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Thread: Kesa O kesa

  1. #1

    Kesa O kesa

    Hi everybody!

    We talked with Jundo about the possibility to record videos about sewing a seven stripes kesa. We thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to all, especially people who received the precepts. Kesa is not only for monks, in fact, as a rule, Dogen used to ask lay people sitting in Koshoji or Eiheiji to wear a kesa. Kesa is the robe of sitting-zen, not a clergy thing. It is the robe of as-it-is-ness, of "nothing special". Of course, Japanese Buddhism uses the robe as a way to show a sense of hierarchy these days, black for monks, brown for teachers, multicoloured for high ranked abbots and so forth...Nothing to do with the original tradition of the robe made of rags :roll: . In Nyohoe sewing style, in Sawaki Kodo school, people who sit are Buddha, Buddha wears a kesa. That simple. What can I say? i would be so glad to share with you this tradition. I could also put a bit of my broken English into good use and say a bit more about the two chapters of shobogenzo which are about the robe. But the main theme would be: hands on and needle work. Would you like to join? be part of this new venture?

    Take great care of yourself
    and of course
    study the self
    forget the self
    let all things preach the truth
    and swing, rock and roll,wash the dishes, wash the wishes and enjoy just being

    The froooooooooooooooooooooo-zen (frog-zen?) Taigu

  2. #2

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Hi Rev. Taigu, I would be really interested in learning how to sew the kesa. I'm so glad you're involved in our sangha.

  3. #3
    Treeleaf Unsui Shohei's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Hi Taigu!
    Yes please!! (and second what Shinkai said too)
    Ive been working away on one for a bit and will be finishing soon. I would love to sew another with all of you (of course the one im sewing now im sewing with all of you too...)

    Gassho, Shohei

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Hey Rev,

    Count me in! And ditto what the others have said, especially Shohei, who has been my Rev. Taigu at more than a couple points along the way!

    Gassho,
    Dosho

    Attached files

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Shohei's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa O kesa

    ^^Dosho!! that is amazing progress! looks awesome!
    Gassho, Shohei!

  6. #6

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    I'd be interested too, although I might not be able to start on one until Spring semester is over.


    Bill

  7. #7

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Quote Originally Posted by DontKnow
    I'd be interested too, although I might not be able to start on one until Spring semester is over.


    Bill
    I am in the same boat, after my winter/spring quarter, which starts tomorrow.

    Gassho, Juko

  8. #8

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Hi.

    Wonderful idea.
    We here (fugen and koki) would be delighted to be part of this.
    And if we start now, maybe we would have it finished for next year's jukai :roll: :wink:

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen & Koki

  9. #9

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    me too! me too!
    I'm actually pretty good with a sewing machine... I don't get to use it, do I?

  10. #10

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Thank you all for your warm answers.

    Scott, what a brilliant work! But I have a question, how did you sew the vertical stripes together? Did you use the same method as for sewing the three pieces of each stripe? I hkind of wonder because I don t see the same pattern. You may send me another pic, if you wish.

    Jundo, thank you so much for your support and great Dharma brotherhood.


    gassho


    Taigu

  11. #11
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Thanks Taigu!

    When I took the picture I'd just finished five of the stripes and I thought I'd see how everything looked when I laid them side by side. After many hours of working with each stripe individually it was nice to see them together, but none of them are stitched together quite yet.

    Gassho,
    Scott (Dosho)

  12. #12

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Hi.

    We had an question, will there be an possibility to include the ring on this one?
    And whats the difference ringwise between the 5-model and the 7-model?

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  13. #13

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Hello all,

    I'm definitely onboard! I look forward to starting this new adventure with you all.

    Gassho,
    Kelly-Jinmei

  14. #14

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Dearest Big Bear,

    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (so what response were you expecting, you silly Bear!?)

    gassho,
    Jinho
    sew, sew, sew.............

  15. #15

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Thank you all!!! Thank you Jinho and Jinmei !!!

