This year, for the first sesshin of 2011, we had again the great good fortune to have Sensei Kaaren Wiken with us at the ASZC teaching us to sew Buddha’s robe. According to Kaaren, Sensei, “Buddha’s robe is the dharma,”

insofar as it is a visible expression of Buddha’s teaching that we also carry on in our lives. Kaaren herself carries on the tradition of sewing instruction that she learned from Tomoe Katagiri who, in turn, learned from Eshun Yoshida, Roshi. All of us had a wonderful time together, not without frustration, but nevertheless, sewing, chanting, and eating delicious food. Kaaren demonstrated Buddha’s patience with us all, and without exception we completed a considerable portion of our respective projects. A wholehearted thank you to Kaaren, Sensei, to those of our senior dharma brothers and sisters who were there to help, and to everyone else who supported us (especially the wonderful cooks) in our efforts!

Joyfully this tradition is being passed on to Zen practitioners in America. It was Kaaren's teacher, Tomoe Katagiri, the wife of Katagiri Roshi, whose teacher, Eshun Yoshida Roshi, first brought the tradition from Japan.

Tomoe Katagiri's book and sewing instruction, "Study of the Okesa, Nyoho-e: Buddha's Robe", is available for download here:

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