Hangesa/wagesa

Hangesa/wagesa

Postby Seishin » Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:35 am

Can anyone tell me who created the hangesa/wagesa? http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/d ... atues.html scroll down if you don't know what they are.

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Re: Hangesa/wagesa

Postby Aemilius » Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:09 am

There was some discussion before on the topic of buddhist clothes here in Dharma wheel. There have been explanations about the Hangesa/Wagesa on some sites, can't find them anymore, as usual! Because it is used by all or most japanese sects there probably are different explanations for it. And because of the presence of modern world buddhism it seems that they have adapted in Japan and have changed its explanation and history.
An older explanation is that the word Gesa comes from Kesa/Kashaya, and it derives from a laybuddhist's white robe, and it really is the white robe, i.e. Kashaya of a layperson. They are in different colours, like white, golden and purple, the colours have symbolic meanings, gold for bodhisattva precepts, and purple is the colour for veteran or venerable laybuddhists. White is the traditional lay colour in indian Buddhism.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kasaya_(clothing)
White robes have been used also in tibetan buddhism by lay buddhists, in early Nyingma, by Jetsun Mila, etc... The development of lay Kasaya into Gesa or Wangesa has probably taken place in Japan. I don't know if there is anything similar in Korean or Chinese buddhism ?
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Re: Hangesa/wagesa

Postby plwk » Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:31 pm

Yes Aemilius, there are interesting developments of robes for both lay and monastics in Chinese Buddhism but as this is the Tendai forum and I have no answer to the OP, I shall stop here.
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Re: Hangesa/wagesa

Postby Jikan » Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:53 pm

This is a good question. I don't have a specific enough answer. Seishin, if you get a chance to ask Ganshin, please let us know what he knows.
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Re: Hangesa/wagesa

Postby Seishin » Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:13 pm

I have already asked but he's not sure. It's not incredibly important or anything. I had read somewhere (can't for the life of me remember where) that a Tendai monk (possibly Ennin?) created them whilst in China to avoid persecution. That they were easy to conceal under clothes. :shrug:
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Re: Hangesa/wagesa

Postby rory » Fri Mar 30, 2012 5:18 am

Tendai robes as well as all Japanese buddhist robes come from the Korean/Chinese model. But I found a nice discussion of the development of the kesa here:
http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma10/robe.html
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Re: Hangesa/wagesa

Postby Aemilius » Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:23 am

Thank you. She talks about the small Rakusu that is used in the Zen tradition, and she thinks that the development of Kashaya into Rakusu took place already in China. And the Rakusu is worn also by laity in the Zen schools. It would be easy to see how Rakusu was further simplified into Wagesa. But she doesn't go into that topic.
Wagesa is used also in the Shin or Pureland schools and the Nichiren schools.

The real story of the rakusu/wagesa is probably this one: At one time in chinese history buddhism was severely perscuted, monks and nuns were forced to become laity. To remind themselves of their buddhist vows they designed the Rakusu, which was worn unseen, under their normal garments.
(Information from a Soto Zen monk)
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Re: Hangesa/wagesa

Postby Jikan » Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:34 pm

I've heard similar regarding the wagesa & the rakesu.

As far as the specifics of who and when the wagesa & hangesa, that's still an open question (although I haven't read the article Rory provided yet)
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Re: Hangesa/wagesa

Postby Seishin » Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:12 pm

Thank you all for your answers. I guess it's one of those things that we shall never know. I like the hangesa and I think it's great for lay people also.

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Re: Hangesa/wagesa

Postby Aemilius » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:48 am

Seishin wrote:Thank you all for your answers. I guess it's one of those things that we shall never know. I like the hangesa and I think it's great for lay people also.

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Re: Hangesa/wagesa

Postby Aemilius » Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:04 pm

Wikipedia article about lay buddhists ( Upasaka and Upasika) says that Wagesa is lay kasaya/robe, or its symbolic form.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Up%C4%81saka_and_Up%C4%81sik%C4%81
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Re: Hangesa/wagesa

Postby Doko » Thu Apr 05, 2012 2:43 am

Seishin wrote:I have already asked but he's not sure. It's not incredibly important or anything. I had read somewhere (can't for the life of me remember where) that a Tendai monk (possibly Ennin?) created them whilst in China to avoid persecution. That they were easy to conceal under clothes. :shrug:


I heard the same story. I heard that Ennin kept rolling the robe collar over again and again so it would be easier to conceal.
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Re: Hangesa/wagesa

Postby jikai » Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:56 pm

Hi Guys,
I also heard the story that Ennin created the wakesa commonly used today. The story i heard was perhaps less poetic than some however. As I understood it Ennin designed the simple wakesa used today merely as a more 'managable' item of clothing than the larger traditional variants. I too am not sure where i came across this however so i will advise if i come across anything. Perhaps i shall asked Ara sensei, or Eikan and Ryodo sensei...
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Re: Hangesa/wagesa

Postby Aemilius » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:54 am

Pilgrimage Guide of the Shingon School says that Wagesa originates from Buddha Shakyamuni's original robe, it wore down during the years till only a two inch wide strip of cloth was left.
http://shikokuhenro.10-yen.net/info/thesis.php#wagesa

Same story about the origin of the Wagesa is found in Shugendo for Sissies
http://www.shugendo.org/Pages/henro-tabi.html
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