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Thread: An Oryoki Circle

  1. #1
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    An Oryoki Circle

    Hi everyone,

    We will start the 'Oryoki Circle' sometime in late January. The plan is to get together on G+, probably on a Sunday evening GMT, and practice together this most complex and beautiful of rituals.

    Please ensure that you have an Oryoki set in advance of joining the circle: with three bowls that nest in each other, a setsu (spatula), a spoon, chop sticks, a napkin, drying cloth, wrapping cloth and utensil holder.

    We will follow the form Jundo has set out for us in the past, based on the official Soto-Shu rules.

    Here's my plan for the structure of this over eight weeks:

    Week 1: An introduction to Oryoki.
    Week 2: Opening the bowls.
    Week 3: Receiving Food.
    Week 4: Eating and taking seconds.
    Week 5: Offering to the hungry ghosts and cleaning the bowls.
    Week 6: Cleaning the bowls continued and wrapping up.
    Week 7: Putting it all together and making mistakes.
    Week 8: The meaning of Oryoki.

    Hopefully the same people will attend all of these, as we learn and practice together. For those that can't make it live, I propose recording them for later viewing … so you can watch my mistakes over and over again!

    Do let me know if you're interested. I aim to schedule the Circle for Sunday evenings, at 7 or 7:30PM GMT.

    Deep bows,
    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."

  2. #2
    Senior Member Shujin's Avatar
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    Thank you for offering this, Myozan. Due to my inane work schedule, Sunday afternoons (my time) are usually not feasible. I will study the recorded versions, however, if they are available.

    Gassho,
    Shujin

  3. #3
    Friend of Treeleaf Taikyo's Avatar
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    I'll be there!
    Gassho
    Taikyo

  4. #4
    Senior Member Daijo's Avatar
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    I am definitely interested. I'm not sure about the time, but if I can join live I will.

    Gassho,

    Chuck

  5. #5
    I am very much interested and just bought an oryoki set.

    Thank you so much for this, Myozan. It is greatly appreciated. Recording is a great idea, a bit like Taigu's sewing lessons. I am planning on attending live but can imagine wanting to go back ad clarify certain aspects.

    Gassho
    Andy

  6. #6
    Friend of Treeleaf Daido's Avatar
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    Thanks Myozan

    Gassho,

    Daido
    Jiken Daido - Unsui at Treeleaf's Brother Sangha, the Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage.

    Do not just accept what I say. Decide for yourself if it rings true for you

  7. #7
    Senior Member Juki's Avatar
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    I too am interested and will either join live or watch the recordings.

    gassho,
    william
    "First you have to give up." Tyler Durden

  8. #8
    Senior Member Kantai's Avatar
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    I would like to participate in this and think it's a great idea.
    Sunday evening is a hard time for me though as it's often my travelling day.
    Will it collide with the Treeleaf teeparty?

    Gassho
    Edward

  9. #9
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milarepa View Post
    I would like to participate in this and think it's a great idea.
    Sunday evening is a hard time for me though as it's often my travelling day.
    Will it collide with the Treeleaf teeparty?

    Gassho
    Edward
    Hi Edward,
    My plan is to hold it before the Teaparty, as I eat with my wife at 8ish every Sunday evening.
    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."

  10. #10
    Hi Myozan,

    Good idea, step by step is good as you scheduled

    Nice to do it with you

    Gassho

    PS: do you know when you will begin it?

    Myoshin
    Myoshin 妙 心
    "A person who receives the Buddhist Precepts enters the state of Buddha at once. They stand at the same level as Gautama Buddha. We can say they are a child of the Buddha." Jundo

  11. #11
    Wonderful idea Myozan and I will love to participate. =)

    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.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Hello,

    Very much like to participate "just enough".^^


    Gassho,
    Edward
    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to prajña from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  13. #13
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Count me in! One of my projects this year is to sew a set of wrapping cloth, napkin etc. for oryoki.

  14. #14
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Please do a recorded version so that I may participate as well.

    Gassho,

    Shugen


    Shugen
    As a priest in training, please take everything I say with a pinch of salt

    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  15. #15
    Hi Myozan,

    I am interested, but would also watch a recorded version, as Sunday evening is family time.
    Thanks a lot for offering this to us, Myozan!

    Gassho,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

  16. #16
    Senior Member Genshin's Avatar
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    Hi Myozan,

    Please count me in! If I can't make the live hangout, I'll be there recorded.

    Cool idea. Thank you.

    Gassho
    Matt

  17. #17
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    An Oryoki Circle

    Great!
    This was Jundo's idea, by the way. Hope my limited knowledge can be of some service.
    Gassho
    Myozan
    Last edited by Myozan Kodo; 01-08-2014 at 05:11 PM.
    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."

