The Story of Ikkyu


Ikkyu Sojun is one of the most famous zen priest.
He was born in AD1394 at Kyoto.
He was a imperial family, but his mother had left from imperial palace because of political struggle.

I can say, he is also one of the most familiar zen priest for people.
Same as Ryokan.

When he became to 6 years old, he entered to Ankokuji temple, Rinzai sect.
When he was 13, he already had superior skill of literature and he was a famous young zen monk in Kyoto.

He is well know as very strange priest.
He ate meet, he had wife and he loved sake.
He had been criticizing to the zen philosophy of that era.

He always had bokken with beautiful red sheath.
In short, he wanted say that look gorgeous but poor inside.

There is a most impressed story about Ikkyu which is related with above fact.

There was a very rich merchant in Kyoto.
One day, his wife was dead unfortunately.
The merchant decided to invite Ikkyu for funeral because Ikkyu is the most famous and highest rank zen priest in Kyoto.

Next day, a monk visited to the mansion of the merchant.
The monk looks very poor and dirty.
He entered to the garden of the mansion.
The monk said "Sir, well, I heard you need monk for funeral...".
But, the merchant really got angry to him.
"I didn't need you, poor monk! Get out from here.".
The poor and dirty monk apologized and left from the mansion.

After next day, a priest who wore beautiful and gorgeous religious vestment visited to the merchant.
"Oh! your grace, Ikkyu, I was waiting for you, sir. Please start the funeral for my wife.".
Ikkyu smiled and agreed with him.
But Ikkyu didn't move from the garden.
The merchant was wondering about him.
Ikkyu was suddenly took off his kimono and religious vestment.
Then, Ikkyu completely became naked.
"So, have a nice day!".
The merchant was really upset about his action.
"Oh! your grace, Ikkyu, please stay here and start the funeral!".
Ikkyu said,
"You just need my religious vestment, not me.".
"Excuse me, sir?".
Ikkyu said,
"Actually, I came to here yesterday. But you excluded me. Today, I also came here with my religious vestment. You welcomed me. Therefore, I thought you need my religious vestment instead of me. Am I wrong?".
"Oh, no! He was you, sir!".
The merchant deeply ashamed very much and apologized to Ikkyu.
Of course, the merchant became a religious believer of Buddhism.

This is one of the famous story of Ikkyu.

SD120106 Fudoan Hekishusai