Great Robe of Liberation – Oct. 7

Great Robe of Liberation: The creation, care and transmission of textiles in Zen practice.
with Shosan Victoria Austin
Saturday, October 7
9 am – 3 pm. Lunch included

This is a special workshop for Zen priests and teachers, offered in conjunction with Dharma Field Zen Center, Minnesota Zen Center and Clouds in Water Zen Center. Rev. Shosan Victoria Austin is a treasured Zen sewing instructor, and will provide valuable information to our local teachers. This hands-on workshop is part of a multi-day, multi-sangha series of events. It is designed for Zen priests but open to all who are interested.

In this workshop, participants will observe and discuss teaching demonstrations of robe skills modeled by volunteers from participating sanghas. Activities will include:

  • Meditating together with fellow priests and teachers from local sanghas on the teachings in the robe chant; 
  • How to wash and care for Buddha’s robe, including a live washing ritual of  one or more volunteers’ rakusu and okesa;
  • A “Ruining Ceremony.”  Tenjo (点浄), “mark of purification.” Shosan will share her experience with the practice, and may guide one of our teachers to show it;
  • Calligraphy on the back of rakusus. We will learn ink making and intention brought to marking the back of the Rakusu. Shosan will share her process and actually complete the inscription on the back of a rakusu with prepared ink.

Shosan Victoria Austin began practicing Zen in 1971. She trained in the U.S., in India, and in Japan, and is entrusted as a Dharma heir in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, an international Soto Zen priest, and a Dharma teacher at San Francisco Zen Center. In 2022, she co-led the training and participation of the Ryoban (ceremonial assembly) for the Zenshuji 100th Anniversary Jukai-e in Los Angeles. 

Shosan studied everyday sewing skills with Mrs. Mitsu Suzuki, and began her study of Buddha’s robe with Kasai Joshin-san in the 1970s. One of her early practice teachers was the MZMC founder, Dainin Katagiri Roshi. She studied with and assisted her elder Dharma sister, Zenkei Blanche Hartman, in the San Francisco Zen Center style of sewing Buddha’s robe. Shosan was instrumental in the creation of a six-month non-residential online practice period in June 2021, called Sewing with Heart, offered by the Zen Buddhist Sewing Teachers and Everyday Zen, where 70 sewing teachers and apprentices from the U.S., Canada, Britain, Ireland, Germany, Italy, and Russia participated. 

In addition to her deep study and daily teaching of yogic aspects of meditation—in diverse settings including workplaces, institutions, and homes—Shosan serves as an Iyengar yoga teacher, teacher educator, assessor of new yoga teachers, and Right Use of Power facilitator. In her offerings, she emphasizes inclusion, accessibility, trauma sensitivity, and appropriate challenge, grounded in awareness of the possibility and presence of liberation.



Clouds in Water relies on a Gift Economics Model of resource transparency, suggested sliding scale tiers and no set fees in order to balance financial sustainability, the Buddhist practice of generosity, justice and equity. Clouds in Water is a community supported temple, relying primarily on the donations and class fees that our sangha offers.

Sliding Scale – All are welcome. No one will be turned away for lack of funds!

  • Level 1: $200 (covers teacher payments, Clouds admin/staffing, food, and makes it possible for more people to attend who cannot afford the full amount)
  • Level 2: $125 (covers teacher payments, Clouds admin/staffing and food)
  • Level 3: $75 (covers Clouds admin/staffing and food)
  • Your Level: You choose the amount. No one is turned away due to inability to pay.

“We know in our hearts that there is a different way to be, a different way to live. Our generosity with one another is indeed resistance to the greed and fear that oppresses us. We provide for one another out of love for each other and love for ourselves. When we give, we acknowledge that all beings want to be happy.”

-Jacoby Ballard

Registration ends 10/3/23.  If you wish to register after registration has closed email