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Lions Roar : May 2019
bodhisattvas, and all beings to witness and transform with compassion and wisdom. Confessing in this way for the first time can make one feel vulnerable, even dangerously exposed. It might seem that by doing so, the transgres- sions remain not only intact but also now public, permanently part of one’s being. It might even feel like the repen- tance is what is harmful, rather than the harmful behavior itself. But the cer- emonies actually work; their power is easily felt. Healing, clarity, openness— they all just happen. SINCE THE KAVANAUGH HEARINGS last fall and the flood of painful stories that emerged across the country— both of harm and of people refusing to admit wrongdoing—I find myself thinking about the power of repentance ceremonies. In the Soto Zen ceremony, we repent, take refuge, and recite the sixteen bod- hisattva precepts, all reminders that every behavior of body, speech, and mind, can be beneficial—or not. The ceremony originated with the earli- est wandering followers of the Bud- dha, who gathered at the new and full moons to take refuge in the Buddha, dharma, and sangha, confess their lapses, and question each other deeply on fine points of practice. They would then disperse, renewed, to continue their efforts. We have this same oppor- tunity today. The ceremonial movements of offer- ing, chanting, bowing to the ground, verbalizing our regret, and vowing to refrain from repeating harmful action are transformational in both body and mind. Our transgressions are brought to light in the context of ceremonial power—offered up for the buddhas, INSIDE BUDDHADHARMA The Power of Repentance In this selection from the Spring issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly, Zen priest KONJIN GAELYN GODWIN explains how the Buddhist repentance ceremony leads to healing, clarity, and openness. OLIVIERADAM This selection is from the Spring 2019 issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly, published by Lion’s Roar. For more in-depth teachings, commentary, and reviews from Buddhadharma and to subscribe, go to lionsroar.com/buddhadharma. KONJIN GAELYN GODWIN is the ab- bot of Houston Zen Center. Last year, she was appointed director of the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center, becoming the first woman and the first Westerner to hold the position. Workshops & Retreats in Santa Fe, New Mexico ENTIRE CALENDAR, TEACHINGS, AND MORE AT UPAYA.ORG SANTA FE, NM 505-986-8518 ext. 112 REGISTRAR@UPAYA.ORG april 16 - 23 Sesshin: Lotus Sutra Join us in the season of renewal as we experience this ancient text with fresh eyes. Sensei J yrnes Sensei Genzan Quennell july12-14 Poetry of the Legendary Hermit Hanshan Known as “Cold Mountain,” this legendary Chinese poet found humanity in solitude. Sensei Kaz T Sensei Peter Levitt july19-21 Calligraphy: Heart of the Brush Explore the 1700 year-old wisdom of East Asian brushwork with a master calligrapher. Sensei Kaz T P y Fabio Rodrigues Sensei Kaz T LION’S ROAR | MAY 2019 30 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE