Saturday, April 14, 2012

Blending In

Aeons ago, just after my Zen Tukai Jokudo ordination, I was having a fierce argument in a corridor with a
governor about whether I could wear my token kesa. This is a token robe, essentially a two inch strip of
black cloth worn hanging from the neck. The Gov wasn't having any of it, even if I wore it beneath my
"It will make you stand out!", and he wasn't having such flamboyance perturb his uniformity. As he spoke, a Sikh walked past, sporting the most fluorescent yellow turban in the land. The governor and I stared at each other in the unspoken common knowledge that we had both seen this apparition and it made utter nonsense of the Gov's declaration.
I'll give him his due. He didn't bat an eyelid. Or retreat a single inch. It is this level of shamelessness in the face of reality that is the hallmark of the modern prison manager.


  1. Sikhs and their attire are a well known and accepted part of life around the world. Whereas some obscure cloth around your neck is probably more particular to yourself and maybe a handful of others only. Still I'm not against wearing whatever anyone wants to or starting and promoting your own cult either, just saying : )

  2. Ha, Buddhism a minority pursuit?? Ben.

  3. I don't think Buddhism is a minority pursuit, its a religion for every day. The Buddhists I know don't make a big deal of their attire, they just wear it to as big or as little effect as they so desire. Its a shame you were singled out for wearing what you wanted to, but, like I say most Buddhist here do not tend to make a big fuss about their clothes and their identity as Buddhists, I think they think and probably rightly, that the philosophy in their religion needs no dressing up and can speak for itself.

  4. Refusal is simply controlefreakery and nothing more