I don't know if this message belongs in the Zazen or the Jukai/Rakusu forum, but I'll try here:

I have noticed that there are robes the sensei wears, but also see that there are robes required or recommended for retreats, and that meditation supply shops feature a category called "lay robes". I take that to mean it's optional clothing for any Zen practitioner. Is this correct? Are they just for retreats, or special occasions as well? Are the clothes simply plain versions of yukata/kimono, collars and hakama? Must they be hand stitched entirely?

I'm asking for a few reasons: first, because I have a longtime personal interest in different types of ethnic clothing, and I am curious. Second, because I am reasonably skilled and experienced with sewing and other fiber arts, and am wondering if my skills could be put to good use. (Not for rakusu, as I understand y'all get to enjoy figuring that out for yourselves - which I think is a great concept. It reminds me of a craft fair I read about online recently called "Do It Your Own D*mn Self" :lol: )

Third, if I ever would have a need for these items...they are expensive, and would rather sew them my own d*mn self. Others (particularly in Western countries) are surely in the same boat. (We are the boat, aren't we...)

But don't worry...I won't participate in a jukai simply for the excuse to sew robes or a rakusu :wink: The rakusu look a lot like plain Korean jogakbo, so I'll sew those instead if I feel an overwhelming urge to stitch.