January 18, 2014

The Wise Words of Ikkyu Sojun.

Ikkyu Sojun is my favorite historical Buddhist teacher.

He was an iconoclastic and eccentric Zen monk and poet from Japan in the 1400s. He challenged the authority of other Buddhist teachers and challenged preconceptions at every turn.

Here are some Ikkyu quotes that you may not have read before:

“Every day, priests minutely examine the Law
And endlessly chant complicated sutras.
Before doing that, though, they should learn
How to read the love letters sent by the wind and rain,
the snow and moon.”

“Like vanishing dew,
a passing apparition
or the sudden flash
of lightning—already gone—
thus should one regard one’s self.”

“Look at the cherry blossoms!
Their color and scent fall with them,
Are gone forever,
Yet mindless
The spring comes again.”

“Many paths lead from the foot of the mountain, but at the peak we all gaze at the single bright moon.”

“don’t wait for the man standing in the
to cut off his arm help him now”

“fucking flattery, success, money.
I just sit back and suck my thumb.”

“Studying texts and stiff meditation can make you lose your Original Mind.
A solitary tune by a fisherman, though, can be an invaluable treasure.
Dusk rain on the river, the moon peeking in and out of the clouds;
Elegant beyond words, he chants his songs night after night.”

“don’t hesitate get laid that’s wisdom
sitting around chanting what crap”

“Watching my four year old daughter dance
I cannot break free of her.”


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Editor: Bryonie Wise


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