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Jukai Ceremony 2024

While many Bright Way Zen members were sitting in silence during Zazenkai, a few of us were on our feet and talking non-stop: Saturday, June 29th was the city-wide Buddhist Festival in the Park, held at Colonel Summers Park in inner Southeast Portland. James Gregg and myself were at the booth all day, and Dave Quezada came to help for the first half of the day as well.

There were a dozen organizations who set up booths in the park, including five other Zen groups in addition to ours: No-Rank Zendo, Ring of Moss Zendo, Heart of Wisdom, Great Vow Zen Monastery, and Dharma Rain. Other Buddhist traditions were also in attendance, such as Dorje Ling, Kagyu Changchub Chuling, Henjyoji Shingon Buddhist Temple, and Oregon Buddhist Temple. Additional participants included Maitripa College, Nakayama Butsudans, and Recovery Dharma PDX. Plus, even though they didn’t have an official presence at the Festival, we were also visited by representatives from the Mt. Adams Buddhist Temple, Portland Friends of the Dhamma, and Portland Insight Meditation Center.

Although the booths were open all the time, there were also events throughout the day, including an opening ceremony with all the participants, guided meditations in a nearby park pavilion, a dance, and a children’s activity area that attracted a lot of interest due to a very charming turtle.

Notably, Bright Way was the only Zen organization present that is located on Portland’s West side. As such, people were either excited to hear where our Dirt Zendo is, or they quickly put back the brochure, stating they lived on the Eastside and couldn’t drive that far! We fielded a lot of questions about how Zen and Soto Zen differ from other forms of Buddhism—which James provided expert answers to—as well as many compliments and interest in Domyo’s Zen Studies Podcast. In fact, several people who do not practice Zen, or who practice with other Zen centers, said they regularly listen to her podcast. Many visitors–including representatives from other temples and centers–were impressed with how inclusive we are of our Cloud membership.

We were busy the entire day and were very pleased with the turnout. Several people commented that Seattle does not have such a strong Buddhist presence, despite being a larger city. Go, Portland! And James got a lot of compliments on his “Keep Calm and Zabuton” t-shirt.

The event was organized by Zonnyo Riger of Dharma Rain. Although the festival is annual, this was the first iteration since before the pandemic. Judging by its success, the festival will now be a regular summer highlight for Portland Buddhists for years to come! We hope to arrange our Zazenkai next year so it will not conflict with the festival and many more Bright Way Zen members can volunteer at the booth.

Jukai Ceremony 2024