    Hi Fugen, it is not possible to include a ring for the seven stripes kesa. And to cut a long story short the five stripes rakusu is for travelling, working, zazen in hot summers, or just zazen. You may find a big five stripes too but the big seven stripes kesa is pretty much "standard". Monk and lay people wear it for zazen, it is as close as it can be to the original kesa of Shakyamuni made by Ananda ( the rakusu is a smaller version of this kesa). If you want to, you may read den e or kesa kudoku the two chapters of Shobogenzo that Dogen writes about the kesa, its significance, history and symbolism (Nishijima-Cross translation on line, volume 1). People may also wear a kesa of nine, eleven, thriteen, fifteen up to twenty fives stripes and beyond...Seven strips seems to me a task challenging enough for our patience and skill.
    I hope this helps.

    gassho

    Taigu

  16. #16

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    I would be very happy to work on a kesa. I got so much more than I expected out of sewing the rakusu for jukai, and it would be great to keep on sewing. So, yes, Rev. Taigu, you can count me in!
    Gassho,
    Monsho.

  17. #17

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Hi All,

    I am going to ask that folks who wear a Kesa have undertaken Jukai already, here or somewhere. Not that the door is ever closed, but it is an important time of "self-reflection" (in a Buddhist way) before one takes to wearing one. No "exclusivity" to it, or seniority, as much as that doing so is a commitment to oneself and service that takes a bit of study and preparation. In fact, it is more a symbol of placing oneself below, or at the service of others, than anything.

    'Tis precisely the same with a Rakusu ... in fact, a Rakusu is a Kesa. .

    Gassho, Jundo

  18. #18

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Well guys I will give it my best shot, although as Taigu says

    Seven strips seems to me a task challenging enough for our patience and skill.
    this fills me with some trepidation as sewing my rakusu really did test all of the above

    Kindest regards

    Jools (Shindo)

  19. #19
    Member miheco's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Dear Taigu, I have decided to join with my fellow Treeleafers for another adventure of "Sew along with Taigu". So count me in please. My right hand, which developed a mind of its own after a surgery 10 years ago, is well rehearsed after our rakusu project. I had to un-stitch and re-sew several times, to prevent the rakasu from becoming trapezoidal in shape. ;-). Thank you.

    Gassho,
    Jintai

  20. #20

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    I would love to sew a Kesa. I really enjoyed the sewing-practice of making the rakusu. Plus, it is an excuse to spend more quality time with Taigu and my fellow sangha members

    Gassho,
    Jenny (Joshin)

  21. #21

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Thank you to all of you. A special thank you-bravo to Jintai.
    Yes, sewing the kesa should only be for people who received the precepts.
    I will get things ready for the summer, which means a lot of preparation before shooting the videos because I need to be able to show you all the stages ...
    Anyway, thank you to be on this boat.

    gassho

    Taigu

  22. #22
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Taigu et al,
    I'll be honored to join you... timing for the summer would be just right.

    Gassho,
    Alex (Yugen)

  23. #23

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Hi All,

    I am going to ask that folks who wear a Kesa have undertaken Jukai already, here or somewhere. Not that the door is ever closed, but it is an important time of "self-reflection" (in a Buddhist way) before one takes to wearing one. No "exclusivity" to it, or seniority, as much as that doing so is a commitment to oneself and service that takes a bit of study and preparation. In fact, it is more a symbol of placing oneself below, or at the service of others, than anything.

    'Tis precisely the same with a Rakusu ... in fact, a Rakusu is a Kesa. .

    Gassho, Jundo
    Hi.

    And with that you mean we can't take it again or not participate in the ceremony or what?

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  24. #24

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Hi All,

    I am going to ask that folks who wear a Kesa have undertaken Jukai already, here or somewhere. Not that the door is ever closed, but it is an important time of "self-reflection" (in a Buddhist way) before one takes to wearing one. No "exclusivity" to it, or seniority, as much as that doing so is a commitment to oneself and service that takes a bit of study and preparation. In fact, it is more a symbol of placing oneself below, or at the service of others, than anything.

    'Tis precisely the same with a Rakusu ... in fact, a Rakusu is a Kesa. .

