handy with a needle and thread

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  • murasaki
    Member
    • Mar 2009
    • 473

    handy with a needle and thread

    I don't know if this message belongs in the Zazen or the Jukai/Rakusu forum, but I'll try here:

    I have noticed that there are robes the sensei wears, but also see that there are robes required or recommended for retreats, and that meditation supply shops feature a category called "lay robes". I take that to mean it's optional clothing for any Zen practitioner. Is this correct? Are they just for retreats, or special occasions as well? Are the clothes simply plain versions of yukata/kimono, collars and hakama? Must they be hand stitched entirely?

    I'm asking for a few reasons: first, because I have a longtime personal interest in different types of ethnic clothing, and I am curious. Second, because I am reasonably skilled and experienced with sewing and other fiber arts, and am wondering if my skills could be put to good use. (Not for rakusu, as I understand y'all get to enjoy figuring that out for yourselves - which I think is a great concept. It reminds me of a craft fair I read about online recently called "Do It Your Own D*mn Self" :lol: )

    Third, if I ever would have a need for these items...they are expensive, and would rather sew them my own d*mn self. Others (particularly in Western countries) are surely in the same boat. (We are the boat, aren't we...)

    But don't worry...I won't participate in a jukai simply for the excuse to sew robes or a rakusu :wink: The rakusu look a lot like plain Korean jogakbo, so I'll sew those instead if I feel an overwhelming urge to stitch.

    Gassho
    Julia
    "The Girl Dragon Demon", the random Buddhist name generator calls me....you have been warned.

    Feed your good wolf.
  • Jinho

    #2
    Re: handy with a needle and thread

    greetings again,

    There is no special wear for retreats vs sitting at home (or elsewhere) (that would be contrary to the everything is equal understanding in zen). Most zen centers do not require a lay sitting robe. There are no patterns that I am aware of (and I looked ALOT on line), but if you can get a look/measure of someone's, I am sure you can figure it out (just measure the pleats and their placement in the skirt and figure out how to do the wrap top part) also measure how far the collar band comes down. FYI, the "collar" strip is a rectangle, the neck hole is straight across the back of the neck (not a curve). You probably want to do a light interfacing on the collar band (I jsut laid in a second light layer of cotton). This is my experience sewing a short practice robe in the Seung Sahn Kwan Um School Korean tradition. They also have the dharma teacher robe which is close to a lay sitting robe:

    http://www.kwanumzen.com/sewing_instruc ... r-robe.pdf

    but it has more pleats and the sleeves are bigger. Lay sitting robes usually have 12 inch wide kimono sleeves. Probably the Rinzai center has people wearing lay sitting robes.

    I am curious about the lineage of the two zen centers near you (rinzai and "other"). Can I ask who the teachers/founders are?

    cheers,
    rowan

    PS a rakusu is a pieced bib about 10" by 12" (ish) and is presented in the special ceremony called Jukai when one formally becomes a zen buddhist. The FIRST EVER ONLINE!!!! Jukai ceremony (done by Treeleaf, of course) can be seen on our website.

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    • Tobiishi
      Member
      • Jan 2009
      • 461

      #3
      Re: handy with a needle and thread

      Thanks for that link, Rowan... been looking for a pattern like that

      Gassho
      It occurs to me that my attachment to this body is entirely arbitrary. All the evidence is subjective.

      Comment

      • Shohei
        Member
        • Oct 2007
        • 2854

        #4
        Re: handy with a needle and thread

        Originally posted by Tobiah
        Thanks for that link, Rowan... been looking for a pattern like that

        Gassho
        Same here! Thank you for the link to that pdf Rowan!

        Gassho, Shohei -not-so-handy with a needle and thread

        Comment

        • Dosho
          Member
          • Jun 2008
          • 5784

          #5
          Re: handy with a needle and thread

          Originally posted by Jinho
          a rakusu is a pieced bib about 10" by 12" (ish) and is presented in the special ceremony called Jukai when one formally becomes a zen buddhist. The FIRST EVER ONLINE!!!! Jukai ceremony (done by Treeleaf, of course) can be seen on our website.
          I definitely recommend watching the jukai online...just don't let Taigu hear you call it a bib!

