Chögu itself symbolizes wisdom and is the outermost layer worn during giving or receiving teachings; and taking precepts. This one big garment is made up of 21 smaller pieces of cloth sewn together. In the older times, small pieces of cloth from the cremation grounds were used, making it less likely for the monk or nun to run away, disrobe and flog the robe because of its commercial value.

The 21 patches remind us of dependent relationship and the 21 meditations leading to enlightenment – the Kadam Lamrim. Worn in a way so that the patches look like roof slates, it symbolizes we do not allow delusions to catch on us but wash off us.

The 3 “crows feet” at one corner of each 21 patches symbolize the three higher trainings the higher moral discipline, the higher concentration and the higher wisdom.

Blue stitching on Chögu is to remind us of our tantric moral discipline.

16 stitches at the four corners of the border become the four sets of the Four Noble Truths. They reminds us of impermanence, death and renunciation.

The ears are left frayed to remind us of contentment.

Source: Adopted from “The Sewing Book” from the Madhyamaka Kadampa Meditation Centre, rephrased into smooth sentences and full paragraphs.