Monday, May 25, 2009

Scavenging and reading

Nothing too new on the sewing front. I have been gathering material from various places in preparation of eventually sewing another Kesa. I found a beautiful quilt laying in a nook underneath a cement slab from a burned out old farm house parts of it are still brilliant and untouched others are marked with mold spots that are rather permanant. I plan to use bits of this. Besides that I've taken to reading up on the Kesa.

Over the past few days I have been revisiting Kesa Koduka and Den-e. Few things that stuck out to me. Master Dogen wrote quiet impassioned lines about the Kesa and its merits while quite vehemently chastising those who have ignored the merits of the robe. Both chapters were a great read and boy i make sure I don't toss my kesa carelessly on my desk. the one i wear when im naked its getting a more careful treatment too.

Now, each robe and all nine kinds of robes have been received in the authentic transmission from the Buddha-Dharma itself; the robe could never be inferior to a four-line verse, and could never be less effective than a single phrase of Dharma. This is why, for more than two thousand years, all followers of the Buddha—those with the makings of devotional practice and of Dharma practice—have guarded and retained the kaṣāya and regarded it as their body and mind. Those who are ignorant of the right Dharma of the buddhas do not worship the kaṣāya.

The kaṣāya has been called since olden times “the clothing that wards off suffering from heat” and “the clothing of liberation.” In conclusion, its merit is beyond measure. Through the merit of the kaṣāya, a dragon’ scales can be freed from the three kinds of burning pain. When the buddhas realize the truth, they are always wearing this robe. Truly, although we were born in a remote land in [the age of] the latter Dharma, if we have the opportunity to choose between what has been transmitted and what has not been transmitted, we should believe in, receive, guard, and retain [the robe] whose transmission is authentic and traditional. In what lineage have both the robe and the Dharma of Śākyamuni himself been authentically transmitted, as in our authentic tradition? They exist only in Buddhism. On meeting this robe and Dharma, who could be lax in venerating them and serving offerings to them? Even if, each day, we [have to] discard bodies and lives as countless as the sands of the Ganges, we should serve offerings to them. Further, we
should vow to meet [the robe] and humbly to receive it upon the head in every life in every age. We are the stupid people of a remote quarter, born with a hundred thousand or so miles of mountains and oceans separating us from the land of the Buddha’s birth. Even so, if we hear this right Dharma, if we receive and retain this kaṣāya even for a single day or a single night, and if we master even a single phrase or a single verse, that will not only be the good fortune to have served offerings to one buddha or to two buddhas: it will be the good fortune to have served offerings and paid homage to countless hundred thousand koṭis of buddhas. Even if [the servants] are ourselves, we should respect them, we should love them, and we should value them.
both of those are from Den-e. which is what im currently reading.

Anywho just writing I found interesting. Nothing very smart to say.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Now what?

So almost a month from my last post and i finally got off my ass and started and finished my Kesa bag. Its not to any spec, I winged it really, much the same as i did for my Rakusu bag but i remembered not to add a button and button hole. I have a couple of pics of the finished product. the whole thing took 6 hours from measure to taking the pics below. I wrote on the inside of the bag the robe verse and my dharma name in a very sloppy kanji (So when i lose it i will be able to identify if it ever turned up again). Again not to spec but its more for function then fashion and having the verse there is a help for this newb. The material again is leftover from the kesa and the lining is a very old and scary pillow case. Nice hole right there too, perfectly imperfect. lol

click image for larger view

click image for larger view

I have been wearing the new kesa every night and so far its brought me no mystical powers but it makes going to sit zazen a tiny bit longer process. When i wear this kesa it always think of the story about Shakyamuni Buddha and Ananda and how the kesa came to be. It always makes me smile a silly grin.

I owe a huge thank you again to Taigu for taking the time and having patience to show me how to put it on and for giving it to me. Deep bows.

Next up a 9 stripe kesa. Im going to take what I have learned and put it into practice with the next Kesa. No set start date yet.