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Thread: Fashion for a Clouded Mind

  1. #51
    Thank you all for this thread. So much wisdom here.

    Gassho.
    ~ Please remember that I am very fallible.

    Gassho
    Aske

  2. #52
    Senior Member Sekishi's Avatar
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    What an amazing discussion! I have nothing to offer when it comes to discussing the kesa, rakusu, etc. Deep bows to all for the wonderful patchwork that is this "robe of Treeleaf".

    However, Danny, to your original note about being cold, my wonderful wife gave me a hooded cloak a few years ago which I wear when sitting in the winter, or outside on chilly days. When worn over long sleeves, I have rarely been cold:
    http://www.dharmacrafts.com/101xMC/2...ion-Cloak.html

    Deep (warm) bows to all,
    Sekishi

    髭 Sekishi / Eric

  3. #53
    Thank you, Sekishi.
    They do look cozy.

    I had something similar on my mind, made from blankets, but well, the question is true: why invent something new if there is something traditional that used to serve people for exactly that purpose?

    I've found a very big, soft old cotton curtain - if now somebody taught me how to wrap it Bodidharma-style around myself, I'd be set for the next months.

    Though some might consider it necessary to cut off ones arm to serve Zen, I'd rather cover my right one, keep it warm, keep my hand and learn sewing...

    (My mom makes a good Hollywood-style Zen master: "Will you put in the pins in as neatly as I'm doing!!". I'm lucky she has no stick. But the zafu cover is making progress. )

    Gassho,
    Danny

  4. #54
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Hi guys,

    Just wanted to put in my 2 cents, that as usual might be totally wrong.

    I wear the kesa and rakusu because they remind me of practice and the commitment I made to serve all sentient beings. Even if I sew one or someone was gracious enough to give me one, the kesa is not mine and it shall never be.

    The kesa is a symbol that depicts all what's sacred in the universe, all life and how it's interconnected. But at the same time it's just a piece of patchwork cloth. Each piece can be from a different place and time, yet it's tied to other pieces that create reality.

    It has only the value one gives to it, but again, how can you put value on the Buddha?

    Once you wear it you can never take it off. Once you start sewing, you want to keep on sewing. In silence and in trust.

    And then I serve others, putting away the kesa and my needs for a moment.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Last edited by Kyonin; 08-25-2014 at 11:04 PM.
    Shuso and Ango leader for September 2014.

    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

  5. #55
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Kyonin, you exactly described the relative and the absolute dimensions of this Okesa. And also, beyond any doubt it's universality. Those who have sewn it can understand and fathom what it represents. I will remember for ever your tears when you talked about your first kesa. In doing this and showing this, you were teaching me. As I was sitting this morning in my room-hermitage at 4:00, rain was pouring down outside. In this, it was impossible to say where the rain was and the kesa wasn't. Only those who are lucky enough can glimpse this. You are one of them.

    And please remember you can certainly let go of your needs for a while, but you can never put the kesa down.

    Deep bows, my teacher

    Taigu
    Last edited by Taigu; 08-25-2014 at 09:42 PM.
    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.

  6. #56
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Taigu,

    No words. Only gratitude.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Shuso and Ango leader for September 2014.

    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

  7. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    I wear the kesa and rakusu because they remind me of practice and the commitment I made to serve all sentient beings. Even if I sew one of someone was gracious enough to give me one, the kesa is not mine and it shall never be.

    The kesa is a symbol that depicts all what's sacred in the universe, all life and how it's interconnected. But at the same time it's just a piece of patchwork cloth. Each piece can be from a different place and time, yet it's tied to other pieces that create reality.
    Kyonin

    Through distance and time you have touched my heart and spoke the words on my lips. Tears in my eyes! =)

    Deep bows
    Shingen
    Last edited by Shingen; 08-25-2014 at 11:34 PM.
    倫道 真現

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

  8. #58
    Senior Member Heishu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daizan View Post
    Hello Heishu.

