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Thread: general zencraft

  1. #1
    Senior Member Sydney's Avatar
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    general zencraft

    I am attempting to cultivate my ties to Treeleaf, something I've made more difficult than need be for a while now (but sometimes complicating my life is just what I do, so I'm not having a panic attack over it).

    Fear of my tendency toward pride in intellectualism tends to interfere with my forum participation, although I'm working on it (slowly).

    But on some consideration, I've thought of little things I can do that are meaningful and should help. For example, I've never found a satisfactory way to maintain a copy of the chant book, so I've been working on crafting one by hand. Good ol' pencil on unlined paper, like when I was a kid. It speaks to me.

    Having crafted my zafu and zabuton by hand, I know that this sort of effort can continue to touch me as I sit even after years of use.

    I confess to feeling intimidated by the prospect of sewing a proper rakusu, but maybe a scary undertaking like that could be incorporated in small chunks into daily practice.

    Just sharing some of what's on my mind at the moment. Maybe some bit of it will resonate with someone else out there.

  2. #2
    disastermouse
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    Re: general zencraft

    Quote Originally Posted by Sydney
    I am attempting to cultivate my ties to Treeleaf, something I've made more difficult than need be for a while now (but sometimes complicating my life is just what I do, so I'm not having a panic attack over it).

    Fear of my tendency toward pride in intellectualism tends to interfere with my forum participation, although I'm working on it (slowly).

    But on some consideration, I've thought of little things I can do that are meaningful and should help. For example, I've never found a satisfactory way to maintain a copy of the chant book, so I've been working on crafting one by hand. Good ol' pencil on unlined paper, like when I was a kid. It speaks to me.

    Having crafted my zafu and zabuton by hand, I know that this sort of effort can continue to touch me as I sit even after years of use.

    I confess to feeling intimidated by the prospect of sewing a proper rakusu, but maybe a scary undertaking like that could be incorporated in small chunks into daily practice.

    Just sharing some of what's on my mind at the moment. Maybe some bit of it will resonate with someone else out there.
    I too am about to embark on sewing a rakasu, and it scares the shit out of me.

  3. #3

    Re: general zencraft

    Hi Sydney. Thanks for posting. I like your idea of a hand-written chant book and might just steal it. :wink:

    Quote Originally Posted by Sydney
    I am attempting to cultivate my ties to Treeleaf, something I've made more difficult than need be for a while now (but sometimes complicating my life is just what I do, so I'm not having a panic attack over it).

    Fear of my tendency toward pride in intellectualism tends to interfere with my forum participation, although I'm working on it (slowly).
    Do not fear! If you promise to katsu me for pride in intellectualism, I'll promise to katsu you!

  4. #4

    Re: general zencraft

    I liked writing the liturgy by hand. I wrote it in a journal, and I use the journal when chanting the heart sutra during weekly zazenkai for instance. I think it makes it more personal.

    Sewing the rakusu is really an amazing process. I've never sewn first of all .. well maybe a little as a kid, but nothing like this. The next thing you know, my wife are hunting for fabric and a sewing kit. lol From my personal experience, I would just say don't take it too seriously. I mean pay attention to what you are doing but have fun with it.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  5. #5

    Re: general zencraft

    Hy Sydney

    About sewing the “proper” rakasu. If you have the skills to sew a zafu and zabuton, the technical part of sewing your rakasu will be a piece of cake. It is making that sewing part of your practice that will be the challenge and greatest value. Several years ago when I was preparing for Treeleaf’s first Jukai, I saw the sewing of the rakasu as a major stumbling block. At the time I thought my life was a mess, I believed I did not have the time to work on a ralasu. and for sure I had virtually no sewing skills. I had several discussions with Jundo as to how I could complete this effort. He offered some advise and alternatives, but in exchange asked me to try.

    That is what you need to do. Put all the doubts, excuses aside and just try. The sewing was a wonderful addition to my fledgling practice. Finding material out in rural far west Texas, finding dyes that could be blended to create a muted colour, following Taigu’s instructions, practicing stitching, and finally the construction, deconstruction and numerous reconstructions produced a very rugged looking rakasu. I looked at it and felt I could do much better and started all over again. Before the Jukai ceremony occurred, I had completed a second rakasu. But you know what? It was in the first one, with all its flaws, where I sewed in the panel that Jundo gave me and it is the one I wear when sitting zazen.

