Ikkyu was pretty cool, I guess, sort of....


Perhaps I was a little tough on Ikkyu in that last entry. He still remains one of my favorite Zen masters, as silly and superfluous as that is--having a "favorite" Zen master. You wanna see me be really sacrelig? You should hear some of my thoughts about that old windbag Dogen. Ikkyu was certainly more entertaining and probably insightful than Dogen was. But don't tell any of the Zennites that I said that.

They all work diligently for their satori, the Zennite do. Few of them get it, and if they're at least a little bit honest with themselves about things, they try to downplay the importance of satori, and therefore their failure to experience one. If they're not honest with themselves about anything, they convince themselves that some minor insight they had about something was a major satori and they are now enlightened beings. They write books about "being in the now" or how to use spiritually to be "successful." If they're really full of themselves, they'll write a book and/or make youtube videos about what to do "after enlightenment" as if enlightenment exists and there's anything different to do after it supposedly occurs. Not that I know a damned thing about enlightenment, but I imagine that you still pay your student loan bills and occasionally overcook your pasta. Regardless, the important thing is to make money and allow people to worship you as a "guru" of some kind so that you can bang your hottest, most vulnerable followers.

Ikkyu himself worked hard for his satori. Bankei, another Japanese Zen master, almost died working for his. Bankei lived for years in something that can only judiciously be called a "hut." It was more like a freestanding closet made of mud. He sat there for days, weeks, maybe even months (NB that it's been years since I read about Bankei, so I don't know how long exactly he lived in that little closet. Might have been years for all I know.). He didn't eat, there was no heat and he rarely slept. He became severely ill and his peers thought he would die at any moment. All he did was meditate and continue to meditate. Then, one moment, it happened. It all fell away.

If I remember correctly, Ikkyu was on a boat when he experienced his satori. He heard the caw of a crow and it all fell away.

"That one crow up there
I swear he's calling my name." 
--Thought Caw, to himself

And, yet, after satori, Ikkyu was mostly concerned with getting pussy  and when Bankei became a teacher, he seemed amused when all his students wanted to do was meditate.

There's an important lesson in those facts, for anyone with the right karma to see it.

There's a blood moon tonight
but I'm too tired
to give a shit. 

Attempting Zazen
I think of Sarah Marie
And long for booty

No snow, no ice here
Everything's too mild
and beautiful
what a rotten place to live
what a lame January. 

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