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Thread: Rakusu, Kesa?

  1. #1

    Rakusu, Kesa?

    Hi Jundo.
    Could you recommend some literature on the Rakusu or Kesa? Don't really know much about them.

    Gassho

    Will

  2. #2

    rakusu or kesa

    Hello Will:
    Until Jundo gets here, I'll say that the rakusu is the bib or the mini-skirt form and kesa is the apron or the floor length gown form of the 'buddha's robe.' Along with my name, Matsuoka Roshi gave me a wagasa--which I understood to be the lay person's rakusu. My wagasa was stolen from my car along with everything else I had in it at the time....but I still have the beautiful calligraphy Matsuoka Roshi gave me of my favorite of his quotes "Ichi nichi kore ko jitsu" "every day a happy day"
    Another of his favorite expressions was 'just sit, every day, every day.'
    I think 'every day every day' meant each and every day.
    Perhaps Jundo can add wagasa to the explanation of rakusu and kesa?
    Thank you!

    gassho
    keishin

  3. #3
    Thanks Keishin

    Gassho

  4. #4
    This page explains the different types of kesa of different schools of Buddhism - http://www.tctv.ne.jp/tobifudo/newmon/b ... /kesa.html

    Some interesting info on the development of the kesa here - http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma10/robe.html

    In some schools of Buddhism the wearing of the kesa and it's various forms has come to signify ranks and grades and such - much like the coloured lanyards worn in Boy Scouts troops. Certain colours and numbers of panels have come to represent different levels of attainment and rank.

    The wagesa, hangesa and origojõ were copied from the Jesuit priests.

    Gassho

  5. #5
    Thanks Jun and thanks for the links.

    Gassho

  6. #6
    Don't know if just my computer, but the second one seems to be not working.

    Gassho

  7. #7
    I think it may be your computer. I saw that one, quite fascinating, but I think I'll stick with my trenchcoat.

  8. #8

    rakusu kesa

    Hello Jun:
    Thank you for the links to pictures and article, both very nice. My wagasa looked most similar to the one on the far right--it had a long stringy cord, but I remember it attaching a little higher up from the bottom...It had the seal/symbol of both head temples, Eihei-ji and Soji-ji (one is a flowering plum I believe) and the other looks like a star-fish, but I believe is the dharma wheel...Jundo, can you clarify?

    Jun said " .....copied from the Jesuit priests" Were there Jesuits studying buddhism in Japan?

    gassho
    keishin

  9. #9
    It had the seal/symbol of both head temples, Eihei-ji and Soji-ji (one is a flowering plum I believe) and the other looks like a star-fish, but I believe is the dharma wheel...
    One crest is that of the Toyotomi family, which is also used by Koyasan Shingon-shu - the paulownia (kiri). The other isn't the Dharma wheel. It's a gentian (rindõ).

    Jun said " .....copied from the Jesuit priests" Were there Jesuits studying Buddhism in Japan?
    No. The Portuguese were attempting to convert the Japanese to Christianity. The Jesuits considered Buddhism a barbaric folk-religion that needed to be purged in the name of "God." The idea of the wagesa was copied from the Jesuit priest Christian vestments.

    Will, that link is working in both Firefox and Safari.

    Gassho

  10. #10
    Thank you, Jun. Great interesting information in those links. I learned some things I'd never heard.





    The crest for Eiheiji, at the top, is a 'gentian' flower, and Sojiji at the bottom is a pauloenia. (If you want me to look into why those particular flowers, I will do so. All I can say is that every group in Japan has its own flower, the Imperial Family being the Chrysanthemum.). The two crests comboned, slightly overlapping, is the current emblem of the Soto school.

    In my understanding, in Japan, Wagesa is given to active parishioners of a particular Soto temple, not all of whom have received Jukai. It is also given to some folks who have received Jukai in Japan. It is a simpler item (in construction and cost) them the Rakusu. However, the Rakusu can be received if a priest is willing to do the calligraphy on the back (not needed for the Wagesa). Wagesa is not favored among western Zen centers. Lay Rakusu are usually smaller in size than ordained Rakusu. Both may have the ring, also small in circumference for a lay Rakusu. People who receive Jukai can also were a Kesa, but it is a garment much harder to handle for lay folks.

