Sarana Affirmation Ceremony

A long-standing ritual of all Buddhist traditions going back to the time of the Buddha is having followers of the Buddha formally commit to a Buddhist way of life. Originally this ceremony was only for adherents also willing to follow the strict monastic codes of the group.

Following this ancient rite of passage, our Jodo Shinshu tradition, going back to the time of Shinran Shonin, has for nearly 800 years conducted a Sarana ceremony that is in keeping with this tradition. The ceremony is only allowed to be conducted either by the Gomonshu, the spiritual head of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji, or his designated representative.

Traditionally, one participating in such a ceremony would have been subjected to the ritual of head hair being shaved in its entirety. However, as time has passed, in Jodo Shinshu this has been modified to only a symbolic shaving of the hair.

Participants are asked to verbally confirm that they are willing to take refuge in the Three Treasures; the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha and to be a follower of Jodo Shinshu and live according to the teachings of the Buddha.

Each Sarana participant receives a Homyo, a Buddhist name that is unique and specific to your character and attributes. Each Buddhist name will begin with the term Shaku. This is in reference to Shakyamuni Buddha who was a muni (sage) of the Shakya clan, his extended family. For example, my Buddhist name is Shaku Nyu Shin. Nyu Shin can be translated as Entering the Realm of True Reality.

As this service must be conducted by the Socho, the spiritual head of Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada, in Calgary we have only held these on irregular occasions when there are adequate numbers as he must take time off from his regular duties at the headquarters in Vancouver and travel to Calgary.

If this is a ceremony that you would be interested in participating in or if you have questions, please send an email to

The next ceremony in Calgary is scheduled for Sunday, April 2, 2023 so if you would like to commit to a Buddhist way of life by participating in an Affirmation Ceremony, please complete the Sarana Affirmation Ceremony Application and email it to before Sunday, March 19, 2023.