    So it is not the product that is the issue, it is the process or practice involved in creating your personal rakasu, one that will ultimately reflect who you are.

    Looking forward to hearing from you on the forum. Please don’t hold back. It can get a bit rough and tumble at times, but in the end we all are learning and becoming more and more a true sangha supporting each other in our practice,

    Take care

    Jim

  6. #6
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: general zencraft

    Chet wrote:
    I too am about to embark on sewing a rakasu, and it scares the shit out of me.
    Hi Chet,
    In what ways?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: general zencraft

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    I too am about to embark on sewing a rakasu, and it scares the shit out of me.
    Good rakasu, bad rakasu-- still rakasu, still nothing.

  8. #8

    Re: general zencraft

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse

    I too am about to embark on sewing a rakasu, and it scares the shit out of me.
    Hey Chet,

    From one who's just finishing up a big sewing project, let me tell you that it's a wonderful practice for shining a light in all those dark little crevices that you didn't know you had (I didn't know I had). Bon courage!

    Metta and Gassho,

    Saijun.

    p.s.--Since we're on the subject, would anyone else be interested in using Google+'s hangout feature for a Treeleaf Fukudenkai during the upcoming Ango?

  9. #9

    Re: general zencraft

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    I too am about to embark on sewing a rakasu, and it scares the shit out of me.
    Good rakasu, bad rakasu-- still rakasu, still nothing.
    Yet we work diligently and sincerely to make it good, still something!

    A Koan for Life.

  10. #10

    Re: general zencraft

    Quote Originally Posted by Saijun
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse

    I too am about to embark on sewing a rakasu, and it scares the shit out of me.
    Hey Chet,

    From one who's just finishing up a big sewing project, let me tell you that it's a wonderful practice for shining a light in all those dark little crevices that you didn't know you had (I didn't know I had). Bon courage!

    Metta and Gassho,

    Saijun.

    p.s.--Since we're on the subject, would anyone else be interested in using Google+'s hangout feature for a Treeleaf Fukudenkai during the upcoming Ango?

    Yes

    Gassho
    Shohei

  11. #11
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: general zencraft

    Be yourself; just BE !! :roll:

  12. #12
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: general zencraft

    I strongly advise anybody interested in this question of Zencrafts to read the article of Daido Loori roshi, The Artless Arts of Zen in the following issue of Dharma Eye...As an incredible photographer and an amazing Zen teacher, he puts it exactly right:

    http://global.sotozen-net.or.jp/eng/dharma/pdf/18e.pdf

    When I was young, I was obsessed by Art, music and Literature, so much so I wanted to be an artist and be seen and recognized as such. Many years went by, and the big dream appears for what it is: a big pile of ...
    Failing as a musician and playwriter, rotten novelist, writing clumsy poetry and sewing kesas, I am not trying anymore to be an artist, but to be alive now, moment after moment and listen and see and perceive truly the wonder of all this. Too clumsy to convey it, I just witness and sing along.

    Please, welcome. Being indeed. Suchness, raw, undiluted, not masked anymore.

    And please, listen to our ancestor Daido Loori, what he says is truly priceless.


    gassho


    Taigu

  13. #13
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: general zencraft

    Quote Originally Posted by Saijun
    Since we're on the subject, would anyone else be interested in using Google+'s hangout feature for a Treeleaf Fukudenkai during the upcoming Ango?
    Count me in.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  14. #14
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: general zencraft

    Depends where and when... But yes, I would like to join too and could maybe help a bit.

    gassho


    Taigu

  15. #15

    Re: general zencraft

    Well, ... whats exactly a Fukudenkai ?
    _()_
    Peter

  16. #16
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: general zencraft

    Hi Peter,

    Fukudenkai refers to the field of merit sang in the robe verse, it is a group of people gathering to sew in the Nyohoe tradition. It happens in Japan but also in America and Europe. But I believe that if we can make it, this will be the first time it happens on line.

    gassho

    Taigu

  17. #17
    Senior Member KellyRok's Avatar
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    Re: general zencraft

    Hello all,

    Sydney - It's nice to hear from you again! Some days I feel lost here, not sure what to read, what to respond to, what to say, what to do. But I'm here, reading, listening, sitting, and contributing in my limited way. As I think we all are. I think you nailed it when you stated,
    I confess to feeling intimidated by the prospect of sewing a proper rakusu, but maybe a scary undertaking like that could be incorporated in small chunks into daily practice.
    It truly is part of our daily practice. Just start with one cut, one stitch at a time. I've sewn my imperfect rakusu and am now in the process of sewing the kesa. Some days it takes true effort to pick up the needle and cloth; but when you do, you realize that you're really not sure what made you resist it to begin with.

