Undertaking Lay Ordination and entering the path to Priesthood is a mutual decision between the individual and the Sensei, subject to the approval of the latter. A Disciple asks to becomes the formal Zen student of the Sensei, with certain responsibilities and benefits inhering in the relationship. Details are laid out in the STO Practice Path Prerequisites. Highlights include:
• Engaging in a proactive training relationship with the Sensei
• Supporting the STO through an annual pledge of dana, based on means
• Helping the local sangha with contributions of time, effort and funding
• Participating in local affiliate’s rotation schedule under STO supervision
• Joining live and on-line dialogs with the Sensei and the larger sangha
• Assisting and accompanying Sensei when appropriate and available
• Visiting other sanghas in the STO network of affiliates
• Following STO Practice Path prerequisites as agreed with the Sensei
• Permission to speak to Sangha and public under supervision of the Sensei
• Eligibility to train for Novice Priesthood Ceremony (J. Shukke Tokudo).
Only fully transmitted Teachers are authorized to take on the role and responsibility of supervising and sanctioning Disciples. However, Disciples are expected to cross-train each other, with due respect to seniority. Generally, seniors Disciples act as Mentors to junior disciples. The STO Practice Path Prerequisites lay out the required steps toward either of those designations in detail. How far one chooses to pursue the formal Path is entirely at the discretion of the individual, under supervision of the Abbot/Abbess or Sensei.