Jikan wrote:To the best of my knowledge, the most significant differences are language, duration, and context. For myself, training on Mt. Hiei is not available to me because I lack sufficient aptitude in Japanese language and, frankly, manners. By contrast, in New York we train in English almost exclusively. When I say "duration," I mean that the sixty-day period of training is broken into two-week and ten-day intervals, which is excellent for people who converted to Buddhism mid-life and have some catching up to do in understanding the Dharma and the how-to's around the temple, but has the drawback of taking six and often more years to complete. The context is also very different. Mt. Hiei has many centuries of history, and rich resources available. The New York Betsuin is a terrific place but is much more spartan, as it obviously has a much, much shorter history.
I am certain there are other differences that escape my mind at the moment, or I am completely ignorant of.
I don't know what it's like to train in Hawaii, but I would like to learn; I understand that Tendai-shu built a gyo-in there some years ago.
Hi guys, haven't been on DW for a while but here goes....it is good timing for this question however, as I've just come back from six weeks of Gyo at the Hawaii Betsuin.
In regards to Gyo as it currently is practised at the Hawaii Betsuin- Usually one is expected to go to the Hawaii Betsuin for uninterupted Gyo for a month atleast once preferably twice. Then they go for Gyo at the Hawaii Betsuin for a period of Six weeks. These periods of Gyo fall at the years end and therefore require a minimum of three years of training. If their Japanese is sufficient at this point, they are generally required to attend Gyoin on Mt Hiei. If their Japanese is not sufficient they usually continue to train for one month stints at the Hawaii Betsuin until it is felt that they have sufficient training and 'Gyo'. Most, follow the latter path. It should be noted that the decision is made by Ara sensei and is not 'really' up to the student as such. For myself, I have just finished the 'six week' stint at the Betsuin and I am being asked to prepare myself for Gyoin in Japan. While Ara sensei and most others are convinced that my Japanese is of an acceptable level, I am juggling my final year of uni and attempting to polish my Japanese skills on the side- particularly my writing skills. If all goes well, and my Japanese level 'rounds out' as expected, I am expected to attend Gyoin early next year.
The situation I have described above is generally the 'required' training for Priesthood at the Hawaii Betsuin. Of course, many who cannot stay for a month or six weeks, have stayed for shorter Gyo's but they have to my knowledge not been accepted for Gyoin in Japan.
While the Hawaii Betsuin performs Tokudo and Gyo in Hawaii, as Ara sensei is rather traditional it is still strongly expected that students attend Gyoin on Hieizan. I must admit, I do greatly admire the training at the New York Betsuin. By providing training in english for one...all of my own training has been in Japanese and we use the Taishu Kaju as given to Japanese priest/monks at Tokudo rather than an English one made in Hawaii. This has its draw backs and As I plan to found a Betsuin here in Sydney Australia one day, I am very conscious of the fact that this is not practically possible for non-japanese/ those unfamiliar with Japanese custom and manners.
unlike Japan however,After the first month-long stint at the Hawaii Betsuin, one recieves Nyushiki Tokudo (Entrance Tokudo) and becomes an assistant priest. After the second month long stint, one takes Shukke Tokudo. This is done in much the same way as it is in Japan. After the six week Gyo, one is deemed eithr ready for the 2 months of Gyo on Hieizan or asked to continue training at the Betsuin. Of course those ordinations mentioned above are given only when Ara sensei feels the deshi is ready- the pattern i described is the minimum length of time however.
hope that helps guys! its good to be back at DW!