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Thread: Color of kashaya and rakusu

  1. #1

    Color of kashaya and rakusu

    Hi Jundo,.....

    I want to ask about the soto Zen tradition in Japan.

    Some times, I see a kashaya in blue colour and some times in dark yellow colour.

    are there any different meaning between these two colours (blue and yellow)?

    In the Master Dogen figure painting, we can see the kasaya that Master Dogen wore is neither blue nor yellow, but brown colour....

    Can you explain it to me, about the changing of the kasaya's style, between Master Dogen's Kasaya and nowadays kashaya?

    About Rakusu's colour...

    Some of the rakusu is black, some times Grey and brown....?
    What is the difference between these colour?

    and how to make the rakusu? actually, I have found the instruction how to make it, but the measure which is used is "inch", while in my country, we usually use "centimeter"...


    Gassho, Shui Di

  2. #2

    Re: Color of kashaya and rakusu

    Quote Originally Posted by Shui_Di
    Hi Jundo,.....

    I want to ask about the soto Zen tradition in Japan.

    Some times, I see a kashaya in blue colour and some times in dark yellow colour.


    Gassho, Shui Di
    Hi Shui Di,

    In Soto Zen, the color is not really so important except that, usually, a new "priest-in-training" wears a black robe, and a full priest wears a brown robe (although that may not have been the custom in Dogen's time). Fancy or colorful robes are discouraged.

    The "old style" is called "Nyohoe", but most people these days wear a different cut. I am not an expert on Kesa design. However, this article is about the most complete I know in English on the subject of the Kesa ...

    ... and there is a whole short book available online on sewing one. ... t&id=12978

    Here are some quotes:

    A kesa is a kind of
    patchwork following precise rules and a clear pattern. The main body is
    made of patches of different sizes sewn vertically and horizontally. The
    size of a kesa varies according to the person wearing it. Of course, a kesa
    can be made of many more stripes, nine, eleven, thirteen...twenty-five
    and more but we will only study the seven stripes kesa for a start.
    What is the true colour of a kesa? It is said that Shakyamuni's kesa had
    the same colour as his skin. The word kesa comes from the sanskrit
    kasaya whixh means colour ochre. Bodhidharma and Dogen's kesa were
    dark blue almost black. Generally speaking, most texts ( Ritsu ) agree on
    the fact that the colour should not be a pure and bright colour, it should
    be neither white nor a clear primary colour, rather a mixed and mudddy
    darkish colour: blue, grey, brown, purple, black, dark yellow, dark green...
    “As material for the robe, we use silk or cotton, according to suitability. It
    is not always the case that cotton is pure and silk is impure. There is no
    viewpoint from which to hate cotton and to prefer silk; that would be
    laughable. The usual method of the buddhas, in every case, is to see rags
    as the best material”.
    Dogen, Kesa-Kudoku.
    You may find in various Sangha the belief that the true kesa of the monk
    is black, that brown or light-coloured kesa are for teachers and so forth…
    These rules do apply in the Soto sect. In the tradition of the Nyohoe kesa,
    these rules simply don’t app
    Rakusu color does not matter except, usually, a priest-in-training will wear black.

    We will be sewing Rakusu soon as part of our training for Jukai (Undertaking the Precepts).

    Gassho, Jundo

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