You are here

Instructions for Sewing a Wagessa or Rakusu

Sewing a wagessa

In preparation for taking the Five Precepts, received at a ceremony before the community, the person interested does several things. First, they ask a teacher if they may take the Five Precepts. If they are given permission, they attend precepts classes, write about their personal exploration and understanding of the precepts, and hand sew a wagessa. A wagessa is a strip of cloth symbolizing the Buddha's robe. After receiving the Five Precepts, the wagessa is worn while meditating, on retreats, and at other community functions as an outward expression of the vow to uphold the Five Precepts.

People in the community can help since for many this may be one of the only things ever sewn.

Click here to view and download instructions on sewing a wagessa.

Sewing a rakusu

Jukai is formally becoming a Zen Buddhist. People take jukai after some years of practicing with the community, establishing a relationship with one of the teachers, and taking part in sesshin. The foundation of jukai is taking on the Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts at a ceremony witnessed by the community. These vows are the intention to live ethically and serve as best we can. During the ceremony, people also receive a Dharma name. People who take jukai wear a rakusu, a hand-sewn miniature version of the Buddha’s robe, as an outward reminder of their vows.

People in the community can help as this and the wagessa may be the only things a person has ever sewn.

Click here to view and download instructions on sewing a rakusu.