Sunday, August 14, 2011

Heretic & A Saint

I've posted on Ikkyu before, but he deserves to be revisited. He is one of the most significant (and eccentric) figures in Zen history and one of my favorites as well.

To Japanese children, he is a folk hero, mischievous and always out-smarting his teachers and authorities In Zen traditions, he is both a heretic and saint. Ikkyū was among the few Zen priests who argued that his enlightenment was deepened by consorting with ladies of the evening. He wandered into brothels wearing his black robes, since for him the act of sexual intercourse was a religious rite. He was adamant against what we call fundamentalists of his day. He warned Zen against its own bureaucratic layering of useless ritual and rites.
Usually he is referred to as one of the main influences on the Fuke sect of Rinzai zen, as he is one of the most famous flute player mendicants of the medieval times of Japan. 
He is also credited as one of the great influences on the Japanese tea ceremony, and renowned as one of medieval Japan's greatest calligraphers and sumi-e artists. Ikkyu was also renowned for his poetry written in Kanbun style of Classical Chinese.
My hand, how it resembles Mori's hand.
I believe the lady is the master of loveplay;
If I get ill, she can cure the jeweled stem.
And then they rejoice, the monks at my meeting
Ikkyu is my 'hero'...he keeps me from getting too wrapped up in 'right' or 'wrong' and allows me to just enjoy where I am at. I don't plan on emulating his behavior as I don't think my wife would approve :-), I am not much of a beer drinker...but on these hot summer day, ah, they taste good. Thank you Ikkyu.

Hands palm to palm,

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