    Gassho, Jundo
    Hi.

    And with that you mean we can't take it again or not participate in the ceremony or what?

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen
    Hi Fugen.

    Folks can take Jukai any number of times. No limit. I have undertaken Jukai 4 or 5 times. Or once is enough.

    Probably I would wave the sewing "requirement" for folks "re-taking" ... but folks can sew again too if they wish.

    But truly, each instant you seek in your heart not to do harm ... the Jukai is taken. Gassho, J

  25. #25

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    i think i will try to saw the kesa hopefully it will come out as perfectly imperfect as my rakusu

    as for taking jukai again i dont know if i will have the time to sit another retreat with the work and all but i wouldnt mind studying and taking it again.

    Gassho, Dojin.

  26. #26

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Quote Originally Posted by miheco
    I had to un-stitch and re-sew several times, to prevent the rakasu from becoming trapezoidal in shape. ;-). Thank you.

    Gassho,
    Jintai
    Hi,

    Ironing is great for squaring things up. I somehow had this big wave in one seam of my rakusu and was about to re-sew when I remembered my own advice! So I just pulled it as I steam-ironed it and that puppy straightened right out. Another way to steam things square is to pin them to the right shape onto something firm and then iron (but it must be something that won't melt under the steam). On second thought, maybe this isn't such a good idea (it is what they do for squaring needlepoint pieces).

    gassho,
    rowan
    who is NOT senile......really.......

  27. #27

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Dear Taigu,

    I am about to have enough time available to start sewing a kesa. I looked at the pattern pdf we had for the rakusu we made, but it did not contain the info about patterns for the kesa. Is this posted somewhere that I am missing?

    Many thanks for your help with our rakusu sewing,

    Bill


    PS--Dirk, if you read this, same question: where did you get the pattern?

  28. #28
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Hey Bill,

    Shohei (aka Dirk) and I have both been working on kesas from directions Taigu provided on his blog:

    http://nyohoekesa.blogspot.com

    Just go through the archives and it will take you through the process step by step.

    I also ordered a copy of the original Katgiri instructions from the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center which is very cool.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  29. #29

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Hi everybody,



    They are two schools for sewing the nyoho-e kesa. One of them is Sawaki's school which I am very familiar with, the other one, just as good, is the one you'll find through Katagiri's lineage. Both have a slight different approach to measurements and various details. Both are valid but you cannot mix them. One way is to order the book from Minnesota Zen Center, yeah a cool book, the other way is to put up with my messy blog and very dodgy instructions. Now, I will be back to France in the summer and will bring back all the necessary kesa literature I left behind. Meanwhile, you can always ask Dirk (Shohei) or me, and we could help you. Don't rush it, if I may say. And don't hesitate to get in touch with me, anytime. I will do my best to help. I would like to make a kesa sewing video soon. You will be amazed how easy is the making of a kesa compared to a rakusu. Of course it takes ages. Just like you and me. Ages... and it all goes so fast! :wink:

    Take care


    taigu

  30. #30
    Treeleaf Unsui Shohei's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Hi Bill! Sorry for not getting back to you right off, i have had my head in my @ss for abit now.
    Exactly what Dosho and Taigu said! I followed Taigu's wonderful blog for the instructions plus pestered Taigu when i got scared. It took a day or two to work out and make sure i had worked out the measurements correctly and then just a quick 6 months Actually if i were diligent as i should have been i might have taken 3 months or less but life is funny that way

    Any who I have also ordered the Katagiri instructions for my own informational purposes and as Taigu said equally fine instructions. I made the mistake when sewing my rakusu of inadvertently mixing the two methods... i used Katagiri pattern and Taigu's measurements (just as he warned to be careful of doing ops: ) and it worked out but...

    In closing, I would sit tight and follow the method that Taigu teaches as he is a great teacher and his help is invaluable! I will gladly offer any help or if nothing else a good example of what NOT to do if you so desire (that goes for the lot of ya's too btw).

