Institute for American Buddhism

(A.K.A. The Gyomay M. Kubose Dharma Legacy)

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Some Questions and Answers

Q. In what tradition of Buddhism is our Ti Sarana Ceremony?

It should be understood that, politically and administratively, BRIGHT DAWN is an independent American Buddhist organization with no formal ties to any higher headquarters or hierarchy. It is important to emphasize this so that the Ti Sarana participant is clear as to the authority source of the Ti Sarana Ceremony that is offered. We call our approach the “Way of Oneness” and view it as a non-sectarian form of American Buddhism that draws from the original teachings of Gautama Buddha, and Japanese Mahayana Buddhism, particularly Shin and Zen Buddhism. We respect our historical lineages but our eclectic approach puts the focus on individual spiritual growth rather than on any particular sectarian tradition.

The purpose of our Ti Sarana Ceremony is to make available an opportunity for anyone who wants to confirm his/her religious identity as a Buddhist. It is a formal service where an individual can declare his/her sincere wish to become a Buddhist. Our Ti Sarana Ceremony does not necessarily imply that one becomes a follower of a particular sectarian approach.

Q. After the Ti Sarana Ceremony, is one considered a disciple of a particular teacher?

Not in any formal sense. There are no formal expectations of loyalty or responsibility as in a stereotypical Eastern master-disciple relationship. Our lay-oriented approach is not characterized by “guru worship” of any kind (here “guru” refers to an attitude and not to any particular Buddhist clergy). Our approach emphasizes democratic ideals to matters related to the role of Dharma teachers. Such teachers may be held in great respect and gratitude, but are not considered to hold authority over another’s spiritual life. BRIGHT DAWN offers guidance and support to all persons. We have the attitude of being fellow travelers who can share the teachings together. In a true spiritual sense, the natural attitude is to respect as teachers, all people and all things that have significant impact on one’s spiritual life.

We encourage people who have received our Ti Sarana Three Treasures Confirmation to keep in touch with us. Please continue to communicate with us, sharing your experiences and keeping us informed of your spiritual journey.

Q. Are there any personal prerequisites to participate in our Ti Sarana Ceremony?

There are no formal prerequisites required of our Ti Sarana participants. Having a Ti Sarana Ceremony should not be viewed as any kind of ending goal or final capping of one’s spiritual resolution but rather as the beginning of one’s deep commitment to living the Buddhist teachings.

D.T. Suzuki mentioned three qualities that a person must have to walk the Buddhist Path successfully. These three qualities could also be considered the necessary prerequisites for our Ti Sarana Ceremony. The first prerequisite is sincerity; the second prerequisite is sincerity; and the third prerequisite is sincerity.