Passerby
YOGA Arhat's Robe Gull
citation from Dogen Zenji's
KESA KUDOKU (袈裟功徳) The Merit of the Kasaya
Shobogenzo [Book 1], trans. by Nishijima & Cross
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       THE VENERABLE Shanavasa is third in the transmission of the Dharma treasury. He has been endowed with a robe since birth. While he is a layman this robe is a secular garment, but when he leaves home (*) it turns into a kasaya. In another case, the bhiksuni Shukra (**), after establishing the will and being clothed in a cotton robe, has been born with a robe in every life and middle existence. On the day that she meets Shakyamuni Buddha and leaves home, the secular robe that she has had since birth changes instantly into a kasaya, as in the case of Venerable Shanavasa. Clearly, the kasaya is beyond silk, cotton, and so forth. Moreover, the fact that the virtue of the Buddha-Dharma can transform body and mind and all dharmas is as in those examples. [...]
       It is not true that the usual rule of the buddhas applies only to Shanavasa and to Shukra but not to us; we should not doubt that benefit [accrues] in accordance with individual standing. We should consider such truths in detail and learn them in practice. The kasaya that covers the body of [the monks whom the Buddha] welcomes to take the precepts is not necessarily cotton or silk: the Buddha’s influence is difficult to consider. The precious pearl within the robe is beyond those who count grains of sand. We should clarify and should learn in practice that which has quantity and that which is without quantity, that which has form and that which is without form, in the material, color, and measurements of the kasaya of the buddhas. This is what all the ancestral masters of the Western Heavens and the Eastern Lands, past and present, learned in practice and transmitted as the authentic tradition.
 from the translator's notes:
(*) Shukke, lit., "leave home," means to become a monk.
 (**) Senbyaku-bikuni. Senbyaku, “fresh-white” represents the Sanskrit shukra which means bright, clear, pure, white, or spotless. Volume 8 of the Senujuhyakuenkyo says that the bhiksuni (Buddhist nun) Shukra was born wearing a pure white robe that never needed washing, and that when she became a nun, the robe changed into a kasaya.

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