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Thread: Question about Rakusu

  1. #1

    Question about Rakusu

    Hi Everyone,

    Just a quick question, does one wear a rakusu once you have taken jukai? Or can/should/does one wear one whenever and whoever sits shikantaza?

    Sorry if that's a really basic question.

    Gassho,

    Anda

  2. #2
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Hi Anda,
    Taigu is the expert on the robe. However, normally it is worn by those that have taken the precepts. Although I believe the kesa could be worn by anyone sitting Zazen, according to Dogen in the early days.

    Best to get a responce from Taigu, I reckon.

    Gassho
    Myozan
    Myozan Kodo
    Ordained Soto Zen Priest in Training
    Dublin, Ireland

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.
    "Here the way unfolds."

  3. #3
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    One seldom receives a rakusu prior to jukai. You may be granted the permisdion to sew and wear a kesa if you ask a teacher. But. You are not supposed to do it because you have decided this is the way to go. The kesa is not an outfit or something to llok good in it, it has a profound meaning.

    Gasso

    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Myozan Kodo View Post
    Hi Anda,
    Taigu is the expert on the robe. However, normally it is worn by those that have taken the precepts. Although I believe the kesa could be worn by anyone sitting Zazen, according to Dogen in the early days.

    Best to get a responce from Taigu, I reckon.

    Gassho
    Myozan
    Thank you Myozan Kodo.

    Gassho.

    Anda

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    One seldom receives a rakusu prior to jukai. You may be granted the permisdion to sew and wear a kesa if you ask a teacher. But. You are not supposed to do it because you have decided this is the way to go. The kesa is not an outfit or something to llok good in it, it has a profound meaning.

    Gasso

    Taigu
    Thank you, Taigu. Could you expand a little on that meaning, or point me towards where I can learn about it?

    Gassho.

    Anda.

  6. #6
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    I would need to talk endlessly or shut my gob.
    I am going to ask Shohei, Mongen, Fugen, Myozan and Dosho to teach us what is the meaning of this robe.

    Gassho.

    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  7. #7
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Hi Anda,

    My correct understanding of the kesa comes directly from my teacher. Any misunderstandings are mine alone and introduced by me, an unsui in training.

    The Okesa is the teaching itself. It is the body of the Buddha, the fabric of reality. It is square and circular at the same time, wrapped around the body. It is nothing but a few strips of cloth sewn together. It falls apart with the years, like everything else. So, we cannot own the Kesa. It is not "ours".

    The rakusu and the kesa are part of the same, seamless, unending reality. There is no difference between them. The kesa you will wear and the kesa Shakyamuni wore is the exact same kesa.

    The kesa must be given to us by this reality, through a teacher. But when it is given, nothing is given.

    The kesa is a mystery to sit with over many lifetimes. It IS the teaching … not an accessory. There is nothing mysterious about it.

    How to make a rakusu?

    Cotton grown with water and sun, then cut and
    Woven into sheets, dyed a muted hue and cut
    Again, into meticulously measured strips.
    One long piece, one short piece,
    Long on top, then long on the bottom,
    Sewn together in an interlocking clasp,
    Five times, then all five stitched together.
    All in a frame then, with four guardians
    On the four directions of the face; two straps
    For wearing and a neck piece, pine needle
    Stitched in. To the teacher then, who stains
    The work, brush dipped in ink and water,
    The seal of perfection’s imperfection,
    And his circular stamp like the blazing sun.

    Gassho,
    Myozan
    Last edited by Myozan Kodo; 05-04-2013 at 08:32 AM.
    Myozan Kodo
    Ordained Soto Zen Priest in Training
    Dublin, Ireland

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.
    "Here the way unfolds."

  8. #8
    That is beautiful. Thank you, Myozan.

    *Deep bow*
    Andy

  9. #9
    Thank you Myozan - lovely.

    Gassho

    Willow

  10. #10
    Senior Member Genshin's Avatar
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    Beautiful Myozan. Thanks.

    Gassho
    Matt

  11. #11
    Hi.

    To continue on from Myozans beginning, the kesa is everything, the whole world, so when we we sit with it wrapped around us we sit with everything as one, thus embodying the teaching as we practice it.

    Its importance is endless, and at the same time it is just an piece of cloth to keep the cold out, and nothinng to get upset/stuck about.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen
    Treeleaf Unsui
    Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

  12. #12
    I am in agreement with everyone Myozan, absolutely beautiful!

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  13. #13
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    The meaning of the robe needs to be discovered for each person and thus cannot be understood until it is sewn. And I don't believe it can ever be fully understood even then! For this vessel commonly called Dosho around this place called Treeleaf, the kesa is a process by which we stitch together the broken pieces of our pesky selves while realizing that there is no I, no me, no you, only us in this moment.

    I make a point of never calling the rakusu "my rakusu" since it is not truly mine. It belongs to us all.

    Just like sitting, just do it. If you think you are terrific at sewing. Sew it. If you think you are terrible at sewing. Sew it. What you think is not what you are.

    It is so simple in description, but in most cases so difficult to see.

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Koshin's Avatar
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    Thank you all

    Deep Gassho
    ______________________________
    Kōshin / Leo



    P.S. Yup, I know, my English sucks

  15. #15
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Thank you Myozan, Fugen and Dosho. I am finding in sewing the kesa a koan.
    Heisoku
    平 息

  16. #16
    Thank you all for your diverse and eloquent replies. It has a deep meaning, yet means nothing. How very Zen! How very 'just so'!


  17. #17
    Hello,

    thank you all for your wonderful input.

    The tiny little two cents I'd like to add here are just a little observation. Different from a mighty sceptre, sword or something equally impressive in terms of its overall symbolism, the Kesa is something that can and should be worn as an item that is both humble yet all embracing. It is a perfect brother/sister to the Buddha's begging bowl. All is contained therein, and only those with eyes to see will notice their limitless worth. For others it is just a piece of cloth...

    But then maybe it is better to just see a piece of cloth than to ever wear the Kesa as a means to praise and aggrandise oneself.


    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Last edited by Hans; 05-05-2013 at 01:32 PM.
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  18. #18
    Beautifully said, everyone.
    Gassho

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Seisou View Post
    Beautifully said, everyone.
    Gassho
    Yes.

    gassho
    Shōmon

  20. #20
    Thank you for the questions and responses
    Gassho, Kaishin
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  21. #21
    Great explanations! Thank you for taking the time, Myozan, Dosho, Hans and Fugen.

    In gassho.

    Anda

  22. #22
    Friends of Treeleaf Dokan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myozan Kodo View Post

    How to make a rakusu?

    Cotton grown with water and sun, then cut and
    Woven into sheets, dyed a muted hue and cut
    Again, into meticulously measured strips.
    One long piece, one short piece,
    Long on top, then long on the bottom,
    Sewn together in an interlocking clasp,
    Five times, then all five stitched together.
    All in a frame then, with four guardians
    On the four directions of the face; two straps
    For wearing and a neck piece, pine needle
    Stitched in. To the teacher then, who stains
    The work, brush dipped in ink and water,
    The seal of perfection’s imperfection,
    And his circular stamp like the blazing sun.
    Enthusiastic Gassho!

    Dokan

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Tapatalk 2
    We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
    ~Anaïs Nin

  23. #23
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Inspiring all.

    Gassho,
    Edward

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