Well, I've decided to do Jukai. I'm not sure with whom, yet. But I am comfortable that it has relevance to me, particularly with regard to joining the sangha catholic. So step one in this direction is sewing a rakusu.
Taking the advice of Dogen seriously, I have decided to sew my rakusu from rags selected without discrimination. At first I thought I would go down to Goodwill and buy some cheap clothes to turn into rags. On second thought I realized there something non-ragish about clothes for sale that someone could actually use. So I choose to use real rags or clothes that could not, reasonably, be worn anymore.
My seed stock is a pair of jeans gone through in the ass. I would only be throwing them away. That exhausted the possibilities in the house. Inspired in part by the 10 types of rags Dogen described, I went on a rag hunt last Saturday for the remainder of my material. This was done by riding my bike slowly along the major avenue near my home, exploring the parking lots and school yards along the way for fabric that has truely been cast off as useless.
There is alot of plastic and paper in this world. If there were a practical way to make a rakusu from used plastic, that would be the way to go. I was surprised how difficult it was to find real fabric out there.
My first find was in a school yard; an old hoodie. Next was a terry-cloth towel near a car washing establishment. This brought some conflict to mind. The goal is to take rags without discrimination (just like we are supposed to accept people and life's events, I suppose), but, damn, terry-cloth will just look stupid on a rakusu. Oh well, I'll give it a try.
Over by the local dog boarding business I found a sock. Again, conflict about the sew-ability of that fabric type. Again, I'll accept it and give it a shot.
Along a long barded wire fence I found a cut tee-shirt sleeve, stained with a wonderful motely of rust. Some sort of iron batik that might be a very nice accent.
Finally I found an old pillow case in the open field behind the local grocery store. I really wondered about the story behind that. Did someone carry all their wordly possessions around in that for a while? Was it a booty bag from a robbery?
I've got enough to sew the rakusu except for the interface material and the white to right on. I may actually buy some new white silk for that. I'm not sure yet. Dogen seemed pretty clear about just using rags.
I've watched some of the TreeLeaf Zendo video's on Rakusu sewing, and gotten the Katagiri directions. I think I'll build the thing according to Katagiri's guide, in inches.
I'm a bit nervous about this rags direction. Every rakusu I've seen so far looks like it was store bought or made from new material. If I go through with the rags, my rakusu will look very odd. It doesn't quite seem consitent with Buddhist sensibility to have something so different from everyone elses. It's like wearing red into the zendo. It's just not done. But if everyone else had just followed Dogen's instructions, a raggy rakusu would look so odd.
With this blog I strive to share what I've learned and think about Buddhism. I'm striving to do zazen and follow the 10 precepts. Buddhism seems to be helpful, but shrouded in too much weight and mystery.
I am also hoping to contact people of a like mind - that is - open to the exploration of 'self' and the joys and frustrations of its discovery through Zen. If you react to something written here, I'd enjoy hearing from you. Leave a comment. Comments to posts older than 14 days are moderated.
I hope you find something useful, interesting, whimsical or amusing (as in provoking your muses).
Most people end up here because they are surfing for a picture of a fish bowl. Go figure.....