The Real World ... Blogger Style: Ikkyu: Zen master, whore master

Monday, December 18, 2006

Ikkyu: Zen master, whore master



Ikkyu was a 13th century Zen monk. He was renowned for his licentiousness, his libidinousness, his propensity for bibbling sake, and for flouting monastic conventions. He was enlightened at the age of 27 when he heard a crow caw as he rode in a boat on lake Biwa (I think). His nicknames were "Crazy Cloud" and "Crow with No Mouth". At 60 he fell in love with Blind Mori, a courtesan. He wandered around carrying a human skull which he flourished at every opportunity, reminding people of the evanescence of human existence.

Here are a few of his poems:

don't hesitate
get laid
that's wisdom.
Sitting around chanting--what crap!

and:
sick of it, whatever it's called
sick of names
I dedicate every pore to what's here.

and:
all the bad things I do will go up in smoke
and so will I.

(also, please note, the brown bib thing he is wearing around his neck is a rakasu--a miniature buddha robe. I am sewing one at the moment.)