12 July 2010


Best to start at the beginning, yes? So, please allow me to introduce myself, this blog, and the work we are trying to accomplish with it.

Me? My name is Jikan. I am a doshu priest in the Tendai tradition of Mahayana Buddhism. I live in the ring of suburbs that surround Washington DC, and in no strict sense out of choice: I attend graduate school in the area (ask me later if you care) and this is a convenient spot to put a desk. So here I am.

And? I have been asked to assume leadership of the Washington Tendai Sangha. This group was founded several years ago by a priest named Ernest Lissabet. He continues to teach in the area, but is no longer affiliated with Tendai in any way (of which more in a moment). I would like to thank Ernest Lissabet for his years of effort in starting this sangha and keeping it going as it developed. My intention is to build on the foundation Ernie established for this group. Babies and bathwater sort themselves out over time.

Tendai? Tendai Buddhism is a unique tradition of Japanese Buddhism with a long and variegated history, and a very broad compass of practices. Our headquarters in North America is established at the Tendai Buddhist Institute in Canaan, New York. If one is practicing Tendai Buddhism in North America, one is doing so at minimum under the administrative oversight of Monshin Paul Naamon, the head of the Institute. Monshin is also my teacher. He asked me to take over here in Washington.

Sangha? Buddhists know what "sangha" means, but for those who are new to the lingo, the term "sangha" in this context refers to a group of people who practice Buddhism together with a common purpose. It implies a continuity of relationships, of intentions--it demands long-term commitment and authentic friendship. In this transition, there will be much continuity but some changes, primarily in logistics (meeting times and meeting frequency). Please check here for further announcements in this regard.

Buddhism? Big one. I will have more to say on this, specifically on the topic of how we practice Buddhism here at the Washington Tendai Sangha. I am defining Buddhism in terms of practice because it is, in the end, very practical. It is something we do, and we do it with purpose.

Introductions? Come and gone already. The beginning is past. Thank you for your time; I look forward to sharing this thing with you.

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