WE SHOULD LAMENT that in this country of Japan, for ever so long
up to recent times, male and female monks have not worn the kesa,
and we should rejoice that they now may accept and keep to one.
Any householder, male or female, who can accept the Buddhist Precepts should don a kesa of five, seven, or nine panels. How much more should those who have left home to be monks do so! Why would they not wear
one? It is said that everyone from Lord Brahma and those in the
six worlds below him, down to male and female prostitutes and those in
forced servitude can receive the Buddhist Precepts and don the
kesa, so are there male and female monks who would not wear one?
It is said that even animals can take the Buddha’s Precepts and put on
a kesa, so why would a disciple of the Buddha not don the Buddha robe?
Thus, those who would become a disciple of the Buddha be they
denizens of some heavenly state, ordinary folk, rulers of nations, or
government officials, or be they laity, monks, those in forced servitude,
or animals should all accept the Buddha’s Precepts and have the
kesa correctly transmitted to them. This is indeed the straight path
for correctly entering the ranks of Buddha.
When washing and rinsing a kesa, mix various sorts of incense powders
into the water. After it has dried out, fold it up, place it in an
elevated place, make a venerative offering of incense and flowers, and
bow three times. After that, kneel before it and, with hands in gassho,
humbly place it atop your head, and then, rousing your faith, intone
the following verse:
How great and wondrous is the robe of enlightenment,
Formless and embracing every treasure!
I wish to unfold the Buddha’s Teaching
That I may help all sentient beings reach the Other Shore.
After reciting this three times, stand up, reverently unfold the robe, and put it on.
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