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Thread: Sewing the Kesa

  1. #1

    Sewing the Kesa

    As previously mentioned, my ordination at Treeleaf was at the behest of Jundo and Taigu. They spoke of some ancient tradition with regard to senior members of the community and somehow convinced me I had the makings of a lowly servant to the Sangha. As the notion began to take form within my imagination I conceded (a decision I am glad to have made) and proceeded over the next few short weeks to prepare for the ceremony. Fugen very kindly shipped me a kesa and i was granted dispensationn in the form of a symbolic head shaving since I was naturally half way there anyway
    At any rate, I became an unsui without a real kesa and so took myself and Lillian, after great pains at explaining the significance and design of the kasaya, off to the fabric store. I thought I had studied the pattern well enough but as most of us young monks do, I under estimated the amount of material needed. This i found out after returning home and laying out the pattern.So, back we go to the fabric store to find neither do they have enough material. Well, with a bit of rooting around we find another material and buy enough
    Back home and cutting out the pattern and I begin to sew. Very soon it becomes evident that I have purchased the mother of all monster materials. It took an extreme amount of patience to struggle to sew a straight hem and the stretch in the material was next to impossible to work with. As it turned out, it was just about at this point where Lillian's health took a turn for the worse and the project hit a brick wall.
    After Lillian's passing and a period of grieving I was led to a path of my true calling; namely, service among the blind community whichI believe I previously explained. The sewing of a kesa again became a real goal for me. This time, I had practice with describing the design and purpose of the robe and especially, familiarity withthe amout of cloth required. So, I guided my new partner to the fabric store and using Doreen's expertice in the craft, she assisted in material selection by feeling it's richness of texture and decription of color.
    This new purchase has proven to be a perfect match for my intentions and tailoring skills. It has allowed many errors to be woven in and the result is almost stunning. After two long years of trial and error, disappointments and victories I have completed the sewing of my first kesa. I am by no means a master tailor but the resultant robe a passable model of perfect imperfection. Upon hearing this news, Jundo was encouraged and asked me to tell this story that perhaps may inspire some of you to tackle this task which first appears to be very formidable. Once completed and you are able to look back at the manner in which you accomplished the task it makes so many other perceived obstacles evaporate before your very eyes. You definately get the true feeling of "I can do this!"
    In aknowledgement of this completed project, Jundo is planning an incensing ceremony to be performed during our dokusan this coming Sunday. I want to thank all of you for giving me the incentive to have worked on this and giving me many more reasons to get up every day. The concentrated awareness required to accurrately determine the dimensions of your pattern and the compassionate sewing of each mindfull stitch; especially long hems, is a true application of our living practice. So I say, go forth, learn what is a cubit and sew in good faith.

    Last edited by Shokai; 07-01-2015 at 01:58 AM.
    gassho, Shokai

    仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

    "Open to life in a benevolent way"

  2. #2
    I want to thank you for your continuous inspiration to myself and others here. This was a very entertaining story. I won't be sitting love but with a recording. However it is all the same.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #3

    Deepest bows to you my sibling in the dharma...for the journey you have taken...and for what the kesa you have sewn will teach others.

    I am so very proud and humbled. Thank you for such dedication to practice.


    Sat today

  4. #4
    Thank you for sharing this journey with us. You are a wise voice, a mentor, an inspiration.

    Deep bows


  5. #5
    Thank you Shokai

    Gassho, Kyotai
    Sat today

  6. #6
    In his hesitancy to speak about himself, Shokai left a couple of things out of the story or downplayed some of the obstacles.

    Let's just say that it was not a simple time, and this Kesa did not come easy.

    Well done, Shokai. You keep your promises.

    Gassho, J

    Last edited by Jundo; 07-01-2015 at 03:43 AM.

  7. #7

    Thank you for sharing and thank you for walking this path ... you are a gentle soul and I am honoured to be walking beside you. =)

    Deep bows


  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Redding California USA
    Thank you Shokai, for everything.




    明道 修眼
    As a priest in training, please assume I don't really know what I'm talking about....
    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  9. #9
    Thank you for your practice


  10. #10
    Thank you Shokai. One stitch at a time.

    I look forward to seeing the garden in Sarnia, and taking up the rake soon.

    Deep bows, Daizan


  11. #11
    Thank you, Shokai.
    This was very inspiring to read.
    Your practice with and through all of life is setting a great example.
    Thank you, too, for reminding me of an old project I thought I'd never forget. What it took and what sticking to it gave me.
    Good timing (how come you know that with your posts, my friend??)


  12. #12

    Well done.

    Thank you for the moment.

    Myosha sat today
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  13. #13

    Good to hear, sewing is a good practice.
    Thank you for your practice.


    Life is our temple and its all good practice

  14. #14
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Inspirational, congratulations and thankyou!

    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  15. #15
    Thank you for sharing, Shokai. You have truly sewn your life into the kesa.

    Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

  16. #16
    Thank you, Shokai. As I have started to sew a kesa, your story is very inspirational to me.



    Sent from my LGMS345 using Tapatalk
    Forever is so very temporary...

  17. #17
    Thank you for sharing. I sincerely hope as you have crossed these rode bumps in life things are now easier for you.
    Very inspiring.

    Sent from my SM-G360P using Tapatalk

  18. #18
    Dear Shokai,

    Thank you for all you give to us. That kesa you saw is made of the same fabric we are all made of and unites life together with your stitches.

    All love to you and please say Doreen I say hi.


    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  19. #19
    Hi Shokai,

    Thank you for your service and for sharing this struggle with us. Perfect imperfection indeed. Doesn’t this just sum up all of life:
    The concentrated awareness required to accurrately determine the dimensions of your pattern and the compassionate sewing of each mindfull stitch; especially long hems, is a true application of our living practice.
    May we all figure out our pattern and sew our stitches so beautifully. Thank you for your sewing. And, thanks to Doreen too.

    sat today

  20. #20
    Thank you all for your kind thoughts. It warms my heart to hear this sharing inspires you. As well, to Lisa and Morelas, Doreen is touched that you mention her and sends you both her love.


    gassho, Shokai

    仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

    "Open to life in a benevolent way"

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