  18. #18
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing this teaching Myozan
    I'll be with the recorded version. Watching the mistakes shpuld be fun

    gassho, Shokai
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Hi Myozan. I am interested but will have to concoct an oryoki set as per Jundo's suggestions for Rohatsu. How long will each session be?
    This is a practice I have been meaning to try since I joined Treeleaf! Gassho.
    Heisoku
    平 息

  20. #20
    Senior Member Sekishi's Avatar
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    How wonderful! I should be able to attend "live" most weeks.

    Thank you for bringing this teaching to the wider sangha.

    Deep bows,
    Eric

  21. #21
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Hi Heisoku.
    It would be great if we could limit each session to 40 or 45 mins.
    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."

  22. #22
    Thank you Myozan - will probably follow the recorded version.

    It feels good the way you plan to structure each session - looking forward to learning about Oryoki
    at a slow meditative pace.

    Gassho

    Willow

  23. #23
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Thank you for this opportunity, Myozan.

    Due to being on this side of the Big Pond, I'll have to practice with the recorded version, but I'll let you know how it went for me.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  24. #24
    I'm hoping for the recorded version too, due to time constraints.
    _/\_ Shinzan

  25. #25
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Does anyone know of a place that sells Oryoki sets in the uk? It's my birthday soon so why not!
    Gassho.
    Heisoku
    平 息

  26. #26
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Myozan,

    A wonderful thing. I will try to participate live, but being right up against the tea party makes it difficult. Will do my best.

    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.

  27. #27
    Friend of Treeleaf Taikyo's Avatar
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    Hi Heisoku,

    I don't think you can get a set in the UK - at least I tried & couldn't find a supplier. I bought a three bowl set in Kanshoji when I was there last summer. However, today I received a package from the US and it was a lacquered six-bowl set from the Monastery Store ( a late surprise Xmas present from my wife). So if you can't get hold of a set you're welcome to the three bowl set to practice with.

    Gassho

    Taikyo

  28. #28
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    these bowls, from the Monastery store, are to my knowledge the best and identical to the real thing.

    gassho


    T.
    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.

  29. #29
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    I would be interested in this for sure.
    Try not to be a jerk-- one of the Buddhas

  30. #30
    Senior Member Heishu's Avatar
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    Looking forward to this but will probably be going with the recorded version if available. Thank you for doing this.

    Gassho,
    Heishu


    “Blessed are the flexible, for they never get bent out of shape." Author Unknown

  31. #31
    I would love to join in this, but the time puts it square in my work day. I hope their will be recordings so that I can follow them.

    Gassho,
    Neika
    Neika / Ian Adams

    寧 Nei - Peaceful/Courteous
    火 Ka - Fire

    Look for Buddha outside your own mind, and Buddha becomes the devil. --Dogen

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    these bowls, from the Monastery store, are to my knowledge the best and identical to the real thing.

    gassho


    T.
    Yes, speak to Myozan on the details, but almost none of the bowls one will find and purchase overseas will be fully right. For example, there are some small pieces in the set that Myozan may decide to include or not for Beginner's Practice. It all depends on how "official" and complete one wishes to be. Do you want a full Soto set sufficient for you to begin practicing at Eiheiji Monastery? That would set a dent in the bank account too (equivalent to maybe US$700 or so for real lacquer, not plastic or the like) ... The following page is in Japanese, but the photos show all the pieces in the Soto array ... Have a look scrolling down here to see some of the bowls, implements, wrappings and covers of a "real thing" Japanese Soto Oryoki set ...

    http://softera.jp/?p=304

    One point is the the "Buddha Bowl" (the large bowl) has a fully rounded bottom according to tradition ...



    ... requiring it to rest on a small plate-like stand to sit flat ...



    Rinzai sets are a little different in shape and configuration.

    Again, these aspects may not be so important to a person just starting as a beginner (we are always all beginners!), and one might come "darn close" just with items around the kitchen, a pillow case etc. Myozan is in charge, and will tell you exactly what he wants and you need for your set, so I will defer to him and let him advise you. I would not purchase anything until you discuss it with Myozan and he tells you what you need and what he approves.

    To make a long story short, most of the "Oryoki Sets" one would buy online in the West would be different in many ways from all the above ... made of some resilient artificial material, with less bowls, no "round bottom" on the main bowl, not quite "Rinzai" or "Soto" or very any tradition in bowl shape, no "water board" or lacquer "placemat" ... even maybe a fork in place of chopsticks! ... etc. etc. However, most would be fine for basic Practice, skipping a few steps (such as unfolding and placing the "placemat" if not included. One can also make a "placemat" at home using a piece of child's school construction paper!).