    I shared a photo(many thanks to my ever-so-patient wife ) with a Taigu and Dosho both an was hesitant to post it but wth... Here is a pic of me wearing the Kesa, its not at all perfect and i whole take responsibility for it - the instructions were sound... i'm not always so!




    fyi -im now sitting on that poor old quilt rather than my zabuton that i made due to its lumpiness and giving me poor sitting form.
    also notice the kesa is touching the floor there... ermmm not so good, my bad ops:

    Gassho, Shohei

  31. #31
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Yes, no mixing, just like teachers! I do find the Katagiri book helpful for the illustrations since I am a visual person and like diagrams, but all my measurements and methods of assembly are from Taigu's blog.

  32. #32

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Hi.

    I would love to start on one.
    Shall we wait for Taigu's video or how should we proceed?

    Mtfbwy
    Tb

  33. #33

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Great picture Shohei! You should release your picturs when you are standing, thery are wonderful. Just a smal detail when you sit with the kesa: make sure the right hand corner does not fall betweeen the legs it should reach and cover the left knee, in order to do that, once sitted, you have to pull the from right to left. And also make sure you are not sitting on it. Look at this picture and notice how the kesa is sitting on both knees with the corner overlaping the left knee.
    But, please, share with us your other pictures.


    gassho


    Taigu

    Attached files

  34. #34
    Myoshin
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    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Well I guess I better get ready to start the Rakusu before I move onto the the Kesa!

    Thank you Taigu for doing this. I watched a few of your Rakusu videos and they seem easy to follow and fun.

    Gassho,

    Kyle

  35. #35
    Treeleaf Unsui Shohei's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa O kesa

    I will post those other pictures they are a tad dark at the top. but no matter. Thank you for the pointer on the placement of where the bottom meets! I will try that tonight. the standing ones should also be a lesson in what not to do too Its a learning process for sure but i keep at it nightly every sitting!

    here is the back standing... and crooked. tough to get just so...well for this cat any ways


    front


    I have to laugh at theses abit i look a tad...stunned but i swear its lack of sleep!

    Gassho, Shohei

  36. #36

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Hi, Kyle.

    Yes, Taigu makes the rakusu easy to understand. I had no problems with the instructions (but many problems getting things straight!).

    Shohei, Great pictures!

    Shohei, Dosho, and/or Taigu:
    I'm sure I'm just dense, but I've read Taigu's blog and I don't find the dimensions of the pieces. Looking at pictures, the okesa looks like a rakusu only bigger, but I'm not sure how to extrapolate from the sizes I used for the rakusu.
    What am I missing? I know, I know, nothing is missing . . .

    Many thanks,
    Bill

  37. #37
    Treeleaf Unsui Shohei's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa O kesa

    well with a bit of reading i found the key points, there are constants ... the en is 4cm. the yo is 6cm. this you know for sure.
    you also know your own personal measure (i went with the chu (Average of the two following measures), nobechu (elbow to fingertip) is to large and nigirichu(elbo to folded knuckle) too small. Then you do the measurement math CHU x 3 for height and CHU x 5 width- all this as per Taigus blog!!
    so take the sum of the constants (yo and en) for width away from the total of your width and then divide that number by 7. the number that gives you is your width of the the panels across. This is also the height of the small dankyaku's jo . w00t now another constant.

    next you know how many yo and en there are width and heighth wise. now you also know the height of the small dankyaku's jo. once you know that you take the sum of the knowns(en, yo and snall dankyaku jo)away and divide by 2 to get the size of the large dankyaku's jo. Of course this is ALL finished and doesnt include the xtras you need for making the yo, the couple of centimetres needed to fold over to hide the rough bits etc etc. This process i took the time and drew out all my measurements after working them out so i could "See" them in action. Also - i rounded off by .5cm that .5 adds up quick if you have a mm capable ruler of good quality... id not round off next time around... i messed up a min. of 3.5cm wide and 1.5cm high... plus regular mishaps that happen.