    Others will view sowing or wearing the kesa differently, and that is fair. Embarking on sowing a kesa is, for me, about the decision to ordain. That has nothing to do with life being perfect, or "me" being perfect. It is about having the maturity. If you want to know if I am mature enough to train as a priest...ask my wife, and son....and neighbor. After been around Sangha for a long time this is straightforward to me. It make no difference if others agree or not. That's ok.

    Gassho Daizan
    Daizan,

    Perhaps I misunderstood what you had said and I sincerely apologize. However, whether it be perfection or maturity will we ever attain it in this life? My point is simple, I have lived a long life and I know for myself I am neither perfect nor mature about many things. Yet, if I did not take the first step and try I would have never sewn a Rakusu nor completed Jukai. You speak of a desire to ordain, don't let life pass you by while wondering why you were not mature enough to try.

    I will say no more to you concerning this as it is of course none of my business. The decision to ordain or do anything in life is a decision of the individual and I respect that. Sticking my nose into your personal life showed my lack of maturity at age 64 but yet I didn't let it stand in my way of expressing my point of view. I know that in my heart that if I truly wanted something bad enough I would do what I needed to do to obtain it.

    Please understand I was not trying to put you down but lift you up to achieve your goal. I wonder how many Priest in Training can vouch for being mature enough to be one.

    Be well Daizan, I know that you have a lot on your shoulders at this time in your life and I wish you no harm.

    Gassho,
    Heishu


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

  9. #59
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    Hi guys,

    Just wanted to put in my 2 cents, that as usual might be totally wrong.

    I wear the kesa and rakusu because they remind me of practice and the commitment I made to serve all sentient beings. Even if I sew one or someone was gracious enough to give me one, the kesa is not mine and it shall never be.

    The kesa is a symbol that depicts all what's sacred in the universe, all life and how it's interconnected. But at the same time it's just a piece of patchwork cloth. Each piece can be from a different place and time, yet it's tied to other pieces that create reality.

    It has only the value one gives to it, but again, how can you put value on the Buddha?

    Once you wear it you can never take it off. Once you start sewing, you want to keep on sewing. In silence and in trust.

    And then I serve others, putting away the kesa and my needs for a moment.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Gracias Hermano.

    Gassho,

    Shugen


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

    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  10. #60
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    This is a wonderful discussion. Thank you everyone.

    Gassho,
    Joyo

  11. #61
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    When I first wanted to be Buddhist, I wished there had been the option to take the precepts without having to sew a rakusu, mostly out of laziness, but also because I felt it was only an accessory. Perhaps an accessory that could go to my head.

    However, that winter of sewing, studying, and Ango is what made me Buddhist.

    I have spent a lot of time with Krishnamurti, and now Packer, dropping every image. I can understand and practice without the kesa, but the paradox is that I wouldn't understand practice without the kesa, and as so many have said, it is always being worn, always sincere.

    Gassho to all
    迎 Geika

  12. #62
    Hi,

    Just to be clear, Treeleaf will continue to offer the Practice of Sewing and Wearing the Kesa for those who find such a Dharma Gate.

    And we shall continue to ask folks to sew a Rakusu for Jukai (absent some special situation not to, such as in the case of an elderly member with arthritis as sometimes happens). We will continue to ask our folks wishing to Ordain as Novice Priests to sew a Kesa. Also, anyone ... whether taking the Path of Ordination or not ... may sew and wear a Nyoho-e Kesa in that Tradition when receiving permission to do so from a Teacher.

    But I will also recognize the right of the Ordained (and all members), after sewing one, to be such without wearing the visible Kesa or Rakusu. (Neither course of wearing or not wearing makes one "more a real Buddhist" so long as one is seeking to embody and live the Buddha's Teachings) Or sometimes (like me) someone may appear to put it on or take it off at different times (although such is only an appearance, and the True Kesa can neither be put on nor taken off).

    It is also possible that there will be some future category of Zen Training as a Teacher where the Kesa is not involved at all, for certain folks who do not find their Dharma Gate there. Let's see what happens. Let's play it by ear.

    I hope to offer several good Dharma Gates at Treeleaf suited to different folks and their Paths.

    (I hope my "clarification" does not muddle the picture more!)

