As my second blog, I’d like to introduce samue as the perfect attire for practicing Zen.

Introduction of Japanese Zen World to the West

Many people outside Japan know about Zen thanks to Daisetsu Suzuki. Japanese Zen culture became known overseas largely due to the publication of numerous English translations of his own writings on Zen as the Buddhist scholar D.T. Suzuki, which led to a Zen boom in the United States in the 1960s. Zen has spread throughout the West, beyond the boundaries of religion, as an ideology, and has been loved by many people, including Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Inc.

Zen art such as Hakuin's Zen paintings is also very popular among overseas collectors of Japanese art, and the popularity of Zen has spread worldwide.

Yoga: The Origin of Zen

Zen originated from yoga. These days, many people practice yoga, making it a big market, too. Yoga has a very long history, originating in India. According to one of the theories, it is even said to date back to the Indus civilization, which flourished from 2500 to 1800 BC. The famous founder of Buddhism, the Buddha, is said to have practiced yoga and attained enlightenment. From ancient times, Yoga has been practiced as a method of meditation and self-realization. Today, yoga is practiced by many people around the world, regardless of religious beliefs, and has become more like a new type of exercise. Most people participate in yoga lessons for fitness and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

This method of meditation was passed down from Buddha to one of his disciples, and more than 1,000 years later, a great monk introduced it to China. This is what is known as Zen. Much later, Zen was introduced to Japan throughout the Nara period to the Heian period (710-1185).

Flourishing and Development of Japanese Zen Culture

When Zen Buddhism was introduced to Japan during that period, its teachings spread from t he samurai to the common classes, and the Muromachi shogunate began to protect and control Zen Buddhism. Zen temples were built throughout Japan, and in Kyoto, the seat of the Muromachi Shogunate, the five Zen temples flourished, with Nanzenji at the top. In addition to training and thought, Zen-based arts and culture flourished, including ink painting, calligraphy, and garden cultivation, which eventually led to the tea ceremony. In this way, Zen formed the backbone of Japanese culture.

Zazen: Meditation leads you to self-realization and enlightenment of life

Zazen, a form of seated meditation, is at the very heart of Zen practice. Zen is known as the “meditation school” of Buddhism. Zazen is the study of the self. Master Dogen said, “To study the Buddha Way is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self, and to forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things.” To be enlightened by the ten thousand things is to recognize the unity of the self and all things. The Buddha sat in meditation to realize his enlightenment, and for 2,500 years this meditation tradition has continued, passed down to us from generation to generation. The Buddha’s meditation practice spread from India to China, to Japan, to other parts of Asia, and then finally to the West. The essential aspects of zazen are fairly easy to communicate and are important for both beginning and mature practitioners. At the same time, a person’s experience of meditation can change profoundly if they practice consistently. With consistent practice, zazen transforms our mind, heart, and life.

Samu (chores at Zen temples) + e(clothing) = Samue

Many people know about kimono, but most people don’t know about samue.

Samue is originally worn by Zen priests. In Zen Buddhism, in addition to zazen meditation, some practices involve working outdoors, and these are called samu. The "samue" is worn when performing this work, and is generally divided into upper and lower garments. The history of samue is surprisingly short, and it is believed to have originated in the Edo period. Originally, it was called "nagasamue," or "long samue," and was generally worn with an upper garment that reached to about the knees, as is now worn by temple priests. Inspired by the "monpe" worn during World WarⅡ, the samue was made with the top and bottom separated for ease of movement, as we see today.

Master the Zazen Posture with Our Samue for Comfort and Ease

Zen can be practiced in everyday life. It is a way of disciplining oneself, appreciating all things, eliminating waste, and rethinking one's way of life. These fundamental principles lead to Zen and Zazen's practice.

There are three key ingredients of Zazen. Posture, breathing, and adjusting your mind. Here, we focus on unraveling the importance of the "zazen" posture and introducing the perfect zazen clothing: samue – your key to unlocking tranquility and comfort. When it comes to practicing zazen, it's not just about the right posture – the clothing you wear matters too. And that's where "samue" comes into play, ensuring the perfect blend of comfort and tradition.

Imagine a posture that naturally eases tension, allowing your body to relax and your mind to find calm. Zazen is all about achieving a comfortable and spontaneous position and samue helps you gently release the muscles that tend to hold onto stress.

For instance, samue are supposed to wear loose. So, you won’t feel tightness in your arms, chest, waist, and legs. That’s why your whole body feels at ease when

practicing Zazen. Also, you can adjust and loosen the waist size with the threads to feel more relaxed. On the other hand, if you feel like you want to sit straight through the practice, just tighten up the waist threads a bit.

Moreover, we have two types of samue. You can choose a samue with loose sleeves if you want to feel more relaxed and don’t want to feel tightened while practicing Zazen. Or you can wear a samue with elastic sleeves and hem if you want to feel relaxed and make yourself a little straightening up at the same time.

Recommended Samue for Zazen Practice:

5090 Kaihara Denim 11oz Samue

5090 Kaihara Denim 11oz Samue

This samue is made of luxurious denim fabric from Kaihara, which boasts the top market share in Japan.

Through Zen practices, your mind changes, and so does the color of the denim fabric as you keep wearing it.

1051 Tate Slub Samue

1051 Tate Slub Samue

By using "slub yarn", the texture is rustic and soft, creating a vintage look, and making you feel calm when wearing it.

Also, since this samue is made of thin and soft cotton, you can wear it all year round.

5038 Stretch Twill Samue [HIJIRI]

5038 Stretch Twill Samue [HIJIRI]

Hijiri refers to a saint or someone with remarkable virtue and wisdom, often associated with high priests.

In response to many requests from temple priests, we created this new type of loose-fitting samue. The simple twill fabric is characterized by its soft texture, excellent elasticity, and resistance to wrinkling.

This samue is also easy to care for because it is made of 100% polyester. You can wear it for your daily Zen practice.

Our samue and jinbei are unisex, suitable for anyone who wants to experience the charm of traditional Japanese garments.

Let's dive into the world of Zen with our samue, which not only feels great but also helps you enhance your experience of the Zen World. You will be amazed by its comfort and you can enjoy practicing Zen regularly with our samue!

Tags: Culture Samue