Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

ian_fleming007
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Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

Post by ian_fleming007 » Thu May 31, 2018 3:50 am

I see many different colored robes that lay people wear. Sometimes I see the ngakpa shawl, I understand that but sometimes I see people in the same sangha but some might be wearing a maroon and some a white shawl. Is there any rhyme or reason or is it just a preference thing?

Many thanks for any guidelines.


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conebeckham
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Re: Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

Post by conebeckham » Thu May 31, 2018 4:09 pm

It's at least partly dependent on lineage and on one's teacher's instructions.

Some centers, mainly Nyingma ones, actually encourage the wearing of ngakpa robes by lay practitioners. Other centers discourage striped zens for layfolks unless they've completed some sort of retreat or advanced training.
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narraboth
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Re: Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

Post by narraboth » Thu May 31, 2018 6:01 pm

If you are a lay person, don't worry too much about shawls. Many people wear all sorts of shawls, and I am not sure how many of those people's teachers requested them to wear it, I think more cases are like they just love to wear different things for different mental reasons. I would say, if your teacher didn't ask you to wear it, don't bother.

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Re: Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

Post by pemachophel » Thu May 31, 2018 7:56 pm

In Tibetan Buddhism, all those who have taken refuge have the privilege of wearing the maroon zen/shawl and some/many Lamas encourage this. Unless a Teacher encourages all His/Her students to wear the "ngakpa" or striped zen (zentra), probably best not to wear this until it has been given to you by your Teacher. As Cone said, traditionally it denotes advanced practice (tsa-lung, tummo). In Nyingma, the all-white zen denotes an advanced Dzogchen practitioner. You decide if that means you.
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yan kong
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Re: Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

Post by yan kong » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:53 am

pemachophel wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 7:56 pm
In Tibetan Buddhism, all those who have taken refuge have the privilege of wearing the maroon zen/shawl and some/many Lamas encourage this.
Really? This is the first I've heard of it.
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florin
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Re: Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

Post by florin » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:48 pm

yan kong wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:53 am
pemachophel wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 7:56 pm
In Tibetan Buddhism, all those who have taken refuge have the privilege of wearing the maroon zen/shawl and some/many Lamas encourage this.
Really? This is the first I've heard of it.
I ocassionaly saw lay practitioners wearing the maroon shawl and that confused me.I thought are they monks, are they lay people, are they cheating, what are they ?
Then at some retreat i attended i saw a couple of lay fat middle age ladies wearing the white-red striped zen and was wandering can they really be advanced tsa-lung yoginis ?Or maybe they completed a long retreat.Who knows ...

Also with regards to the all white garb in nyingma i thought that they were repas, no ? But repas are mainly kagyu aren't they ?
It's all so confusing.
The nature of diverse phenomena is non-dual. This means that both pure vision and impure vision are a manifestation of the energy of the primordial state. Even though in reality there is no duality, everything manifests separately. KG

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Re: Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

Post by pemachophel » Fri Jun 01, 2018 3:51 pm

As for lay practitioners (upasaka & upasika) and red shawls, check out Guru Khyentse Ozer on Facebook as an example. Every person who begins ngondro with Him gets a red zen. My Teachers (close students of H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche & Chatral Rinpoche) had all Their students right from the beginning (meaning early 1970s) wear red zens. These were blessed by H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche. So this was done with His blessing and, I presume, was based on His instruction. You can also check out Rigdzin Ling/Chagdud Gompa students in Watsonville, CA.

I've also notices some serkhyimpa (non-monastic) Nyingma Lamas now wearing a red skirt and white shirt with red and white zen with our without long hair.

There are some other variations as well. For instance, Aro people wear a five-colored zen. ( We don't need to debate the Aro folks.) Once Gochen Tulku Sangngak gave His translator an all-green zen to wear. And Orgyen Kusum Lingpa wore a green and white striped zen.

Bottom line, do what your Teacher recommends/tells you to do/likes. All the rest is someone else's business.
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

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Re: Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

Post by CicadaCanto » Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:46 pm

I made a vow to not comment but only ask questions.

This seems to be appropriate though.

The shawl or robe has whatever meaning we give it.

My root teacher gave me a zen. I wore it to a center in the same lineage, tradition. I had a student pull it off my arm for being inappropriate. So I put it up. No big deal. Then I had another student tell me I was breaking my vows by not wearing it.

I just wanted to practice and take teachings.

I asked my teacher. He said-- wear it, don't wear it. It's a piece of cloth.

