taking zen vows at concentration camp site - keith daishin goffin

Hello Sangha,
I had the auspicious event of receiving novice ordination (Jukai) from Claude AnShin Thomas, with Marion GenRai Lukas assisting, on November 22nd, 2023 and the ordained name DaiShin which translates into Change/Convert HeartMind. The ceremony took place at the former Nazi concentration camp at Dachau in Germany.  The reason for this location to receive my novice ordination was twofold. First, sadly I had thirteen members of my father’s immediate and extended family who were murdered in Dachau during World War II.  Second and a bit conversely, I was honored to receive Jukai in Dachau as it is a symbol for me of the cyclical journey of birth, life, and death. It also meant for me that those who were murdered live on in me.

Taking Jukai has been a very personal journey for me. I had visited Dachau three times prior to this event.  Every time feels like a first because I am always unsure of what feelings will arise.  What arose for me during the ceremony is the profound feeling of responsibility to live my best life.  Practice with Claude AnShin, the Sangha, and the Dharma brought me to living an engaged, sustained, committed spiritual practice – one with an authentic teacher and authentic practice.