Rags to Rakusus: Paco

Lay practitioners of Zen Buddhist lineages who take refuge in the Buddhist precepts and vows prepare and wear a rakusu – a cloth garment around their neck – representing the monastic robe, also known as kesa. In the days of the Buddha, it is said that certain materials called Pamsula were taboo for use by society. This included materials used for shrouds covering the dead, those gnawed by rats, or menstrual rags. These were collected to create the monks’ robes. The late co-founder of the Zen Peacemaker Order, Roshi Sandra Jishu Holmes, first conceived the Zen Peacemaker Rakusu that is made up of pieces of discarded cloth from origins meaningful to their wearer’s life and practice. This series of posts named ‘Rags to Rakusus,’ showcases the personal stories of Zen Peacemakers’ rakusus around the world.

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