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Your rakusu?

Re: Your rakusu?

Postby unsui on Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:53 pm

Carol wrote:Here's my well-worn rakusu

Lovely! What is your dharma name?
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Re: Your rakusu?

Postby Carol on Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:09 pm

unsui wrote:
Carol wrote:Here's my well-worn rakusu

Lovely! What is your dharma name?


Tarrant Roshi does the calligraphy but then writes the name in English, not in Romanji. He wrote "The one who hears the birds." The two characters are "hears" and "birds."

Tarrant says his calligraphy is "very childlike." But I asked them at Dharma Drum to decifer it and give me the name in Chinese. They said it's "Wen Niao" in Chinese. Gregory looked it up for me in his Japanese dictionary. He says in Japanese Romanji it's either "Bunchou" or "Monchou." He's not sure, says it depends on rules of grammar that he does not know in this case, but thinks probably "Bunchou." He also says a lot of people leave off the last vowel, so it could be "Buncho" or "Moncho."

But, since it was given to me in English, I'm very happy with "Hears Birds."

I see by close inspection that my 7-year anniversary is coming up on March 25th!
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Re: Your rakusu?

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:16 pm

Meido wrote:The pine needle stitching, if I'm not mistaken, is commonly used in the Soto tradition? Rinzai rakusu have a stitched triangle representing a mountain.

Meido, what color is the thread for the triangle?

My understanding is that the stitching on the back represents the "home temple" but it may represent the prominent person in the lineage. For Soto lineages the home temple is Dogen's Eihei-ji and the green thread pine needle represents the pine forest where Eihei-ji is located so it would be for both the lineage through Dogen and Eihei-ji as the home temple.

Diamond Sangha uses the green thread pine needle pattern because Yatsutani was first ordained through the Soto lineage even though he later received Inka in the Rinzai lineage.

I thought the black thread triangle was for Myoshin-ji as home or root temple, but it may be for the Inzan line of Hakuin who was considered to be in the Moyshin-ji lineage. Meido, is Myoshin-ji considered to be your lineage's root temple? Do you know if Rinzai folks in the Takuju line also have a black thread triangle?

I have seen a brown thread square but can't remember which home temple or lineage it refers to.

_/|\_
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Why you do not understand is because the three carts were provisional for former times, and because the One Vehicle is true for the present time. ~ Zen Master 6th Ancestor Huineng
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Re: Your rakusu?

Postby unsui on Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:23 pm

Well, I'm not Meido, but we have a black thread triangle. The fellow who ordered his rakusu from London was sent one with a white triangle. I am therefore really interested in hearing more about thread color!
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Re: Your rakusu?

Postby Nonin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:43 pm

We also sew in the Nyoho-e style and also use the pine needle stitch on the back of the neck piece (the maneki). In our sangha, lay people wear blue rakusus, sewn by hand with grey thread, including the pine needle stitch. The shade of the rakusu fabric varies with what's available, always cotton, with cotton backing on which I write a dharma phrase, the date and place of the lay Initiation ceremony, the name of our temple, my name as the presenter, and the recipient's name. The color of the lay person's rakusu varies with the sangha, but it's usually blue or black in the West.

Because I can write Chinese and Japanese characters with a brush, I do. I give the dharma name in two characters and also write it in Romaji.

When a person is priest-ordained in Soto Zen Buddhism, he or she receives a black okesa and rakusu. We also sew this with grey thread. This is the color for a novice priest. One remains a novice until dharma transmission (shiho). During the transmission ceremony, one receives a brown okesa and rakusu, also sewn with grey thread. After dharma transmission, one can wear a rakusu of any color. I have two brown ones, and a blue denim one, which is so sturdy that I've worn it almost daily for years. I've seen green rakusus, dark and light, fancy brocade ones (worn during special ceremonies, not so much in the West), deep yellow ones (mokuren in Japanese) and even red ones. I have a picture of one of me wearing a red one after my dharma transmission recognition ceremony in Japan, with my certification ceremonies tucking in under the neck.

Hands palm-to-palm,

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Soto Zen Buddhist Priest. Transmitted Dharma Heir of Dainin Katagiri Roshi.
Abbot and Head Teacher, Nebraska Zen Center / Heartland Temple, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
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Re: Your rakusu?

Postby Meido on Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:11 am

Gregory Wonderwheel wrote:Meido, what color is the thread for the triangle?

My understanding is that the stitching on the back represents the "home temple" but it may represent the prominent person in the lineage. For Soto lineages the home temple is Dogen's Eihei-ji and the green thread pine needle represents the pine forest where Eihei-ji is located so it would be for both the lineage through Dogen and Eihei-ji as the home temple.

Diamond Sangha uses the green thread pine needle pattern because Yatsutani was first ordained through the Soto lineage even though he later received Inka in the Rinzai lineage.

I thought the black thread triangle was for Myoshin-ji as home or root temple, but it may be for the Inzan line of Hakuin who was considered to be in the Moyshin-ji lineage. Meido, is Myoshin-ji considered to be your lineage's root temple? Do you know if Rinzai folks in the Takuju line also have a black thread triangle?

I have seen a brown thread square but can't remember which home temple or lineage it refers to.


Good question. Here I've not heard discussion of specific thread colors signifying anything. I have several rakusu with differing thread colors used, it seems to me, simply to complement the rakusu fabric color. I've only always been aware that triangle = Rinzai.

Our line comes through Tenryu-ji. But it is entirely possible that a tradition of marking temple affiliation in this way was one of the things left behind when it jumped the Pacific... in which case, as with many things, i'd certainly be ignorant of it!

That being said, I would tend to think that connection to Inzan or Takuju lines would not be likely signified in such a manner, only because that inheritance can be mixed. For example, Tenryu-ji's shitsunai (and thus ours) currently contains elements of both Inzan and Takuju styles.. and further, of two sub-styles of Inzan, Mino-ha and Bizen-ha. This is due to the training history of eminent teachers there in the past. I imagine such could be the case in other places as well.

One of our teachers, an heir of Omori Roshi's, is visiting this summer. I'll add this to my list of things to ask him about.

~Meido
Last edited by Meido on Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:28 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Your rakusu?

Postby Ko_Shin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:21 am

I formally received my rakusu at my Jukai ceremony at the Boundless Way temple in Worcester, MA (the first Jukai ceremony at the temple).

That was in July of 2010, the previous several months sewing my rakusu was a significant part of my practice. I had no sewing experience prior to that and I had to practice sewing with my uncertainty, frustration and less than nimble fingers and less than sharp eyesight. I managed to hang it all together in time.

It is black, with a white silk backing, and has a ring, and the broken pine branch in the back sewn in green thread. The ring was a gift by one of the BoWZ teachers who gave it to me with a word of encouragement to consider taking the precepts.

The silk is signed by all four BoWz teachers and has my dharma name and the BoWz stamp.

The link is a set of photos from the ceremony. You can see me in the group picture, 3rd from the left in the front row. And as you can see teachers have a much wider rang of choice of color for their rakusus.

http://flic.kr/s/aHsjrGrcZQ
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