          Comment

          • Jinho

            #6
            Re: handy with a needle and thread

            Originally posted by Dosho
            Originally posted by Jinho
            a rakusu is a pieced bib about 10" by 12" (ish) and is presented in the special ceremony called Jukai when one formally becomes a zen buddhist. The FIRST EVER ONLINE!!!! Jukai ceremony (done by Treeleaf, of course) can be seen on our website.
            I definitely recommend watching the jukai online...just don't let Taigu hear you call it a bib!
            And to show you how silly zen people are, they make you take your bib off when you eat! (or am I remembering this wrong? ops:

            Sorry!!!!!!!!!!! :wink: I forgot, here at Treeleaf it is OFFICIALLY known as a Dishcloth of Enlightenment (really, Julia, I am not kidding).

            gassho,
            rowan

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            • Jinho

              #7
              Re: handy with a needle and thread

              Originally posted by Tobiah
              Thanks for that link, Rowan... been looking for a pattern like that

              Gassho
              Hi Tobiah and Shohei!

              I am glad you fond the link useful.

              A couple of notes, the picture is misleading. The pleats in the skirt are actually quite wide and evenly spaced around the the skirt. I am thinking of going to the Berkeley Zen Center and wrangling someone to measure their lay sitting robe to get an exact placement/number/size of the pleats, sleeves, etc.

              Also, I just thought of a cheap way to make a mock-up of the robe so you can see if it all fits together ok. Buy a couple of flat sheets at the thrift/charity shop (sheets are always your best value in cotton-type material) quickly cut and sew together with big one-inch stitches (or on the biggest stitch you have on your sewing machine - the "basting" stitch which is usually about 6 to the inch - this stitch is easy to rip out).

              There really is a gap in the market! Somebody should come out with a layperson sitting robe pattern. (One site that sells robes specifically says not to ask them about patterns, that they don't sell them).

              cheers,
              rowan

              Comment

              • Jundo
                Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                • Apr 2006
                • 39474

                #8
                Re: handy with a needle and thread

                Hi,

                I second what Jinho said. No lay robes are required here, and while some Zen Sangha in the west have their members dress like that ... well, I often think it a little silly. There is no reason modern westerners have to dress like Japanese people of 200 years ago. IN FACT, I have rarely if ever seen Japanese people dress like that for Zazen in Japan!! Zen is not about having to pretend you are a Japanese samurai as if at a costume party!

                For Zazen, you should wear lose fitting clothing that does not pinch the circulation. In Japan, the lay folks do wear a kind of ankle length skirt for Zazen (both male and female ... like in the follow picture), but even a jogging suit is fine (even in Japan). Avoid sitting in bluejeans, as it constricts.




                The color should be dark brown, black or the like, without busy patterns, so as not to distract others (we don't go in for all the fancy reds and yellows like the Tibetans).

                That being said, there is nothing wrong with some Japanese-y clothes either. Samue can be very nice and comfortable to sit in (again, go for the dark colors) ...

                http://www.shop-japan.co.jp/english-bok ... ear5-s.htm

                As a priest, I dress in robes because ... tradition. You want a Catholic Priest to have a white collar, and a Zen teacher has his robes and Kesa. But there is no such custom or requirement for lay folks.

                The Rakusu (the bib-like object, as mentioned) is customarily for people who have received the Precepts in Jukai(an Undertaking the Precepts ceremony).

                Gassho, Jundo
                ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                Comment

                • Jinho

                  #9
                  Re: handy with a needle and thread

                  Originally posted by Jundo
                  Hi,

                  I second what Jinho said. No lay robes are required here, and while some Zen Sangha in the west have their members dress like that ... well, there is no reason you have to dress like Japanese people of 200 years ago. IN FACT, I have rarely if ever seen Japanese people dress like that for Zazen in Japan!! Zen is not about having to pretend you are a Japanese samurai as if at a costume party!