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - I am reminded very much of the Catholic Nuns, many of whom have taken off the Habit (at least to the eye) or only wear such sometimes ...

    Last edited by Jundo; 08-26-2014 at 03:37 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #63
    I'm deeply thankful for what you are sharing of your thoughts and experiences here.

    Thanks, Kyonin.

    Thanks for what you let me find myself.

    One object can be a symbol, a tool, the whole you and the universe at different times or the same:

    I thought of a stethoscope or a doctor's coat.
    The newbies walk around, proud, hardly knowing how to handle them.
    After years of use, those are tools, can be a burden, are a part of you.
    When used in an emergency, there is no coat that must not get dirty, no stethoscope to boast. Those things do not exist. Only the universe holding its breath and breathing on. Action without awareness of the "symbolic" means involved.

    Gassho,
    Danny
    Last edited by Danny B; 08-26-2014 at 08:52 AM.

  14. #64
    Thank you for this clarification Jundo and I patiently wait in hope for this potential 'future category of Zen training'.

    Just to say - as it is easy to misunderstand each other's words - as a symbol I do perceive the Kesa as a robe of grace.

    Regarding the act of meditative sewing - I spent eight weeks embroidering a small piece of cloth to attach to a photo album for the birth of my first grandchild. During those eight weeks my father lay dying. Tears of sadness and tears of joy mixed with those threads and that piece of cloth was as sacred to me as any kesa or rakusa I may sew. I do not mean by that I will never sew a Kesa.

    We do not necessarily choose our dharma gates - Dogen says as much. And if we are lucky enough to catch that glimpse Taigu writes of who can say when that might come or through what means?

    IMHO - it's really important that a student isn't made to feel a failure - or that they are lacking - or missing something because the Kesa isn't their chosen gate. That is to create some kind of law and that's where tradition can start to exclude and create difference.

    I am sorry for these clumsy words,



    Willow

  15. #65
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    "Regarding the act of meditative sewing - I spent eight weeks embroidering a small piece of cloth to attach to a photo album for the birth of my first grandchild. During those eight weeks my father lay dying. Tears of sadness and tears of joy mixed with those threads and that piece of cloth was as sacred to me as any kesa or rakusa I may sew. "

    Beautiful Willow.

    Gassho,

    Shugen


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

    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  16. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by Heishu View Post
    Daizan,

    Perhaps I misunderstood what you had said and I sincerely apologize. However, whether it be perfection or maturity will we ever attain it in this life? My point is simple, I have lived a long life and I know for myself I am neither perfect nor mature about many things. Yet, if I did not take the first step and try I would have never sewn a Rakusu nor completed Jukai. You speak of a desire to ordain, don't let life pass you by while wondering why you were not mature enough to try.

    I will say no more to you concerning this as it is of course none of my business. The decision to ordain or do anything in life is a decision of the individual and I respect that. Sticking my nose into your personal life showed my lack of maturity at age 64 but yet I didn't let it stand in my way of expressing my point of view. I know that in my heart that if I truly wanted something bad enough I would do what I needed to do to obtain it.

    Please understand I was not trying to put you down but lift you up to achieve your goal. I wonder how many Priest in Training can vouch for being mature enough to be one.

    Be well Daizan, I know that you have a lot on your shoulders at this time in your life and I wish you no harm.

    Gassho,
    Heishu
    Hello Heishu.

    No offence taken at all, I appreciate what you say and this discussion.

    Maturity means different things for different people i guess.

    It is a flower in the sky, but what isn't? I am wary of selective emptiness, which will always be tailored to suit prejudice. I'll have prejudice as long as I'm alive, but it does not have to determine where one thing is empty and another is somehow not. It is always that not-empty thing in my blind spot that runs the show. Everything is empty, everything is a dew drop, a dream, a flash of lightening. Yet this is the life being lived, there is not another non-empty one. For these dream feet, the dream ground is solid enough to walk on, and that is the ordinary ground. So I prefer to drop emptiness talk and just talk about ordinary maturing these days.

