On May 21st 2017, after a trek by train from my sleepy town in Pennsylvanian to the Bright Dawn Center of Oneness Buddhism in hot and sunny California, I was ordained as a Buddhist minister.
Just about two years ago I had joined a ministry program ran by the Venerable Koyo Kubose. Every Sunday, I and my class ( who soon became my Dharma family), met to discuss that weeks report, reading, and so forth. We studied from the days of Gautama, into the Mahayana of China, and to the Jodo Shin-shu and Zen of Japan, and finally to where we are today, the American Buddhism.
Our organization is named after Rev. Gyomay Kubose, who’s non-sectarian “way of Oneness” opened up a new path to the Dharma for so many in the past, present, and hopeful the future. Rejecting the strict dogma of tradition and mythology, Gyomay Sensei taught Buddhism as an understanding and practice of every day life. And this is exactly what this program instilled in me, the Dharma transformed from something read in books and practiced when remembered into a dynamic understanding of everyday life, moment by moment, day by day. I owe much to so many, so much compassion has been shown and given to me to get to where I am today, and there is still so much more to learn. Thank you to all.
Upon my confirmation ceremony, I was given the name Shinyo 深阳 (Deep sun, or in an alternate translation dense sun! Which I like more to be honest, describes me better!) The first Japanese Character is given by my Sensei, and the second ( yo
阳 ) is given to all in our Dharma linage.
I hope I can share what I learned with you, so please feel free to message me anything that is on your mind. I don’t have all the answers, but perhaps I can get lucky and say something wise or clever. Or if you just need someone to talk to as well, I’d be happy to listen, after all I do hold the title of Sensei (although I use Reverend if i really ever need to give a title) and as my Sensei says “ You know, I like to define Sensei not as a teacher, but as a spiritual friend! As in the end, you are your own teacher.”