Question about Rakusu

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  • Andalublue
    • Jul 2024

    Question about Rakusu

    Hi Everyone,

    Just a quick question, does one wear a rakusu once you have taken jukai? Or can/should/does one wear one whenever and whoever sits shikantaza?

    Sorry if that's a really basic question.

    Gassho,

    Anda
  • Myozan Kodo
    Friend of Treeleaf
    • May 2010
    • 1901

    #2
    Hi Anda,
    Taigu is the expert on the robe. However, normally it is worn by those that have taken the precepts. Although I believe the kesa could be worn by anyone sitting Zazen, according to Dogen in the early days.

    Best to get a responce from Taigu, I reckon.

    Gassho
    Myozan

    Comment

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

      #3
      One seldom receives a rakusu prior to jukai. You may be granted the permisdion to sew and wear a kesa if you ask a teacher. But. You are not supposed to do it because you have decided this is the way to go. The kesa is not an outfit or something to llok good in it, it has a profound meaning.

      Gasso

      Taigu

      Comment

      • Andalublue

        #4
        Originally posted by Myozan Kodo
        Hi Anda,
        Taigu is the expert on the robe. However, normally it is worn by those that have taken the precepts. Although I believe the kesa could be worn by anyone sitting Zazen, according to Dogen in the early days.

        Best to get a responce from Taigu, I reckon.

        Gassho
        Myozan
        Thank you Myozan Kodo.

        Gassho.

        Anda

        Comment

        • Andalublue

          #5
          Originally posted by Taigu
          One seldom receives a rakusu prior to jukai. You may be granted the permisdion to sew and wear a kesa if you ask a teacher. But. You are not supposed to do it because you have decided this is the way to go. The kesa is not an outfit or something to llok good in it, it has a profound meaning.

          Gasso

          Taigu
          Thank you, Taigu. Could you expand a little on that meaning, or point me towards where I can learn about it?

          Gassho.

          Anda.

          Comment

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

            #6
            I would need to talk endlessly or shut my gob.
            I am going to ask Shohei, Mongen, Fugen, Myozan and Dosho to teach us what is the meaning of this robe.

            Gassho.

            Taigu

            Comment

            • Myozan Kodo
              Friend of Treeleaf
              • May 2010
              • 1901

              #7
              Hi Anda,

              My correct understanding of the kesa comes directly from my teacher. Any misunderstandings are mine alone and introduced by me, an unsui in training.

              The Okesa is the teaching itself. It is the body of the Buddha, the fabric of reality. It is square and circular at the same time, wrapped around the body. It is nothing but a few strips of cloth sewn together. It falls apart with the years, like everything else. So, we cannot own the Kesa. It is not "ours".

              The rakusu and the kesa are part of the same, seamless, unending reality. There is no difference between them. The kesa you will wear and the kesa Shakyamuni wore is the exact same kesa.

              The kesa must be given to us by this reality, through a teacher. But when it is given, nothing is given.

              The kesa is a mystery to sit with over many lifetimes. It IS the teaching … not an accessory. There is nothing mysterious about it.

              How to make a rakusu?

              Cotton grown with water and sun, then cut and
              Woven into sheets, dyed a muted hue and cut
              Again, into meticulously measured strips.
              One long piece, one short piece,
              Long on top, then long on the bottom,
              Sewn together in an interlocking clasp,
              Five times, then all five stitched together.
              All in a frame then, with four guardians
              On the four directions of the face; two straps
              For wearing and a neck piece, pine needle
              Stitched in. To the teacher then, who stains
              The work, brush dipped in ink and water,
              The seal of perfection’s imperfection,
              And his circular stamp like the blazing sun.

              Gassho,
              Myozan
              Last edited by Myozan Kodo; 05-04-2013, 08:32 AM.

              Comment

              • Kokuu
                Treeleaf Priest
                • Nov 2012
                • 6792

                #8
                That is beautiful. Thank you, Myozan.

                *Deep bow*
                Andy

                Comment

                • Jinyo
                  Member
                  • Jan 2012
                  • 1957

                  #9
                  Thank you Myozan - lovely.

                  Gassho

                  Willow

                  Comment

                  • Genshin
                    Member
                    • Jan 2013
                    • 467

                    #10
                    Beautiful Myozan. Thanks.

                    Gassho
                    Matt

                    Comment

                    • Tb
                      Member
                      • Jan 2008
                      • 3186

                      #11
                      Hi.

                      To continue on from Myozans beginning, the kesa is everything, the whole world, so when we we sit with it wrapped around us we sit with everything as one, thus embodying the teaching as we practice it.

                      Its importance is endless, and at the same time it is just an piece of cloth to keep the cold out, and nothinng to get upset/stuck about.

                      Mtfbwy
                      Fugen
                      Life is our temple and its all good practice
                      Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

                      Comment

                      • Mp

                        #12
                        I am in agreement with everyone Myozan, absolutely beautiful!

                        Gassho
                        Shingen

                        Comment

                        • Dosho
                          Member
                          • Jun 2008
                          • 5784

                          #13
                          Hi all,

                          The meaning of the robe needs to be discovered for each person and thus cannot be understood until it is sewn. And I don't believe it can ever be fully understood even then! For this vessel commonly called Dosho around this place called Treeleaf, the kesa is a process by which we stitch together the broken pieces of our pesky selves while realizing that there is no I, no me, no you, only us in this moment.

                          I make a point of never calling the rakusu "my rakusu" since it is not truly mine. It belongs to us all.

                          Just like sitting, just do it. If you think you are terrific at sewing. Sew it. If you think you are terrible at sewing. Sew it. What you think is not what you are.

                          It is so simple in description, but in most cases so difficult to see.

                          Gassho,
                          Dosho

                          Comment

                          • Koshin
                            Member
                            • Feb 2012
                            • 938

                            #14
                            Thank you all

                            Deep Gassho
                            Thank you for your practice

                            Comment

                            • Heisoku
                              Member
                              • Jun 2010
                              • 1338

                              #15
                              Thank you Myozan, Fugen and Dosho. I am finding in sewing the kesa a koan.
                              Heisoku 平 息
                              Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

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