                  For Zazen, you should wear lose fitting clothing that does not pinch the circulation. In Japan, the lay folks do wear a kind of ankle length skirt for Zazen (both male and female ... like in the follow picture), but even a jogging suit is fine. Avoid sitting in bluejeans, as it constricts.




                  The color should be dark brown, black or the like, without busy patterns, so as not to distract others (we don't go in for all the fancy reds and yellows like the Tibetans).

                  That being said, there is nothing wrong with some Japanese-y clothes either. Samue can be very nice ...

                  http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl= ... G%26um%3D1

                  As a priest, I dress in robes because ... tradition. You want a Catholic Priest to have a white collar, and a Zen teacher has his robes and Kesa. But there is no such custom or requirement for lay folks.

                  The Rakusu (the bib-like object, as mentioned) is customarily for people who have received the Precepts in Jukai(an Undertaking the Precepts ceremony).

                  Gassho, Jundo

                  But I want to dress like a samurai! (it is soooooooooo pretty).

                  Actually the illustration looks like hakama (loose fitting over pants). Folkwear patterns carries it:

                  http://www.folkwear.com/asian.html

                  Please scroll down to the hakama pattern at the bottom of the page.

                  Also, on one clothing site, hakama is listed as a standard rinzai underlayer.

                  happy sewing,
                  rowan

                  Comment

                  • murasaki
                    Member
                    • Mar 2009
                    • 473

                    #10
                    Re: handy with a needle and thread

                    But I want to dress like a samurai! (it is soooooooooo pretty).
                    Yeah, Jundo, you're no fun :lol:

                    When I sit at home, inevitably I'm in leggings and an oversized t-shirt -- for me, the ultimate in comfort. I wouldn't go out to any zendo looking like that, though. Last time I went out to the zendo, I wore loose cargo pants and a cotton top. Comfy enough, but I didn't realize until during kinhin that the fabric of the pants was very rustly and noisy ops: (swoosh...swoosh...swoosh...)

                    The samue tops look easy to make -- like a half-yukata with a tie closure.

                    Rowan -- Another Folkwear fan, high five 8)

                    gassho
                    Julia
                    "The Girl Dragon Demon", the random Buddhist name generator calls me....you have been warned.

                    Feed your good wolf.

                    Comment

                    • Taigu
                      Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
                      • Aug 2008
                      • 2710

                      #11
                      Re: handy with a needle and thread

                      Hi everybody,

                      I don't really want to ad anything to what people have already said. I wear my long priest black robes less and less and prefer to go samue with rakusu or kesa. Like Jundo I wear the full gear at special times, for ceremonies, doing takuhatsu (begging).The kolomo and other stuff are historical or ethnic byproducts. The kesa is not. This is a very important point. You can ditch pretty much everything but you can't get rid of the rakusu or kesa. And although I could try to explain why, I won't. Better to let you figure it all out.

                      You could read the following chapters of Shobogenzo for a start, kesa kudoku and Den e:

                      http://www.numatacenter.com/digital/dBE ... 1_2007.pdf







                      gassho


                      Taigu

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                      • Jinho

                        #12
                        Re: handy with a needle and thread

                        Originally posted by Taigu



                        gassho

                        Taigu
                        Hi Wonderful big Bear,

                        So where is this illustration from? How do I get a copy? And MOST IMPORTANT what are the measurements!? :mrgreen:

                        gassho,
                        jinho

                        Comment

                        • Shohei
                          Member
                          • Oct 2007
                          • 2854

                          #13
                          Re: handy with a needle and thread

                          Originally posted by Jinho
                          Hi Wonderful big Bear,

                          So where is this illustration from? How do I get a copy? And MOST IMPORTANT what are the measurements!? :mrgreen:

                          gassho,
                          jinho
                          http://nyohoekesa.blogspot.com/2006_02_01_archive.html
                          There^^ a wonderful start the measurements you must work out for yourself because the Kesa is to fit the wearer. but its helped me immensely - Just gotta start sewing earlier in the evening and allotting the time to do so ops:

                          FWIW i sit @ home and otherwise wearing rakusu, in a pair of black nurses scrubs (picked up at any family clothing store I think) because they are very loose, tie up not to slippery. Shirt i wear w/e usually a black or blue tee.

