What kind of person was Ikkyu Sojun, the famous Japanese Zen monk?

Ikkyu Sojun(一休宗純) was a Zen Buddhist monk in the Muromachi period.

When Ikkyu was 22 years old, he met Kaso Osho(華叟和尚) of Daitokuji Temple in Kyoto and became his apprentice.

Ikkyu attained enlightenment under Kaso Osho.

During his lifetime, Ikkyu never followed the precepts of Zen Buddhism.

That’s why he came to be called “Fukyo(風狂)”.

Ikkyu spent much of his time among the common people, rather than confining himself to a temple and practicing asceticism.

Ikkyu wrote two works during his lifetime. They are “Kyo-un-shu(狂雲集)” and “Jikai-shu(自戒集)”.

“Kyo-un-shu” contains Buddhist teachings called “Geju(偈頌)” and Chinese poetry(漢詩).

The feature of “Kyo-un-shu” is that it contains poems that strongly reflect Ikkyu’s “Fukyo(風狂)”.

In “Jikai-shu”, Ikkyu severely criticizes a monk named Yoso(養叟) for giving simple Zen questions(公案) to townspeople.

Among Ikkyu’s calligraphy works, “Sho-aku-maku-sa, Shu-zen-bu-gyo(諸悪莫作 衆善奉行)” is famous.

This word is a common teaching preached by seven Buddhas including Shaka(釈迦), and the meaning is “Do not do bad things, do good deeds.”

Author : YAMAMOTO Wakako

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