In our particular practice after the first meditation of the day we place a small vestment on our heads and recite a short set of words. Those who have formally taken the Buddhist precepts in our tradition do at least. Other Buddhists do it other ways.
Anyhow, when its done in our tradition, this taking of the Precepts formally, the small vestment called a wagesa is given to the person as part of a ceremony. When I received mine, I didn’t give much thought to where the wagesa came from. I had my mind on other things. I’ve never forgotten the kind eyes of the monk who gave it to me and placed it around my neck – “come a little closer” he said. I think he just needed to get at my neck, I was sitting a bit back but honestly, those words have stuck, and they have been taken as a teaching too.
I have bemoaned my sewing skills on this blog in the past. And frankly I doubt I have the interest to follow up on this. I have had opportunities do more sewing and it seems I would rather spend the time on new knitting techniques, learning to weave, doing other things.
Wagesas though, are essentially long slim tubes. Straight lines, a bit of ironing. And within this simple sewing it is interesting how the whole gamut of daily life, how thoughts come and go through my poor old brain as I sew.
These objects are cared for deeply. When somebody makes the decision to take the Precepts formally its a big deal. I can’t even begin to imagine what goes through someone’s mind when they do this. All I know is how momentous it was for me, with reverberations continuing to this day.
I have been offered help on the knots – they are Chinese knots of eternity. Not that hard to make, but a bit tougher to connect and sew onto the wagesa so they look tidy and dignified.
Sewing this morning was good. I wonder who made my wagesa all those years ago.