The word kesa derives from the phonetic of the Sanskrit word Kasaya, meaning the colour ochre. After his awakening, Shakyamuni Buddha picked up old, discarded shrouds, washed them, dyed them and stitched them together. This is the monks’ robe which later became the symbol of master-disciple transmission.
The kesa is made out of rectangular strips of cloth which evoke rice fields. It is dark-coloured. It is not only a garment but also the symbol of Zen spirit.
« All the sutras, all the Buddhist teachings, the whole universe, the mountains, seas, trees and flowers, even rocks, all express the merits of the kesa. But to have direct contact with it, to wear it, study it or sew it, are rare opportunities. It is a huge privilege, a great merit from our past karma. If you have this experience, even if it is just for a little while, for the space of a few hours, always retain a deep gratitude for it ».