On the way of the kesa

By Vinciane Mignolet - Head of the Brussels dojo (Belgium)


11. kesa

The practise of the kesa is inseparable from the practice of zazen.

As one day we sat on the zafu, one day we sewed our first stitch.

With little or big difficulty, it doesn't matter.

At the beginning, like for zazen, the practice of the sewing requires some willpower, some technique.
Effort of attention to the posture of the body, to the breathing, to the step in kinhin.
And then, stitch after stitch, to let go the fighting mind, the judging mind, the mind that wants to achieve a result valorising for our ego.
Looking for the balance point between rigour and flexibility.
Without rigidity neither self-satisfaction.
With regularity and without haste.
Always present in accomplishing the precise gesture of the needle, the right measure of the fold, the mind rid of expectation of a result, of a deadline.

Abandoning the ego, this is not “my stitch” like this is not “my zazen”.
Giving up to the mind that goes beyond.

And then, to abandon the “personal” kesa, before the Master hands it over to us.

Now we are linked by the never interrupted thread of the transmission lineage to the Dharma.
The never interrupted thread of the kesa.
Quoting Master Dogen: “If you wish to receive the transmission of the holy teaching, receive and protect the kesa, the right kesa must be passed on to you, the one which was transmitted since Buddha Shakyamuni, from patriarch to patriarch.”

And the way goes on… 

Carrying on learning, chanting the Kesa Sutra, exercising the right gesture to put the kesa on.
Starting clumsily, without letting go into the carelessness of habit later on.
Carrying on again and again to cultivate our fukuden, our “field of happiness”.
And we find out that the Kesa has an immediate influence on our body attitude, on our movements, on our mental attitude, on our mind. “Dai sai gedapuku”.

An influence going far beyond ourselves.
An influence shining on the Sangha.
Keeping the kesa always present in our mind and in our heart, it influences all our life, the others, sentient beings, the universe.

Hand, mind, heart in unity.

“The sky, the earth, the entire universe are only a one and same kesa. Nothing exists out of it”.
Kodo Sawaki.

In gassho:



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