Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The monk Taigu Ryokan (1758-1831), beloved by all, beggar and wanderer, naive clown, clouds eater and lover of the brush wrote the following lines in Chinese :

On my journey home, I had come as far as the Itoi River, when I fell ill and had to stay the night in a certain home. As I listened to the rain, I suddenly felt a shiver run down my spine and composed this poem:

A robe and bowl are everything I have in the world
With this frail body, I burn incense
And sit
All night, a gentle rain fills the darkness outside
My long years of hard travel are now over


Blogger Michael Tait said...

Winding Cloth

A blanket lain of yielding snow
Across bruised knees of barren hills.
Aeon-washed knuckles of river-bed granite
Enfolded in silt, clothed in weed.

Shrouded in sea-mist,
Mountain cloud and soft rain.
Exploding with distant stars,
Stitches on this firmament.

Light-dappled, needle-strewn
A clearing in Summer pines
Limpid pool, bough-hung, deeply green
Water-fly skirts the meniscus

A quiet hall for monks of this order
Trees of that forest prostrating there
Sitting upon my friendly grave
All things move in stillness.

Pierced with rain, flecked with snow,
Old wisdom’s mud-drenched ancestor
Sits beneath the robe of this life.
As this brightness, visible.

8:13 AM  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Probably I should just silently bear witness, instead of leaving my dirty footprints. But here I am, tramping through like a noisy sightseer.


9:30 AM  
Blogger Michael Tait said...


Where are all the sewers? I for one have recommended this site to everyone I know including some academics. You may receive some unwanted attention from Buddha boffins Pierre.

In fact I am beginning the nine-stripe kesa with some hemp I have badly dyed so this site is invaluable to this sightseer.

Now with my head like a bright new pin I must go and sell some pots!

Love to all.

2:47 AM  
Blogger Pierre Turlur said...

Hi Floating weed;

I am glad to hear you are starting a 9 stripes kesa in hemp. Hemp is really one of the best fabrics and very traditionnal ( many old kesa are made of hemp, the one pictured on this site with a Chinese style is a 400 years old hemp kesa, nine stripes...not mine).

If your dye is not good enough, you can dye it again but please leave it quite a while gently boiling away always stiring the fabric ( fabric can burn easily if you leave it too long). And then. let it soak. Don't rush things ( as we are all tempted to do). Remember though that if you want a pitch black fabric, forget it, it just doesn't work.

Would you need the measurements for a nine stripes kesa, I can put them on this blog, give me your nobechu and I will display the information.

Thanks to spread the word. Tell people to help themselves, no copyright on this blog.

Buddha bless

4:22 AM  
Blogger Michael Tait said...

Thankyou Pierre, my nobechu is 45cm.

The bad dye work has resulted in a subtle variegation across the fabric which at first I thought was ugly but now see as a kind of wonderful serendipity.

So it will be a patchy, patch robe.



7:02 AM  

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