Zen priests who want to be stylish (and stylish people who want to look like Zen priests) need look no further than Bon, a Hiroshima-based fashion house.
According to their website, Bon’s goal is to “create a casual style based on the priest aesthetic.” Using input from priests about the clothes they’d like to wear, Bon added slightly modern, fashionable touches to traditional priests’ clothing. As the company’s popularity grew among priests, Rocketnews reports, they started receiving orders from laypeople as well.
Despite the simple aesthetic, Bon’s clothing doesn’t come cheap. A work tunic and pants, made from bamboo and available in five colors, sells for 27,300 yen (or around $273), while a denim version is slightly cheaper. Other items available include bags, scarves, and a rain poncho. You can check out the full collection on Bon’s website (though you may find it hard going unless you know Japanese).
Bon is hardly the only company taking inspiration (and a little cultural cachet) from the Buddhist regions of Asia. At Paris Fashion Week this winter, for example, Louis Vuitton unveiled a collection of menswear inspired by the Himalayas. Vuitton’s creative director, Kim Jones, visited Bhutan and Nepal after his last show, explaining that he was fascinated by European explorers’ search for Shangri-La. Combining French suits with furs, yak wool, traditional Bhutanese embroidery, and snow leopard designs, the collection was well-received by fashion critics.
Roselee Bates says
I know that Zen Aesthtic clothing is the clothing of the future. It will have a clean classic line with beautiful material that pleases the eye and mind. It will not disturb nor over-power the person nor environment. It will be made from Natural fibres.
Michael Flinn says
“It is just that this is the conduct of the patch-robed monks, the tradition of the sons [and daughters] of Buddha; and therefore we follow and practice it.” Dogen
So much for renunciation, patched robes, and simplicity. What is the Zen Aesthetic? Is this just another Dharma Burger?
Rod Meade Sperry says
Often, the 'Burger is in the eye of the beholder.
It's not April1 yet ….
Michael Flinn says
Put some cheese on it, and it’s a Dharma Cheeseburger. 🙂
I am eagerly awaiting the appearance of some dimwit of a monk (or barring that, half such a monk) richly endowed with a natural stock of spiritual power and kindled within by a raging religious fire, who will fling himself unhesitatingly into the midst of this poison and instantly die the Great Death. Rising from that Death, he will arm himself with a calabash of gigantic size and roam the great earth seeking true and genuine monks. Wherever he encounters one, he will spit in his fists, flex his muscles, fill his calabash with deadly poison and fling a dipperful of it over him, drenching him head to foot, so that he too is forced to surrender his life. Ah! what a magnificent sight to behold!
The Zen priests of today are busily imparting a teaching to their students that sounds something like this:
"Don't misdirect your efforts. Don't chase around looking for something apart from your own selves. All you have to do is to concentrate on being thoughtless, on doing nothing whatever. No practice. No realization. Doing nothing, the state of no-mind, is the direct path of sudden realization. No practice, no realization – that is the true principle, things as they really are. The enlightened ones themselves, those who possess every attribute of Buddhahood, have called this supreme, unparalleled, right awakening."
People hear this teaching and try to follow it. Choking off their aspirations. Sweeping their minds clean of delusive thoughts. They dedicate themselves solely to doing nothing and to making their minds complete blanks, blissfully unaware that they are doing and thinking a great deal.
When a person who has not had kensho reads the Buddhist scriptures, questions his teachers and fellow monks about Buddhism, or practices religious disciplines, he is merely creating the causes of his own illusion – a sure sign that he is still confined within samsara. He tries constantly to keep himself detached in thought and deed, and all the while his thoughts and deeds are attached. He endeavors to be doing nothing all day long, and all the while he is busily doing.
But if this same person experiences kensho, everything changes. Although he is constantly thinking and acting, it is totally free and unattached. Although he is engaged in activity around the clock, that activity is, as such, non-activity. This great change is the result of his kensho. It is like water that snakes and cows drink from the same cistern, which becomes deadly venom in one and milk in the other.
this is so cool!