Indian Lake Buddhist Monk receives ordination honors

CANAAN - Rev. Seishin Jack Fitterer of Indian Lake, along with five other Tendai Buddhist monks from the United States and Denmark became the first ordained monks to receive ordination training outside of Japan Oct. 23 at the Tendai Buddhist Institute in Canaan, NY.

The newly accepted monks were honored with Soryo Tokudo, an advanced ordination requiring a minimum of six years of study and practice. Thirty monks traveled from Japan to the Tendai Buddhist Institute to take part in the ceremony, officiated by Ven. Komori Shukei, envoy from the headquarters temple of the Tendai sect located on Mt. Hiei near Kyoto.

In 2007 Rev. Fitterer established Celestial Drum Tendai Buddhist Sangha in Indian Lake, as an affiliate of Tendai Buddhist Institute, assisted by Daichi Jim Curry, also of Indian Lake. Fitterer began his Buddhist studies nearly 40 years ago and previously led Higashi Tendai Buddhist Sangha in Great Barrington, MA.

Fitterer currently lives and works as a bookbinder in Indian Lake with his wife, Taff, and two cats.

Celestial Drum Tendai Buddhist Sangha is a local gathering of people who together investigate, study and practice the Buddhist path in an authentic fashion. It serves both the residents of and visitors to Indian Lake and the surrounding Adirondack communities.

The ordination ceremony which honored Fitterer was once only native to Japan and represents the recognition by the Tendai sect of the training program developed at Tendai Buddhist Institute, the only such program located outside of Japan.

The ceremony was held in conjunction with another earlier in the day celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of the founding of Tendai Buddhist Institute in 1995 and the fifth anniversary of the consecration of the temple located there.

The following day, monks from Japan, North America and Europe traveled to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to hold a fire ritual in honor of the 125th anniversary of the Tendai ordination of the founder and first curator of the museum.

For more information on Fitterer's work, visit www.adirondacktendai.org.

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