Membership in the Center

Anyone is welcome to participate in Center activities without formally becoming a member. To be eligible for membership, a person must attend at least three Center functions over at least one month from their initial visit. An official new member recognition will be held at least semi-annually.

Members are expected to ascribe to the behavioral intentions of the Buddha’s Golden Chain of Love, which is a standard element in services at the Center:

I am a link in Buddha’s Golden Chain of Love that stretches around the world.
 I must keep my link bright and strong.
I will try to be kind and gentle to all living things, and protect all who are weaker than myself.
I will try to think pure and beautiful thoughts,
 to say pure and beautiful words,
 and to do pure and beautiful deeds,
 knowing that on what I do now depends 
not only my own happiness but also that of others.
May every link in Buddha’s Golden Chain of Love 
become bright and strong, and may we all attain perfect peace.

Benefits of formal membership include:

  • Members are eligible to vote in elections of officers and to stand for election to become officers
  • Members are given first priority on registration for events with a limited number of participants
  • Members are able to borrow from the Center’s library
  • Members are invited to bring framed photos of deceased ancestors (back two generations) and descendants to the Center, which will be placed on the side altar for dedication of merit on the anniversary of their birth and death.

Membership is open to all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status, gender/gender identity, sexual/affectional orientation, ability, or other demographic characteristics.

Formal Lay Ordination

In some religious traditions — especially the Christian tradition most likely to be familiar to Americans — officially becoming a follower involves making a statement of faith and ascribing to particular beliefs. By contrast, the formal conversion process in Buddhism requires a commitment to living a Buddhist life and following its moral teachings. This involves Taking Refuge in the Buddha (the teacher), the Dharma (his teachings), and the Sangha (the community of followers), and agreeing to live according to the Five Lay Precepts to the best of one’s ability.

Only a fully ordained monastic is allowed to administer the lay ordination process, so lay ordination is not available locally at the Center. However, the Center can guide you through the preparations for taking the Precepts with Ven. Hae Doh at Muddy Water Zen Temple. A Precept-taking ceremony is typically held there in the spring.