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Ikkyū

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Ikkyū

Postby Bodhidharma on Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:43 pm

Image

How did Ikkyū attain enlightenment/satori when he saw sex as a religious rite?

我手何似森手
My hand, how it resembles Mori's hand.
自信公風流主
I believe the lady is the master of loveplay;
發病治玉茎萌
If I get ill, she can cure the jeweled stem.
且喜我会裏衆
And then they rejoice, the monks at my meeting.

Ikkyū was among the few Zen priests who argued that his enlightenment was deepened by consorting with pavilion girls.

This "priest" would have been kicked out of a Theravada monastery so fast its not even funny. Theravada monks cannot have sex at all and cannot consume any intoxicants in any manner. Laypeople can if they show restraint and its not "deviant".
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Re: Ikkyū

Postby littletsu on Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:11 pm

So what is in conflict with what here? It is not clear for me from your post.

I wonder if the character of the mendicant priest in Kwon-taek Im's Mandala was based on the character of Ikkyu...
合うは別れの始めだ。
有燈就有人。
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Re: Ikkyū

Postby TigerDuck on Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:17 am

Sex is an empty play of appearances.
Chanting is also an empty play of appearances.
Both share the same nature.

Just like shake hand, nothing special with chanting and sex.

If someone chants and he feels good, but while when he has sex he feels guilty, he doesnt realize reality yet.

(Unless he has a vow not to have sex and he breaks it, that is a different case; he is faulty in the sense that he breaks his vow).

Through nonconceptuality, he is immovable.

[Nagarjuna]
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Re: Ikkyū

Postby [james] on Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:14 am

TigerDuck wrote:Sex is an empty play of appearances.
Chanting is also an empty play of appearances.
Both share the same nature.

Just like shake hand, nothing special with chanting and sex.

If someone chants and he feels good, but while when he has sex he feels guilty, he doesnt realize reality yet.

(Unless he has a vow not to have sex and he breaks it, that is a different case; he is faulty in the sense that he breaks his vow).


If moment awareness is unshakeable then sensual fulfillment, chanting, shaking hands etc. are all to be carefully and compassionately savoured. Whatever habit actions or inclinations that make an obstacle to moment awareness are best examined and perhaps rejected. I'm wondering if a vow not to have sex might have some other purpose than simply avoiding strong distraction. Perhaps Ikkyu fathered children. Is the vow to not have sex or is it to not engage in procreating activity? Is there an understanding in realized liberation that what should actually be avoided is opening the door to samsara ?
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Re: Ikkyū

Postby Caodemarte on Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:35 am

I seem to recall that Ikkyu traced his own sexual compulsions and some other psychological problems to the sexual abuse he received as a young postulant and illegimate child of royalty. He does not seem to be advocating drunkeness or promiscuity or suggesting that they would be a better path to enlightenment than a healthier lifestyle. He played the cards he was dealt while absolutely despising hypocrisy.
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Re: Ikkyū

Postby TigerDuck on Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:36 am

[james] wrote:Is there an understanding in realized liberation that what should actually be avoided is opening the door to samsara ?


If someone truly realizes, there is nothing to be avoided. Instead everything is embraced with single taste.

But, if someone not yet realizes, then avoiding some things can be beneficial. However, if this person has realized more and more, what he/she previously avoided shall be embraced gradually until everything can vividly arise as the play of reality.

So, it is foolish for a beginner to mimic the behavior of Ikkyu.
Enlightened being can feel joyful in a hell, everywhere is the same. Ignorant being cannot.

But, also we cannot just behave like a sick child, must go beyond the comfort zone to expand the challenge.

Through nonconceptuality, he is immovable.

[Nagarjuna]
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Re: Ikkyū

Postby Chrisd on Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:41 pm

Maybe honestly asking yourself whether having sex helps you with your spiritual development is sufficient.
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Re: Ikkyū

Postby island on Fri Jan 23, 2015 2:06 pm

The context is important I think; it is not necessarily understood or transferable unless some of this is situated. Ikkyu was rebelling against corruption and hypocrisy. A lot of his "activities" and words were directed at various things that he was seeing and experiencing.

So he is reported to have torn up his "enlightenment papers," inka. Does that mean he was rejecting enlightenment? No. He was making a point about the times, where apparently such "paperwork" was just bureaucratic nonsense and possibly abused rather than deeply meaningful or telling of anything at all.

Closer to the "red thread Zen," he wrote a poem about going to the brothels where the girl pouring drinks had more Zen than the monks chanting. Did he mean that we should all give up on Zen practice and hit the bar scene? No. Again it was a provocative thing directed at something else, the rote practice of monks versus authentic awareness seen in someone humble.

Beyond that, this idea of "red thread Zen" is not just Ikkyu or Zen. Several religious sects have acknowledged sexuality as a vehicle for realization. It is a "vehicle" though, meaning a way, not the thing itself, but a pathway.
The way is to get out of the way of the way.
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Re: Ikkyū

Postby Caodemarte on Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:33 pm

All things, including crimes and stupidity, are pathways. This includes not committing, renouncing, and repenting crimes and stupidity. I don't want to be reborn as a fox!

I always sensed that Ikkyu had a very tragic life. Nevertheless he seems to have become both a poet and a true person. This does not mean we should all have tragic lives in the hope that this will make us poets. I don't think anybody is advocating that kind of naivety here, but I am reminded of the young Romantics who wanted to get TB and a lingering, miserable death in the belief this would make them great poets! They succeeded in dying miserably of TB.
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Re: Ikkyū

Postby Michaeljc on Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:21 am

It is important to take into consideration the typical Japanese attitude towards sex, that persists to this day.

They are generally free from the sort of hang-ups commonly found in developed Western societies.
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Re: Ikkyū

Postby island on Sat Jul 16, 2016 8:46 am

I've been reading and trying to translate Ikkyu lately. He was quoted in the daily Tricycle dharma quotes just a few days ago. His influences on both Zen and Japanese arts (tea ceremony, calligraphy, poetry, pottery, architecture, etc.) were profound and long lasting. He was an abbot at the most important monastery in Kyoto. It is not as though he did not practice Zen. He had tragic aspects to his life. Who doesn't? That does not account for his brilliance or "Crazy Cloud" ways. He was blunt and direct. Institutionalized religions become routinized. Weber wrote about that a long time ago. Ikkyu was trying to wake people up who were lost in the idea of Zen not the reality of life or how Zen approaches that reality. The tradition of Red Thread Zen is not unique to him nor is the "Zen Radical" ways. There are scholarly books about others. One I was looking at is by Bernard Faure entitled The Red Thread: Buddhist Approaches to Sexuality. Faure is an expert on Medieval Japanese Buddhism. There are other books on Zen radicals from the Medieval and Early Modern periods. I don't understand why anyone would see a Medieval Japanese Zen master without understanding the context and ways that were not unique to Ikkyu or his personal history, of which we only know via anecdotal stories. As David Loy has written, the world is made of stories. The problem is not the stories, but the belief that the stories are reality. That by definition is delusion. Or as another Buddhist master put it, don't believe everything you think.
The way is to get out of the way of the way.
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