    Here, by the way, are Oryoki Instructions from Soto-shu. It is a lovely Practice, in which body-mind is dropped away in the flow of dozens of ballet like movements ... like a dance.

    http://global.sotozen-net.or.jp/eng/...ki/page-1.html

    Why Practice this old and arcane way of eating (so unlike the "drive-thru" culture of the West)? I once wrote this ...

    Some old Japanese traditions, though old and often exotic to Western eyes, are still beautiful and of great value to our Practice. Oryoki is such a Practice. ...

    True Oryoki practice is very traditional, and very Japanese (even Chinese and Korean monks in the monastery do not typically take their meals in such way), but that is neither reason to accept or reject the practice. Many parts of our Practice are worth keeping, even if they strike someone as strange at first. Bowing, statues, incense and, yes, weird talks about Koans all fit in that category. They may seem like unnecessary "Japanese" or "Esoteric" elements at first, until you understand the role they serve....same for Rakusu/Kesa sewing. And I think Oryoki formal meal ritual is a great practice, and worth keeping.

    ... Although a bit rigid and formal to many Western eyes, the practice of comformity to form, finding liberation in rigidity, has endless depth.

    To truly 'master' Oryoki, dozens and dozens of set movements, like a ballet, must be memorized with the 'body memory' (much like learning a dance). Oryoki and the formal Japanese Tea Ceremony share much in common. Oryoki is a form of moving Zazen, teaching freedom amid the confining actions. It can NEVER be done right, without mistakes. Like life. Still, we strive to master the form.

    Oryoki is a dance, a ballet ... Oryoki is one of those additions that Zen practice picked up on its way through Japan that is worth keeping. It is a shame that a large number of "foreigners" never try to do it right, and that most teachers don't teach it that way to their non-Japanese students. I am no different in how I teach it ... I will cut corners for our retreat by necessity for our annual Rohatsu Retreat, although I will encourage folks to try to get as close as possible to the "right" way.
    I hope that "right" way, and the Beauty of this Practice, will come through our new "Oryoki Circle".

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-15-2014 at 01:24 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  33. #33
    Hello there - I did a search and couldn't find any bowls in the UK either.

    Then I watched Jundo's video of putting together an Oryoki set from bits and pieces in the kitchen and really warmed to the spirit of this

    Gassho

    Willow

  34. #34
    I wish I had asked before making my purchase. These are the ones I have: http://www.stillsitting.com/sitting-around/oryoki.html

    Gassho
    Andy

  35. #35
    Hi Andy,

    Just to underline, those look good enough for beginner's basic Oryoki, and Myozan may instruct you to add any missing pieces. It depends what Myozan plans to do, and I leave the rest up to him.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  36. #36
    Thank you, Jundo. I was hoping they would be okay for a beginner's set as I can't run to the $210 for the Monastery Store ones just yet.

    I will liaise with Myozan.

    Gassho
    Andy

  37. #37
    Junior Member jslinjr's Avatar
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    This sounds very nice. Once my employment starts and the checks start coming in I would like to join in. Better late than never!

    Gassho,
    Jeff
    "Those who see worldly life as an obstacle to Dharma see no Dharma in everyday actions. They have not yet discovered that there are no everyday actions outside of Dharma."

    - Dogen Zenji

  38. #38
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice and information. I will wait for the moment. Gassho.
    Heisoku
    平 息

  39. #39
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I recommend the bowls from the Monestary Store mentioned above. They are the closest to the real thing and do nicely. However, even they lack a "waterboard" and "placemat" ... the things Jundo mentions above.

    To my mind, do try and get the monestary store bowls. If you order soon, you should have them by late January when we'll start.

    However, if these bowls are too expensive for you at the moment, get bowls AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE to the monk's bowl set in the Monestary Store:

    http://www.dharma.net/monstore/produ...91bc415s356mf5

    We will aim to internalise the form no matter what bowl set we are working with. So, do the best you can for the moment. If you lack something, then improvise. Our aim will be to master the form, in our imaginations if needs be ... then you'll have the form to use when you can get an authentic set in the future.

    My set lacks a waterboard and placemat, for example. So I'll have to improvise that.

    Gassho
    Myozan

    PS: Most practice centres outside Japan seem to use a variation of the form and set. In my experience, only monks that have done Ango in Japan are required to have the full, official set. It is rare is to see the waterboard and placemat in western oryoki practice. However, we will cover all bases ... including these often omitted details. Our aim is to be as 'official' as possible, so that we are all ready for any situation ... including a stay in a Japanese monestary.
    Last edited by Myozan Kodo; 01-11-2014 at 09:55 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."

