Sunday, August 16, 2009

Blazing Turtle Work Group

Just got my rakusu back from Brad, stamped and all.

My Dharma name is

I *think* the proper reading (using On reading instead of Kun) is Nen-kin Rou-ren, which roughly means blazing turtle work group.

When he was visiting, Brad had mused that he might assign Japanese monster names to his initiates (people that take jukai with him), and I had favored Gamera at the time, so that is the source for "blazing turtle." Of course there may be some more poetic tones in that. I'm not too sure. My first reaction is the firery anger/distrust I can express, and the hard shell.

I don't know quite what to make of rou-ren (work gang). It is, of course, a phonetic pun on my name, Lauren. The compound is recognized in some dictionaries as "labor union," but I don't like that concept much. I'm very much a right-to-work kind of guy. However, work gang has some meaning in the sense of a group of people striving to get something practical done.

Now I am setting about learning rakusu chant. There appear to be a few variations on the kanji used to express it, and, of course, some slight variations in the English translation. Here is the Nishijima kanji and translation. See further commentary by Nishijima Roshi here

Chodai Kesa no Ge

大 哉 解 脱 服

無 柤 福 田 衣

披 奉 如 來 教

廣 度 諸 衆 生


Harry said...

Hi Lauren,

Ha! Nice one.

I just say the robe verse in English, but I don't speak any Japanese at all. The meaning of the words are nice.



Jordan said...


Jay Rinsen Weik said...

Hello Lauren - Noticed that you share the interests of both Zen and Aikido. I'm a yondan and senior dharma teacher with James Ford Roshi. Here is a video that I happen to have just posted today on both:

We use english for the verse of the Kesa...

Palms Together,

- Jay

Lauren said...


Yes, I do English too. I'm a bit of a Japanese hobbyist, so I like to work in Japanese too when I can (which often distracts me from *The Point*).


Thanks for stopping by. I watched the video and enjoyed your commentary on both Aikido and Zen.


MyoChi said...

Congratulations, Lauren!!! Getting a rakusu is a big step on the path. When I received mine last year, I felt a sense of affirmation for myself and blessing from my teacher. It warms my heart whenever I see someone getting a rakusu. May your practice deepen every moment!

Lauren said...

Thanks, MyoChi.

At times an albatross, at times a fun cartoon, at times, just it.

Uku said...

Hahhaa, really great rakusu, congratulations!

I chant robe verse in Japanese because my teacher Peter taught me to chant it in Japanese before wearing my okesa (7 stripes okesa). And I'm a blind follower. And because it's not in Finnish at all (it sounds stupid if translated into Finnish, I tried) and I personally feel it sounds funny in English too. So I use Japanese although I don't speak Japanese at all. But it feels natural to chant it in Japanese. We did it everytime in Finland with Brad also in Japanese before we put our silly robes on.

Anyway, take care, Dharmabro!