Accurately preserving, embodying and transmitting Kodo Sawaki’s nyoho-e teachings about sewing, wearing and encountering Buddha’s robe.
Many people in the West are unaware that Kodo Sawaki was one of the two key figures in the 20th century nyoho-e movement that taught and encouraged practitioners in Japan to sew robes by hand in specific ways. While a number of Western and North American practitioners have some experience of nyoho-e sewing, and some may be deeply involved in it within their temples or sanghas, few realize that the 20th century movement started in Japan itself and comes from within Sanshin’s own dharma family. Thus the modern nyoho-e movement is a significant element of Sanshin style, and we must accurately preserve, articulate and transmit that legacy.
We aspire to be responsible for collecting and offering the most complete and accurate set of resources possible related specifically to our dharma great-grandfather’s nyoho-e teachings and practices. Anyone of any lineage is welcome to use those resources for their own practice. Sanshin’s nyoho-e practice is not limited to those who have taken precepts, either as laity or as clergy. There is something of interest and meaning to all practitioners, whether or not they sew or wear robes themselves.
Kodo Sawaki's 20th century nyoho-e movement
While practicing with Ryoun Fueoka in Tamba, Kodo Sawaki noticed that his robe was different in fabric and construction from the average one worn by other Buddhist monks. He was intrigued by this and had a strong aspiration to learn more about this style of robe and the practices that went with it. Later he met a Shingon-ritsu nun who was also wearing a nyoho-e and he embarked on research about the background of these robes including, importantly, putting much attention on the teachings and practice of an Edo-period monk called Jiun Sonja. A scholar, reformer and calligrapher, Jiun made a deep study of the Vinaya, and Sawaki Roshi was heavily influenced by these works in his own research and writing about nyoho-e. LEARN MORE
Chapters 2 and 3 now available: A Study of the Kesa by Echu Kyuma
Sawaki Roshi encounters the nyoho okesa
Foreword and Chapter 1 now available: A Study of the Kesa by Echu Kyuma
Coming in 2024
Shingon nuns and Sawaki’s nyohoe study
Jiun Onko ( Kokiji) and Sawaki’s nyohoe study
Sawaki roshi's first nyoho-e kesa (15-jo Funzoe)
Nyohoe movement in the 1930s
Soto School regulations and nyohoe
How the sewing group ‘Fukudenkai’ started
The teaching of ’E hou ichi nyo’ ( 衣法一如）The robe and the dharma are one
Commentaries on Shobogenzo Kesakudoku ( Virtue of kesa) and Den-e (Transmission robe)
Kesa without self expression: Nyohoe and commercially made kesa
More translated chapters from Great Robe of Liberation: Study of Kesa by Echu Kyuma
Sanshin Style nyohoe sewing
Ehou ichinyo 衣法一如: Dharma and nyoho-e are one
In the "Dene" 伝衣 (Transmission of the Robe) and "Kesa kudoku" 装裳功徳 (Merit of the Robe) fascicles of the Shobogenzo 正法目艮藏 (Treasury of the True Dharma Eye), Dogen Zenji makes the point that the that Buddha's robe and Buddha's teaching are one and the same. Dharma leaders in the late Tokugawa (1603 – 1868) period understood that these teachings about the Buddha's robe were an essential element of the practice that Dogen had been transmitting, and they studied not only the Shobogenzo but also the Vinaya, or temple regulations. This set the stage for Sawaki Roshi's 20th century nyoho-e movement.
Coming in 2024
Study of ehou ichinyo that support our broader understanding of Buddha’s robe and what it means within Soto Zen.
Teachings related to wearing, handling, washing, storing and otherwise encountering and working with robes, whether our own or our teachers’.
Technical construction of robes and necessary collateral items such as zagu and cases.