    Training to be a priest, to teach, is something I have felt compelled to do for a long, especially when there is so much need around me, and so much malpractice. But there is a sovereignty of the heart that has not been so clear.. It has always been there, but has been obscured. With maturity practice is far more in and from this Heart. When mountains are once again full, the heart can shine.

    Also , With maturity the nature of devotion to the Dharma seems to change. Buddhism is a practice of awakening and ending suffering, and the measure of practice is how I live. When this Heart is open and without fixed idea, life is met skillfully and appropriately. Magic can happen. I want to nurture this practice and pay it forward.. One perception that stayed with me since first learning to sit on a zafu is that there was a certain grandiosity to the Mahayana claims that did not square with the little cliques I was encountering. Zen does not does not need to lose power and depth in order to be of this time and place. It does not mean diluting the dharma into some kind washed out wellbeing movement. The forms a have evolved over centuries as they encounter new times and cultures. It can have more power and depth than ever, and reach out to this time and culture, but it will take a certain adaptive genius in the coming years. ..anyway that's another interesting discussion.

    Gassho

    ever-flawed Daizan

    BTW.. I do not assume being accepted as a formal student by anyone.. just talking about the aspiration over time.
    Last edited by Daizan; 08-26-2014 at 02:33 PM.
    大山

  17. #67
    Senior Member Jakudo's Avatar
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    What a wonderful discussion, thank you all!
    Gassho, Jakudo
    Gassho, Shawn Jakudo Hinton
    It all begins when we say, “I”. Everything that follows is illusion.
    "Even to speak the word Buddha is dragging in the mud soaking wet; Even to say the word Zen is a total embarrassment."
    寂道

  18. #68
    Senior Member Heishu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daizan View Post
    Hello Heishu.

    No offence taken at all, I appreciate what you say and this discussion.

    Maturity means different things for different people i guess.

    It is a flower in the sky, but what isn't? I am wary of selective emptiness, which will always be tailored to suit prejudice. I'll have prejudice as long as I'm alive, but it does not have to determine where one thing is empty and another is somehow not. It is always that not-empty thing in my blind spot that runs the show. Everything is empty, everything is a dew drop, a dream, a flash of lightening. Yet this is the life being lived, there is not another non-empty one. For these dream feet, the dream ground is solid enough to walk on, and that is the ordinary ground. So I prefer to drop emptiness talk and just talk about ordinary maturing these days.

    Training to be a priest, to teach, is something I have felt compelled to do for a long, especially when there is so much need around me, and so much malpractice. But there is a sovereignty of the heart that has not been so clear.. It has always been there, but has been obscured. With maturity practice is far more in and from this Heart. When mountains are once again full, the heart can shine.

    Also , With maturity the nature of devotion to the Dharma seems to change. Buddhism is a practice of awakening and ending suffering, and the measure of practice is how I live. When this Heart is open and without fixed idea, life is met skillfully and appropriately. Magic can happen. I want to nurture this practice and pay it forward.. One perception that stayed with me since first learning to sit on a zafu is that there was a certain grandiosity to the Mahayana claims that did not square with the little cliques I was encountering. Zen does not does not need to lose power and depth in order to be of this time and place. It does not mean diluting the dharma into some kind washed out wellbeing movement. The forms a have evolved over centuries as they encounter new times and cultures. It can have more power and depth than ever, and reach out to this time and culture, but it will take a certain adaptive genius in the coming years. ..anyway that's another interesting discussion.

    Gassho

    ever-flawed Daizan

    BTW.. I do not assume being accepted as a formal student by anyone.. just talking about the aspiration over time.
    Daizan,

    Such wonderful words. You have a gift and I will say no more.

    Gassho,
    Heishu


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

  19. #69
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    I'll roll with it, Jundo. Gassho
    迎 Geika

  20. #70
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    We do not necessarily choose our dharma gates - Dogen says as much. And if we are lucky enough to catch that glimpse Taigu writes of who can say when that might come or through what means?