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Re: Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

Post by Lingpupa » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:25 am

When the 16th Karmapa made his first visits to the West he gently encouraged all the "refugees" to wear maroon clothing, be it a shirt, a zen or the colour of your cord jeans. A dark red shawl is commonplace for someone who is serious about the dharma.
I do know of student groups where the red-with-white is taken as a mark of having completed a 3-year retreat, or sometimes I believe more strictly than that - the wearer is supposed to have reached some accomplishment in tsalung practices.
But equally there are lamas who say that Guru Rinpoche told his followers to wear red and white robes (the striped zen being an incarnation of that idea) but that he said nothing about three year retreats. A genuine practitioner should therefore wear the appropriate style of red and white (which varies, of course, somewhat, between lineages).
So yes - it all depends.

BTW, florin said that
at some retreat i attended i saw a couple of lay fat middle age ladies wearing the white-red striped zen and was wandering can they really be advanced tsa-lung yoginis?
I have to ask - is it being fat, being middle aged or being ladies that makes you doubt them? Is it possible that preconceptions are rearing their little heads here? :stirthepot:
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Re: Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:58 am

Our teacher instructs those of us that have taken a certain HYT empowerment to wear the striped zen and white shantab during practice and teachings. Recently I made the mistake of washing my striped zen and now it is red and pink instead of red and white. I wonder what the significance of that is? :tongue:
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Re: Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

Post by PeterC » Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:29 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:58 am
Our teacher instructs those of us that have taken a certain HYT empowerment to wear the striped zen and white shantab during practice and teachings. Recently I made the mistake of washing my striped zen and now it is red and pink instead of red and white. I wonder what the significance of that is? :tongue:
You have breached the samaya of dry-clean only. Fortunately it can be mended by a fire puja involving the old zen

I did see someone make that mistake once, on day two of a week-long teaching. He turned up on day one with a beautiful zen - bright white, dark red and offset by deep blue stripes. Clearly brand new. After his laundry mishap it was a pink and purple mess. Felt very sorry for the guy. Since like all other stripy-zen-wearers he was seated at the front, in the row behind the ordained sangha (why is that, btw?), everyone could see it for the rest of the teachings

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Re: Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:39 pm

PeterC wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:29 pm
After his laundry mishap it was a pink and purple mess.
I had to wash mine. I have been wearing it on and off for the past two or so years and then wore it ten days straight in Thailand (Bangkok). Those ten days were the last straw, it was just too smelly and stained to not be washed... Cold water wash with salt and vinegar and two colour traps and STILL it turned out pink!
...he was seated at the front, in the row behind the ordained sangha (why is that, btw?), everyone could see it for the rest of the teachings
Because in the Tibetan traditions Ngakpa are (kind of) part of the ordained Sangha.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

Post by Norwegian » Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:58 pm

You can see how the assembly here is seated, with Dudjom Rinpoche giving a teaching - ngakpas/lay practitioners with Dudjom Rinpoche on one side, and monastics on the other:
Image
Image

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Re: Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

Post by PeterC » Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:02 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:39 pm
PeterC wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:29 pm
After his laundry mishap it was a pink and purple mess.
I had to wash mine. I have been wearing it on and off for the past two or so years and then wore it ten days straight in Thailand (Bangkok). Those ten days were the last straw, it was just too smelly and stained to not be washed... Cold water wash with salt and vinegar and two colour traps and STILL it turned out pink!
Do you still wear it?
...he was seated at the front, in the row behind the ordained sangha (why is that, btw?), everyone could see it for the rest of the teachings
Because in the Tibetan traditions Ngakpa are (kind of) part of the ordained Sangha.
I guess it’s more practical than asking everyone at the door which specific vows they hold and placing them in order....

@Norwegian - it’s when this is translated to a western context that it becomes entertaining

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Re: Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:05 pm

PeterC wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:02 pm
Do you still wear it?
I am going to dye it all maroon and then wear it. Unless you want a pink and maroon zen, in which case tell me and I can send it to you. :smile:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

Post by Mantrik » Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:15 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:05 pm
PeterC wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:02 pm
Do you still wear it?
I am going to dye it all maroon and then wear it. Unless you want a pink and maroon zen, in which case tell me and I can send it to you. :smile:
You could always bleach it and re-apply the stripes with a pint or two of red wine. ;)
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Re: Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:28 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:15 pm
You could always bleach it and re-apply the stripes with a pint or two of red wine. ;)
Mainly I am pissed off because it was a present!
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

Post by Mantrik » Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:44 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:28 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:15 pm
You could always bleach it and re-apply the stripes with a pint or two of red wine. ;)
Mainly I am pissed off because it was a present!
Seriously, I'd try bleach rather than a dark dye. If it is thin you could always then attach another thin zen to it. I've seen maroon stain skin..not always a good look.
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Re: Meaning of different colored meditation shawls

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:12 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:44 pm
Seriously, I'd try bleach rather than a dark dye. If it is thin you could always then attach another thin zen to it. I've seen maroon stain skin..not always a good look.
Bleaching is not going to work, as it will destroy the maroon and coloured stripes. It's easier to dye it all maroon and get a white strip stitched on to it.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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