San-e. In Buddhism and according to the most ancient texts, every monk or nun has to wear three different kesas.
The anda-e ( in Chinese: an to hui, in Sanskrit; antarvasas). It is also called tan-e: simple clothing, ge-e: lower garment, gojo-e: five stripes robe…
The uddara-e ( Ch: yu to long seng, Sans: uttarasamga)
The sonyari-e ( Ch: seng chia ti li, San: samghati)
In Theravada, the monk wears three robes one on the top of another. The first one ( antarvasas) is a kind of underwear and is wrapped around the waist. The uttarasamga is unfolded on the left shoulder and the samghati is used as a coat.
Originally, the anda-e was seldom used. According to the Vinayas, a monk could wear it if he was on his own, sick,crossing a river or looking for a new kesa. Later on, in China, other clothings were introduced and gradually the anda-e stopped being a kind of underwear. Monks started to wear it on the top. This robe has changed a lot, and the rakusu that we all know well is one of its forms ( the two other kinds of anda-e in Zen the Okau, large rakusu that one wears on the left shoulder and the hangesa , “half kesa” that is given to lay people).
The uddara-e is also known as the shichijo-e, robe of seven stripes, each panel being made of two long segments and a short one. It is the monk’s kesa, it is used for sitting, taking meals, rituals.
The dai-e, is the big robe. It can be made of nine, eleven, thirteen, fifteen, seventeen, nineteen, twenty-one, twenty three or twenty five stripes. It is used for rituals and ritual begging (takuhatsu).
The rule is for monks and nuns to always have the three kesas with them. That’s why we have now a set of three small kesas called “shosanne”. In Japan, all the disciples of kodo Sawaki carry these three kesas with them.
In the next post I shall introduce the sewing of the nine stripes kesa.