence, nothing remains the same and our suffering is due to the fact that we cannot accept change.  It was then that I was able to accept the many changes that came along with my Tokudo journey.

     Traveling to Berkeley, CA in June to take part in the pre-Tokudo training and qualification, gave me an insight as to what to expect in Japan and it was nice to meet and train with all the aspirants that I would be going with from the U.S.

     December 3, 2023 was the beginning of the final leg of my Tokudo journey.  We arrived in Japan and for 2 days received orientation and training at the Hongwanji International Center, as well as receiving the remainder of the items we would need when we went to the Nishiyama Training Center for Tokudo.  On December 6, all of our electronics were put aside, and for 10 days we had no outside contact, which I do have to admit was quite refreshing, and peaceful.  Our day began with a wake up to music at 5:30am followed by chores and morning service (some of which we had to lead), classes, and meals.  Our day normally ended at 9:00pm and lights were out at 11:00pm.  Yes, it was quite rigorous.

We were able to visit Shoren-in Temple where Shinran Shonin was ordained, and Mt. Hiei where Shinran Shonin studied for 20 years.  However, the highlight of Tokudo for me was the actual ordination.  Not that I was receiving my Tokudo, but the ordination itself.  We were ordained in the evening in candlelight, depicting Shinran Shonin’s ordination.

     65 Aspirants from Japan, BCA, and yes me from Hawaii arrived at Honzan in the later afternoon.  We assembled in the Goeido (Founder’s Hall) the building that enshrines Shinran Shonin, and in front of Shinran Shonin’s image we received our Tokudo ordination.  It was a beautiful ritual very serene, and peaceful, as Gomonshu sama came by and tapped each aspirant on the head, followed by all 65 aspirants reciting the New Ryogemon.  Reciting the words of the Gomonshu sama which echoed through the Goeido, taking the Jodo Shinshu teachings from Amida’s compassion to how to live each moment of our lives, a feeling that I cannot describe and will never forget.

     My journey towards Tokudo was worth every step.  And as I took each step, I could feel Amida guiding me through the many people who helped me along this path.  And as I watched the beautiful white snow fall in Hiroshima after Tokudo, I could feel Amida’s embrace, realizing that Amida’s all encompassing Wisdom and Compassion, will continue to guide me as I continue to walk the Nembutsu path.  With deep gratitude and palms together, I recite the Buddha’s name “Namo Amida Butsu.”

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