The great voice of the teacher comes in many ways...

Eika writes:

Some teachers say that the 4 Noble Truths are the essence of Buddhism. Some say compassion is the essence. I was drawn to Zen because it stressed that doing meditation was the essence. Not thinking of rules or philosophies, but doing. Thinking about sewing or wearing the kesa is just that, thinking (in itself a form of doing, but trickier), but doing the rakusu or kesa is a different matter entirely. When the rakusu or kesa is practiced, it is not a thing or an idea (as some of the comments above suggest) but a form of doing that is unique to Zen. That is why I do it. Not to be more "authentic" or Japanese (as if that is possible for a Tennessean). And the more I do this, the more it reveals itself to be the same as sitting. As Jiyu Kennet Roshi stressed, "one cannot split enlightenment."

It is a bit like Nishijima Roshi's views on the 4 philosophies. We can err by idealizing Zen practices, that is, thinking about them as abstract concepts and philosophies. We can err by taking a materialist approach that says that Zen practices are meaninglessly empty of anything we don't bring to them. We can find a middle path between these that avoids conceptualizing these practices without abandoning them, or at least giving them a fair shake before moving on.

So, my take is that abandoning something before even doing it is a bit like my kids saying they don't like asparagus before they even taste it. But, if after trying it a while you don't perceive it as being important to your practice, drop it and move on. I would also add that by "fair shake" I mean something a bit more long-term than most people might think. A year is maybe what I'm thinking. What's the hurry anyway?

Gassho to everyone,

PS--I have to remind myself too that we gain nothing from any of these things and to not evaluate practices by whether or not I get something out of it.
Something I have to get off my chest...

The sewing thread is a desert. How many of you are taking Jukai? How many?!!!

Do you think you can do without this bib-rakusu-thing and do it YOUR way?

How many guys out there getting ready for jukai and not doing what is requested?

Well, Jukai means to surrender to BUDDHA's way.And the kesa is Buddha's body. And Buddha's body is wraped in the kesa. Kesa and Samadhi seen as one. Even today. Even now. It is not a Japanese thing, something cultural you can get rid of.

If you want to practice as a lay person, it is OK, Perfect. You don't need a kesa because this boundless life is already it.

If you want to take jukai, it is a different ballgame. It starts with needle and thread, not just wordy threads, and lots of work, struggle...and joy.Perry, Don the diligent, Cyril, Jikyo ( a sweet friend I have met without meeting countless times), Joe, Taylor ( wonderful Taylor, wonderful), Sylvie (great work, sweetheart), Richard the generous, Peter, Nigel, Dday, Chris are OUR teachers. Boddhisatvas. They just do it. No chat-talk, just the journey into a world that nobody can fathom.

If you guys want me to do the calligraphy on the back of your rakusu, I'll do it, but you will have to send your rakusu to me. I will do it on the back of it. Making the ink , getting the seals ready and thinking of each of you, between a one or two cup of tea.

As far as the other guys are concerned, well, I can only speak for myself...In my clouded eyes, they are doing it selfishly wrong where they could take the opportunity to surrender the self. The fact they resist and persist is an obvious sign. You can say it is tough, not fair, throw criticism at me ( instead of looking at your own issues...). Treeleaf is not a salon to discuss exciting issues, try to talk philosophically and give one's opinion about this and that. It is a practice place. Sitting and sewing.

Please reflect. Sit and reflect. Backward step.