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Thread: Rakusu related question

  1. #1
    Senior Member Genshin's Avatar
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    Rakusu related question

    Hi,

    I found this page relating to the practice of the Kesa/Rakusu, and have a question:

    http://www.nozt.org/teachings/kesapractice.shtml

    The rakusu may also be worn for zazen. But just as Zen practice is not limited to the dojo, neither is the kesa. During the day it should be worn as often as possible, so that the practice of the Way is always present in our minds. The rakusu is especially worn during samu, during sesshin, and when travelling. When we take off our rakusu, it is to protect it. It is taken off when eating (except during sesshin), when going to the bathroom, at parties and for doing samu that might dirty or damage the rakusu. But when travelling, you may keep it on throughout the journey.
    Hope it's ok to ask, but is it acceptable/desirable here to wear the rakusu as much as possible as the paragraph suggests? Travelling etc.

    Gassho
    Matt

  2. #2
    Hi Matt,

    Well, you can. But it is not so typical for a lay person to wear it "out in the world", going to work or the grocery or the like (especially if a householder, and not a full time temple priest).

    Taigu wrote this several years ago, and I agree. Maybe Taigu has something to add to what he said then ...

    Thank you Jundo for reminding us that taking the precepts and receiving the kesa is not a matter of pride, nothing that makes people special. We receive the robe because we are weak and deluded.
    When to wear it? Why do we always want rules?
    Anyway, first and foremost, we should wear it when we sit. We can wear it everywhere as long as we are not provoking or interfering with people s belief. Avoid it in the toilet not because it is a dirty place but just because your rakusu or kesa could be stained. And when you eat, wash the dishes or do something that could stain it, then you may wear it on your back putting the pine neddle on your throat.
    When I go to work, and I am a school teacher, I am always wearing lay clothing. The only reminder of my tradition are three Buddhist bracelets made of beads close to my watch so everytime I check the time I get the reminder in my face. Otherwise, I wear a samue, kind of convenient blueish blackish Japanese garment used by monks, gardeners and some artists to work, also by old grandpas. I have been wearing this for twenty five years. And yes, I wear a rakusu often with my stupid shaved head and my life in rags. And when I do Takuhatsu, I am in the full gear from head to foot, from the large straw hat to the straw waraji...But it is Japan here... And yes, don t leave it in the car or an unattended place if you don t want it to vanish , so many friends have lost rakusu and kesa like that. You may keep it in your bag or leave it on a special place in between two sittings.
    Do as you like, folks. But please, understand that the true kesa extend much further than you think, the mandala of this dream is the very flesh, bones and marrow of Buddha. The kesa is to be seen and met in everything.
    Gassho
    In the first sentence, Taigu is referring to a quote I posted by Daido Loori ...

    Unfortunately, many people see the rakusu received during the precepts ceremony as a kind of status symbol. I once had a student interested in receiving the precepts tell me that it made her feel more important than the other students. It is imperative to understand that taking the Buddhist precepts and wearing a rakusu makes us the servants of other people, not superior to them.Our vow is to be a servant to all sentient beings. We are at their disposal to help them do what they need to do. To me, wearing a rakusu means living the life of a Buddha, manifesting our lives as Buddhas. Buddhas do not put themselves above anything. In Buddha there is no separation.To be Buddha is to not separate yourself from others anytime, anyplace.
    I typically wear my Rakusu or full Kesa these days for sitting or ceremonies or Dokusan, and not other hours. Or, better said, I am ALWAYS wearing my Rakusu/Kesa ... whether seen or invisible to ordinary eyes.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-11-2013 at 05:37 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Genshin's Avatar
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    Thank you Jundo. The article I posted doesn't distinguish between householder and full time priest, hence the question.

    Gassho
    Matt

  4. #4
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    The true kesa is just before your very eyes.
    You should never sit without your rakusu, seen or unseen, and nobody not even Buddha has the right to take it away from you.
    You could also sew a small version of the kesa and carry thr three kesas with you wherever you go.
    I don t. But I sew kesas I make everywhere I go.

    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.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    The true kesa is just before your very eyes.
    Wonderful, thank you Taigu.

    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.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Genshin's Avatar
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    Thank you Taigu.

    Gassho
    Matt

  7. #7
    Yeah! Thanks Taigu and Jundo.

  8. #8
    Thank you, Jundo and Taigu!

    Gassho.

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