                          Gassho
                          Shohei

                          Comment

                          • aikoku tora
                            Member
                            • Jul 2008
                            • 110

                            #14
                            Re: handy with a needle and thread

                            I never really bothered getting anything like a Koromo to wear as I have yet to find a reason,

                            though I admit I love seeing the wear of the komuso monks.


                            My attire is as follows:

                            White Juban

                            Black swordsman yukata

                            white obi

                            black Hakama ( pant or skirt style)

                            white stretch tabi socks

                            White Rika Tabi

                            and SOMETIMES I wear waraji when I'm out and about and dont want to get my rika tabi dirty

                            Waraji are a lesson on their own....Never get them too wet or you get grass stains your tabi and they take days to dry, they break easily, so it's best to carry a second pair if needed....and Cats LOVE to eat them....

                            and the rakusu at times, mostly at home ( the sitting/discussion group Jen and I started has me dressed as I'm the semi-doshi and the group made it clear that it helps set an easier mood for them to unwind instantly when they walk into the room)



                            but then again, I dress like a samurai often as well for alot of the martial arts I do, ( My friends on both sides of the pacific jokingly to me as S?hei gaijin...without the corruption that comes with it :wink: ) and that makes me smile alittle

                            and also just the comfort in general



                            Most of what I have I buy from a shop in Osaka that ships them out quite swiftly ( about a week max from japan, to Washington state) though my " sitting" hakama I tend to get from local martial arts stores, or order them from other shops, as a half decent cotton hakama tends to run pretty cheep " and they do get the traditional pleats properly done"

                            Im picky about pleats, be it my Hakama or my Kilts....they need to be correct * lol
                            ~ Mue

                            Comment

                            • Taigu
                              Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
                              • Aug 2008
                              • 2710

                              #15
                              Re: handy with a needle and thread

                              Hi Jinho,

                              As Shohei wisely advised, you may peep on my kesa blog :lol: . There are many ways to find out about the measurements and they are all explained there.

                              And this is what i wrote three years ago as an introduction to the blog. The story bettween Ananda and Shakyamuni will help you to understand the true meaning of measurement:

                              The kesa is the Buddha’s robe. The robe of Zazen. In Japanese, it is called Nyoho-e, the robe-garment of as it-is-ness. Thanks to the work and life of the Shingon teacher Kaiju Jiun Sonja (1718-1804) who loved being grasped by the still state, to the dedication of Mokishutsu Zenji and later, to Eko Hashimoto and Kodo Sawaki, we have now the opportunity to study, sew and wear the Buddhist robe.

                              I started to sew the robe 25 years ago and I would say that I am still very ignorant and unexperienced. As a monk, I consider myself as a student of the kesa. I know very little but would like to share it with whoever want to sew a kesa and sit. My intention is to offer a simple, clear sewing guide as well as the opportunity for everybody to contribute to this blog. All suggestions and observations are welcome.


                              Originally, it is said that one day the Buddha was peacefully walking in the country with Ananda. All around them were valleys and fields, clouds and sky, air and mists, and birds, and beasts. Ananda asked the Buddha : “ we need a special garment that will show to the rest of the world that we are your disciples”. With a wave of his hand, Buddha indicated nature all around them and said : “Our garment will be like this”. Buddha was just pointing to the paddy fields, so Ananda thought that he meant the paddy fields, the rice fields. Buddha was just pointing to the whole universe, formless, ever changing. Ananda thought he meant the kesa should look like the paddy fields. Shakyamuni Buddha had a complete free mind, an open mind. He could embrace the whole view with a single glance, he did not choose, did not fix any boundaries, a consciousness without a single choice, no judgement, just the recognition of things as they are. It is said that when Shakyamuni saw the first robe, he was filled with joy and asked every single monk to wear it.
                              :wink:


                              gassho

                              Taigu

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