by Viviana Peretti
These images were taken during a Precepts Training Week at Fire Lotus Temple. Each spring and fall, a small group of students comes into residence at the Temple or Monastery and devotes their time to studying the moral and ethical teachings of Zen. The week culminates with Jukai, a public ceremony in which students receive the Sixteen Buddhist Precepts, a dharma name and a rakusu—a version of the Buddha’s robe. As the week unfolds, each student sews their own rakusu, silently chanting “Being one with the Buddha; Being one with Dharma; Being one with the Sangha” with each stitch. Receiving the Precepts marks a new stage in a student’s practice, one in which they explicitly and publicly commit to fulfilling the Bodhisattva Vows.
Viviana Peretti is a freelance photographer based in New York. She is a 2010 graduate of the International Center of Photography’s program in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism and has received fellowships and awards from various institutions, including the International Center of Photography, the Joannie M. Chen Fund in New York, the Spanish Embassy in Colombia, and the Colombian Ministry of Culture. Her work has been published in international newspapers and magazines including The New York Times and New York Magazine. Additional images from this series are posted on her website at www.vivianaperetti.com.