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Thread: Kesa : a few directions

  1. #1
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Kesa : a few directions

    Hi everybody,

    As I am soon about to film the long awaited blockburster "how to sew a kesa", I would like to give a few words of caution. To undertake the sewing of the rakusu and the kesa should not be taken lightly. It is the sole robe of zazen, seen as the body of the Tathagata, flesh, blood, bones and marrow of Buddhas. Not something to toy with. You may start a rakusu if you have the intention to take Jukai and receive the precepts. You may sew a rakusu to have it given to you by a teacher, Jundo, Taigu or another teacher belonging to a real lineage. You may sew a rakusu to offer it, yes, to offer it to somebody who sits and wants to undertake Jukai. But, it is best to do it yourself when you about to receive the precepts. It is seen in our tradition as a necessary step. If you don't want to do those Buddhist things, please abstain.

    The sewing of an Okesa is a real deed of faith, an incredible journey into our own shortcomings and stupidity. We are very exposed along the way and everybody here that did it can testify...The first requirement to sew a kesa is to have a previous experience of sewing a rakusu. Being the sewing teacher, the wardrobe specialist, I don't accept to instruct and help people that don't have any previous experience of sewing a rakusu. Sorry to sound so blunt but it is just very understandable: you have to practice scales and do a certain amount of practice before working on a difficult piece of music... rakusu sewing will teach you method, stitching, patience, humbleness, discipline, ironing, finger bleedind, neck tension, nerve wracking moments and crisis management...The second requirement is to have received the official permission of your teacher. In fact, if you plan not to receive it from Laurel and Hardy ( :wink: ), well it would be nice to send us a written letter showing and proving that you have been granted permission to sew. I don't want guys over there hoping around wrapped up in kesas doing some rabbit non sense...Because I would somehow feel responsible. Making the decision to share openly this process is a big step. Third requirement: a kesa has to be given by a teacher. A kesa which is not bestowed is not a kesa, but just a piece of cloth. So, if you want to receive the kesa, please ask Jundo or Taigu. They will perform over Skype a very simple ceremony to give it to you.

    You may email me or better, ask the questions that come to your mind on this thread. You may also start to get in touch with Jundo and I to ask for permission.

    Thank you for your patience and courage.

    gassho


    Taigu

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui Kyrillos's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa : a few directions

    Dear Rev. Brother Taigu,

    Thank you for this open and honest presentation. I am happy that even in our "free-wheeling" form in Treeleaf, we do still have some traditional aspects like the sewing of the rakusu, and now the kesa along with our annual Jukai ceremony and the Zazenkai. It's nice to be able to participate in both wasy...as one way.

    That being said, I think I have quailified for the 1st requirement, even as poorly as my Rakusu was done. So, I move on to the 2nd requirement where I ask for permission to sew the Kesa with the intention of receiving the same from my Brothers and Teachers: which I so do.

    Gassho,

    Seishin Kyrill

  3. #3
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa : a few directions

    A warm welcome to you. Seishin Kyrill.

    gassho


    Taigu

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa : a few directions

    Hi Taigu,

    I dislike using the word "assume" since nothing should ever be assumed, but can I feel "assured" that I have permission from yourself (and Jundo!) to be sewing the kesa? Might seem a little late to ask now, but I do like to have all my paperwork in order.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  5. #5
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa : a few directions

    Of course, Dosho, you have been on this raft for a long time!

    gassho


    Taigu

  6. #6

    Re: Kesa : a few directions

    Hiyas
    Great post and replies.

    Gassho
    Shohei

  7. #7

    Re: Kesa : a few directions

    Thank you for this post Taigu. I do not know why, but it has set me at ease.

    Gassho,
    Joshin

  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa : a few directions

    Is this a now or never situation or will it be available at another time?

    Ron

  9. #9
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa : a few directions

    Ron,

    it will always be available...when you want to join, you will just have to ask for permission and you will be given access to the course and sewing instructions and vids.

    gassho

    Taigu

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa : a few directions

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Ron,

    it is always be available...when you want to join, you will just have to ask for permission and you will be given access to the course and sewing instructions and vids.

    gassho

    Taigu
    Thank you,

    Ron

  11. #11
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa : a few directions

    Dear Taigu,

    I hope you are well. I just have a question about the material for sewing the Okesa: is cotton acceptable to you, as well as linen? I would like to use an organic material. Some material that has respect for the planet woven into its very threads...

    Deep bows,

    Soen (in a sunny Dublin, for a change!)

  12. #12
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa : a few directions

    Hi Soen,

    Cotton is perfectly acceptable, pick up a very light fabric, the kind you can see through when you look at it in the sunlight. A very good reason for this, when you have to sew through 8 or 10 layers...the needle might not go in the direction you intend and the task is really difficult. You could look at the rakusu sewing instructions and thread for all the necessary instructions rgarding choice of material and color. If I were you, I would wait until I post the first guidelines...


    gassho


    Taigu

  13. #13

    Re: Kesa : a few directions

    Taigu i just wanted to ask. when do we start the sewing and what if any is the desired date to complete the kesa? even though i feel there is no real completion of anything since nothing is ever perfect and that makes it perfectly imperfect, which is quite perfect really.

    I know this is a stupid question but one i still felt the need to ask.

    Gassho, Dojin.

  14. #14
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Kesa : a few directions

    Dojin,

    There is no stupid question...

    In the tradition, a kesa should be completed within a few days...But these days, busy bees and dads cannot find so much space and time...So, it really depends, it can vary between a month and a few months. No rules. Just, don't drag it if you can help it, once started, finish it asap, sewing everyday a bit if you can. I hope this helps.

    gassho


    Taigu

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