    Nishijima did a little talk on Kesa (also called Kashaya) recently ... with some interesting comments.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/sit-a-long/arch ... -kesa.html

    Let me just say that, in Dogen Zenji's view, a Kesa is just a piece of cloth ... yet it covers the whole universe, and is all the Buddhas and the teaching of the Buddha ...

    My friend, Pierre Turlur, who is something of our Kesa expert in the Sangha (we have two who are experienced in the sewing) tells this story ...

    Originally, it is said that one day the Buddha was peacefully walking in the country with Ananda. All around them were valleys and fields, clouds and sky, air and mists, and birds, and beasts. Ananda asked the Buddha : “ we need a special garment that will show to the rest of the world that we are your disciples”. With a wave of his hand, Buddha indicated nature all around them and said : “Our garment will be like this”. Buddha was just pointing to the paddy fields, so Ananda thought that he meant the paddy fields, the rice fields. Buddha was just pointing to the whole universe, formless, ever changing. Ananda thought he meant the kesa should look like the paddy fields. Shakyamuni Buddha had a complete free mind, an open mind. He could embrace the whole view with a single glance, he did not choose, did not fix any boundaries, a consciousness without a single choice, no judgement, just the recognition of things as they are. It is said that when Shakyamuni saw the first robe, he was filled with joy and asked every single monk to wear it.
    Gassho, Jundo

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jun
    One crest is that of the Toyotomi family, which is also used by Koyasan Shingon-shu - the paulownia (kiri). The other isn't the Dharma wheel. It's a gentian (rindõ).
    Thank you, Jun, for more great information. Maybe I will plant both in the Treeleaf garden!

    As to the Jesuits ... yes, relations were not too cordial in the 17th century. But there have been some important modern exceptions, some in Japan who really went deeply into Zen practice.

    http://www.sotozen-net.or.jp/kokusai/fr ... 1/feat.htm

    It is an interesting read, and I encourage everyone to look at it. This fellow seems to be "just sitting", as opposed to Koan practice (my impression was that most of the Jesuits had gone more for Koan Practice).

    Gassho, Jundo

  12. #12
    Hello,

    Jundo said,
    Thank you, Jun. Great interesting information in those links. I learned some things I'd never heard.
    I'm not sure as to the authenticity of some of what was stated there. It sounds about right though.

    As to the Jesuits ... yes, relations were not too cordial in the 17th century. But there have been some important modern exceptions, some in Japan who really went deeply into Zen practice.

    http://www.sotozen-net.or.jp/kokusai/fr ... 1/feat.htm

    It is an interesting read, and I encourage everyone to look at it. This fellow seems to be "just sitting", as opposed to Koan practice (my impression was that most of the Jesuits had gone more for Koan Practice).
    Thanks Jundo, that was an interesting read.

    Pierre Turlur is making nyohoe kesa isn't he?

    Gassho

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Jun

    Pierre Turlur is making nyohoe kesa isn't he?

    Gassho
    Yes, that is right. I am hoping that he will help us with our Rakusu sewing for Jukai at Treeleaf ...

    http://nyohoekesa.blogspot.com/

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by Jun

    Pierre Turlur is making nyohoe kesa isn't he?

    Gassho
    Yes, that is right. I am hoping that he will help us with our Rakusu sewing for Jukai at Treeleaf ...

    http://nyohoekesa.blogspot.com/
    Interesting Jundõ, thank you for the link to that blog.

    Gassho

  15. #15

    Huh?

    Christian Zen
    :?:

    How does one reconcile the belief in fictional man-made supernatural beings with Buddhism?

  16. #16
    For anyone inexperienced with the Kesa who would like to know a little more about it. I found this website and will likely post more.

    Gassho Will

    Perhaps I should post it as a topic.

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