    I am open to trying to participate in the Fukudenkai...after I looked up what itwas.

    take care,
    Kelly/Jinmei

  18. #18

    Re: Re: general "zencraft"

    . Some days it takes true effort to pick up the needle and cloth; but when you do, you realize that you're really not sure what made you resist it to begin with.
    So true about so much of this practice...!

    Posted from my handheld using the Tapatalk app. Want to use eG Forums on your iPhone, Android or Blackberry? Get started at http://egullet.org/tapatalk

  19. #19
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: general zencraft

    Hi All,

    Would this group that is being put together, just be for the sewing of Okesa or also include Rakusu?

    Gassho,
    John

  20. #20

    Re: general zencraft

    Thank you for that link Taigu sensei!

  21. #21
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: general zencraft

    Quote Originally Posted by Saijun
    Since we're on the subject, would anyone else be interested in using Google+'s hangout feature for a Treeleaf Fukudenkai during the upcoming Ango?
    I'd love to join in! Do we have an official date for Ango? Or Jukai? Just asking.

  22. #22
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    general "zencraft"

    Hello Sydney! Good to see you. Jump on in, the water's fine! :-)

    Ron

  23. #23
    disastermouse
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    Re: general zencraft

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Chet wrote:
    I too am about to embark on sewing a rakasu, and it scares the shit out of me.
    Hi Chet,
    In what ways?
    I'm intimidated by the multiple steps - not having anyone immediately available to bail me out of a jam if/when I hit a snag.

    Chet

  24. #24
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: general zencraft

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Chet wrote:
    I too am about to embark on sewing a rakasu, and it scares the shit out of me.
    Hi Chet,
    In what ways?
    I'm intimidated by the multiple steps - not having anyone immediately available to bail me out of a jam if/when I hit a snag.

    Chet
    Hi Chet,
    Thanks for explaining why you feel this way. I asked because I was wondering if was more in line with the actual crafting of one VS the intensity of the spiritual significance of it. After all it is the Buddhas robe, which seems kind of intimidating, to say the least. Somewhat big shoes to fill. At least that's how I would feel. So I wondered, since I agree with what you said, if we had similar emotions behind that fear of making one.

    Gassho,
    John

  25. #25

    Re: general zencraft

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson

    I'm intimidated by the multiple steps - not having anyone immediately available to bail me out of a jam if/when I hit a snag.

    Chet
    Hi Chet,
    Thanks for explaining why you feel this way. I asked because I was wondering if was more in line with the actual crafting of one VS the intensity of the spiritual significance of it. After all it is the Buddhas robe, which seems kind of intimidating, to say the least. Somewhat big shoes to fill. At least that's how I would feel. So I wondered, since I agree with what you said, if we had similar emotions behind that fear of making one.

    Gassho,
    John
    Hello Chet & John,

    In cycling, we say, "don't let it get in your head." If there is a mountain to climb, just pedal and pedal. You just climb into your pain-cave and do it--pedal and feel the pain; let the pain be because there's not anything you can do about it right now. Then, just you pedaling up the road. And if you're blessed with a sufficiently long climb, just the road is left.

    Upekkha. Equanimity.

    And sewing the robe is a mountain, for certain. All of the beauty, enthusiasm, and trepidation I've found in long, winding mountain roads I've found in that mound of rags and needles and rulers and chalk.

    Not one. Not two.

    Because that mountain is the Kesa, and that Kesa is the mountain. Having just finished one sewing project, I'm about to start on another. And even though I know I can do it, and have done it before, I hate-hate-hate the initial cutting. Getting over that fear of doing something wrong, of skipping a gear and crashing.

    "What do I do right now?"

    Be with your trepidation and go for it. I know that you're both very dedicated, and have climbed other mountains before.

    So don't let this one get in your head.

    Metta and Gassho,

    Saijun

  26. #26
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: general zencraft

    _/_

  27. #27
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Re: general zencraft

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Hi All,

    Would this group that is being put together, just be for the sewing of Okesa or also include Rakusu?

    Gassho,
    John
    I'd like to know too, please!

    Gassho,

    Jennifer

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