Sewing Buddha’s robe at the Austin Zen Center is taught in the tradition and lineage of Sawaki Kodo Roshi as transmitted to San Francisco Zen Center and Austin Zen Center practitioners. This weekly class is for students who are preparing for the ceremony of taking refuge and receiving the precepts by sewing Buddha’s robe: either a rakusu, for lay-ordination (Jukai), or okesa, zagu, and rakusu, for priest-ordination (Shukke Tokudo). A rakusu is a miniature version of the okesa, made in the basic structure of a five-paneled okesa, using nyohō-e* material, color, and way of cutting, sewn by the student him/herself with permission from their teacher to receive the 16 Bodhisattva precepts in the ordination ceremony. A committed Zen practice and relationship with a teacher as well as the sangha is required before undertaking the sewing of Buddha’s robe.
People who have already sewn a rakusu or okesa and are interested in learning to assist as sewing teachers are welcome to come and help.
*The okesa that is made in the traditional way and is one with the Buddha’s teaching is called nyoho-e: Nyo, “As-it-is-ness” as in showing the law/truth as it really is Hō Law, truth, or the Buddha’s teaching or principle E, Robe, clothes.
Robe Chant: Dāi sāi ge dā pu ku musō fuku dēn e hi bu nyorāi kyo kō do shoshu jo. (2x)
Great robe of liberation Field far beyond form and emptiness Wearing the Tathagata’s teaching Saving all beings. (1x)
A donation of $50 – $250 to the temple is suggested for sewing materials and instruction, with an additional donation for the ceremony.
To order a copy of Jean Selkirk’s book, Buddha’s Robe is Sewn, on the history and practice of sewing and wearing the robe in the tradition of Sawaki Kodo Roshi- visit http://www.buddhasrobeissewn.org/.