    IMHO - it's really important that a student isn't made to feel a failure - or that they are lacking - or missing something because the Kesa isn't their chosen gate. That is to create some kind of law and that's where tradition can start to exclude and create difference.
    Dear Willow,

    I don' know about Dharma gates as in my practice there is but one gate called shikantaza as you shave you head and wear the Okesa.

    In my not very humble opinion , students are students . They should be invited to sit 10 years, and throw again ten years, and ten or twenty more years before opening their mouth about the great matter. And I am but a student.

    In this age , everybody has an opinion and is blessed with great understandings before they even try to practice.

    I am nobody to have an opinion about this and that, all I did in my life was to put into practice the teachings received .

    As a teacher I make sure that the tradition is transmitted correctly.

    As to the mysterious and the ineffable of the path, well it is very open to anybody who surrenders. The way does nt exclude anybody, people exclude themselves.

    So you are my guest, Willow!

    Gassho

    Taigu
    Last edited by Taigu; 08-27-2014 at 04:52 AM.
    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.

  21. #71
    Dear Taigu,

    my response was partly in reply to Jundo's considerations. The expression 'dharma gates' was taken from that part of the discussion.

    I have thoughts and questions - but agree - opinions are not of much use - so I would like to change that abbreviation IMHO to IMHT - - in my humble thoughts.

    As to opening my mouth on the 'great matter' (the subject of life and death?) - my age and poor health decree that I do not have forty years grace before I may utter my clumsy thoughts on that matter. I hope you can understand this.

    I appreciate that I am invited to be your guest - I mean that sincerely.

    Gassho

    Willow

  22. #72
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    I have missed this thread (and doubtless other ones!) since returning from retreat. Much to consider, but I would just like to point out that, unless I am mistaken, we traditionally ask that only folks who have taken jukai undertake the sewing of a full kesa. If this has changed please correct me, but I personally would not think it wise to sew a kesa before sewing a rakusu.

    Compared to the issues that have been discussed it is a minor point, but I believe it to be an important one.

    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.

  23. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho View Post
    Hi all,

    I have missed this thread (and doubtless other ones!) since returning from retreat. Much to consider, but I would just like to point out that, unless I am mistaken, we traditionally ask that only folks who have taken jukai undertake the sewing of a full kesa. If this has changed please correct me, but I personally would not think it wise to sew a kesa before sewing a rakusu.

    Compared to the issues that have been discussed it is a minor point, but I believe it to be an important one.

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Hi Dosho,

    Yes, of course, someone who requests to sew a Kesa should have already had the experience of sewing a Rakusu, which means folks who have undertaken Jukai here.

    Thank you for the clarification.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  24. #74
    Hi Dosho,

    thanks for pointing this out; I was refering to the "older posts" quite at the beginning (beautiful making of your kesa, Dosho!) where I came across that.
    Didn't know how else to ask without hurting anyone.
    This is the first time for me to see the teachers disagree (well, maybe the second after offline Shukke tokudo?), and it is hard on me.

    (Change of topic.)
    I've been sitting with this thread, especially with what Yugen wrote.

    So, when I was asking "Watcha wearing?", I got very helpful answers.

    If asking "How can I follow the Buddha's way/realize buddha [by means of clothes]?", did I get this right:
    The finest garment alone will not make me buddha if I am not it.
    The oldest unsewn blanket will not take buddha away from me if I am it.

    For everything inbetween, I have no experience: I know practice in jeans and in blankets. The other things like practice in Rakusu or Kesa, I do not know.

    Gassho,
    Danny

  25. #75
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Dear Danny,

    Don t worry about teachers disagreeing : it is a proof of sanity more than anything else .

    A kesa does n t turn anybody into a Buddha, because YOU ARE BUDDHA you are invited to wear the kesa. Same with zazen, we don t sit to become enlightened , but because we are already enlightened, we sit. Simple as that . When you really get this, daily practice is easy.

    Take great care in jeans and blankets or whatever, always Buddha, always you.

    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.

  26. #76
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Hello,

    Thank you for the lesson.


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

  27. #77


    Gassho,
    Danny

  28. #78
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    This has been a wonderfully informative "Thread" for such a stupid question.
    Gassho
    C

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