In 2010 the Silent Thunder Order (STO) will formally adopt and implement a tradition of sewing of vestments, including rakusu and Okesa. The former is for Discipleship or Lay Ordination (Zaike Tokudo), the latter for Novice Priest Ordination (Shukke Tokudo) ceremonies. Individuals may still elect to purchase a rakusu at an additional cost, but sewing of the Okesa will now be a requirement. We will continue our present practice of purchasing wagesa for Initiation (Jukai) for the foreseeable future. We will also teach those who elect to follow this tradition how to sew envelopes for carrying vestments, oryoki cloths and other such standard items as needed. broken_pine_needle_sm

Owing to the time required to complete a sewing project, all nominations of candidates must be confirmed in advance, allowing a lead time of at least six months to the ceremony. For this reason, all affiliate Practice Leaders (PLs) are to set calendar dates certain for their Affiliate or confirm that they will attend Atlanta's scheduled date, so that all nominees can be confirmed in a timely fashion. In general, if the ceremonies are to be performed at the Affiliate location, the date should correspond to the visit of STO (Abbot) for retreat, or be coordinated with the schedule at headquarters temple (ASZC). All sewers should be confirmed by December 15, 2009.

We will have a sewing teacher come to Atlanta in late January, tentatively for a 4-day workshop over Jan 22. Those sewing this year will be instructed by her and must help pay for travel expenses and dana. Dan Joslyn and Cherry Zimmer are coordinating.

I can give personal testimony as to the effectiveness and meaning of this tradition, having undergone training at Austin Zen Center during my practice period there. I encourage all Disciples of STO to engage to the degree that is feasible within the demands of your family and work life.