    This mess above is just to get your numbers worked out. I think Taigu has a much better way to present and show the information so id wait for the videos and the material he spoke of earlier.

    here is a pic of my paper i worked off dont use it for shit its flawed!! just to illustrate my silly way to work.


    note:I photoshopped out my lables that were all over the place and didnt do a very good scan just an fyi thing

    Gassho, Shohei

  38. #38

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Thanks, Dirk.

    I didn't mean for you to have to go to that much trouble . . . now that you did, I appreciate it. I'll get my shit together this week and do some homework on this.

    Gassho,
    BIll

  39. #39
    Treeleaf Unsui Shohei's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Hiya Bill
    Oh you see i really enjoy doing so! Seriously! Im quite glad to share my mishaps and any thing I can, if it helps. you can shoot any questions you feel comfortable with this guy trying to answer, i promise to pass it to a much brighter person if i have doubts. my email is available through the forum thingy

    Gassho, Shohei

  40. #40

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Hi everybody,

    As you may all know, I left my precious books and instructions in France. Just the time to get them back this summer and we will be making this video. Meanwhile, you can always ask me what you want, and if I can answer, I will.

    Thank you so much Shohei for the wonderful dedication and enthusiasm !

    Gassho

    Taigu

  41. #41

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Thanks Taigu,

    I figured out what I was doing wrong . . . I hadn't dug far enough back on your blog. I see that all of the pattern/dimension guidelines are there. I just wasn't going back into the archives (thanks Dosho).

    Thanks,
    Bill

  42. #42

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Standby for a very BIG announcement regarding Rev. Taigu in the next days ... although it actually only recognizes what has been true for a long time! 8)

    Gassho, Jundo (building the suspence)

  43. #43
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Quote Originally Posted by Eika
    Thanks Taigu,

    I figured out what I was doing wrong . . . I hadn't dug far enough back on your blog. I see that all of the pattern/dimension guidelines are there. I just wasn't going back into the archives (thanks Dosho).

    Thanks,
    Bill
    Hey Bill,

    I did the exact same thing when I first looked at the blog...thought I must be blind! I'm just glad I could be of service. I can't offer the thorough explanation you'd get from Taigu or Shohei, but as someone right smack in the middle I can always share some tidbits on the process. For awhile at least, it just feels like you are making a rakusu for the Green Giant vegatable dude!

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  44. #44

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Hi Dosho,
    Yeah, I figured all the measurements out tonight . . . wasn't too bad once I knew where to look. I'll post some pictures as I go; I'd love to see some pictures of yours. The pictures of Dirk's in-progress are helpful for me as I'm fairly visual when it comes to assembling things.

    Thanks and gassho,
    Bill

  45. #45
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Hey Bill (and all),

    Here are some pictures I took of my kesa project after joining the first two stripes. Now I am off to pin the third and begin sewing again! I think the part I just finished is the hardest so far since there is a lot more material to work with than the rakusu and I found working with so much extra to be difficult. There will be more added, but I think I developed some techniques that should help. The only thing I wasn't sure of was how to align the two stripes but after some advice from Shohei I forged ahead.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

    Attached files

  46. #46

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Great Dosho, great!

    gassho


    Taigu

  47. #47

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Thanks, Dosho. Looks great! I'm starting on mine as we speak. . . washing, ironing, etc.
    I'll post pictures as soon as there is anything recognizable to post.

    Eika

  48. #48
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa O kesa

    I too would be interested in learning. But I can't sew to save my life so what a grand adventure it will be. : )

    Dave

  49. #49

    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Hi ZenDave,

    Great to hear from you here! Jundo wishes the kesa to be for people who have received the precepts. You could always get ready for the next precept ceremony and start sewing a rakusu using our on line sewing videos!

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... kusu&hl=en

    Yes, Eika, that's great to have you on board!

    Gassho

    Taigu

  50. #50
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa O kesa

    Yeah, I figured it would be best to try my hand at the rakusu first. But thank you for informing me about the kesa. That was not something I was aware of. I thought it was simply the more traditional design. I am considering the precepts as well, but definitely want to spend more time experiencing before making a decision.

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