  40. #40
    Hi Myozan,

    A small question from a straw hut.

    Is there any objection in using the set we gathered for the Rohatu retreat? I kind like the " drop likes and dislikes" even when it comes to the set made out of bowls that were once discarded and forgotten. Also improvising and making utensils your self, has a nice touch too it. It would make things easier for those ( like me) who really cannot afford even the cheapest set online. I am happy to hear we are primarily going to aim for the internalizing of the procedure and if this can be done in rags it can also be practiced with and a more .....colorful and humble oryoki set, no? 215 dollars for an oryoki set kinda ruins my appetite anyway, lol

    Thank you for starting this project up. Its great and will add to what we do here! Another first online perhaps?

    Gassho

    E.

  41. #41
    Thanks myozan,

    I will try to attend this. Now I need to find an affordable oryoki set!

    gassho

    simon

  42. #42
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Hi Enkyo,

    Use what you can, is my philosophy for this. However, eccentricity and quirkiness, once practicing on sesshin and in formal practice situations, would not be acceptable. On sesshin, in a zendo, one should not draw attention to themselves, with colorful zafus, wacky attire … and highly unorthodox Oryoki bowls.

    Once that is understood, one can learn to fly in a flight simulator, 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."

  43. #43
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    _/\_

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    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  44. #44
    I too will join you. Also will try to find affordable oryoki set for start.

    Gassho, Memo/Girai

  45. #45
    Senior Member Sekishi's Avatar
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    I purchased this set of 4 plastic bowls last year for $45 USD: http://www.samadhicushions.com/Oryok...c-p/s-5465.htm

    Napkin, utensil bag, etc. will need to be DIY, or purchased separately.

    Myozan, do these look acceptable to you? I can provide photos for scale if needed.

    Gassho,
    Sekishi / Eric

    髭 Sekishi / Eric

  46. #46
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Hi Sekishi,
    Sorry to say it is not much like the real thing. Do the bowls nest into each other? It does not look like they do.

    The big, Buddha bowl should have a smooth, curved bottom. In fact, it sits on a little stand. Your bowls look the incorrect shape and size, I am sorry to say. There are other items missing, too, in the set.

    Also, do you have cloths? You could make or buy some if not.

    Again, you can work with these bowls in the meantime, to internalise the form. But you will need bowls closer to the real thing at some stage.

    All will become apparent!

    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."

  47. #47
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Hi again.
    Just to restate: we will work with what you've got. If the bottom of your Buddha bowl is not orthodox, find a small dish to slip underneath as a stand. We will use our imaginations and improvise. We will get on just fine.

    And, just to say again, I, too, am a student with you. I look forward to learning right alongside you all.

    I'm planning to start week one on January 26th at 7:30 PM GMT.

    Gassho
    Myozan
    Last edited by Myozan Kodo; 01-14-2014 at 08:23 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."

  48. #48
    Senior Member Kantai's Avatar
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    Looking forward to this.

    Gassho
    Kantai/Edward (milarepa)

  49. #49
    Senior Member Sekishi's Avatar
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    Hi Myozan,

    Definitely not "the real thing", but hopefully "good enough".

    Anyhow, the bowls nest, but the Buddha bowl does not have a lid / stand (and does not have the "rounded" shape normal to that bowl). For the rohatsu retreat I used a spatula that I cut down to the same length as a setsu, however I do have a setsu somewhere too.

    Here is a photo of my set as it is currently (I did not have time to look for the setsu this morning):

    oryoki-20140114_120827_500w.jpg

    I think at this point I'm most concerned with being able to participate in the study group. A high-priced "real" set might have to wait for a bit.

    Thank you for your input, and for taking on the study group as a project.

    Deep bows,
    Sekishi

    Quote Originally Posted by Myozan Kodo View Post
    Hi Sekishi,
    Sorry to say it is not much like the real thing. Do the bowls nest into each other? It does not look like they do.

    The big, Buddha bowl should have a smooth, curved bottom. In fact, it sits on a little stand. Your bowls look the incorrect shape and size, I am sorry to say. There are other items missing, too, in the set.

    Also, do you have cloths? You could make or buy some if not.

    Again, you can work with these bowls in the meantime, to internalise the form. But you will need bowls closer to the real thing at some stage.

    All will become apparent!

    Gassho
    Myozan

    髭 Sekishi / Eric

  50. #50
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Plymouth, Devon, UK
    Posts
    1,222
    Looks good to me Sekishi, and like you I cannot afford the full set. I am looking to make my own but haven't even found the nested bowls yet. May have to give it a miss this time round!
    Gassho.
    Heisoku
    平 息

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