Ikkyu : Like Vanishing Dew

Ikkyu Sojun (1394–1481 CE) was an eccentric, iconoclastic Japanese Zen Buddhist monk. It is generally held that he was the illegitimate son of the Emperor and a low ranking noblewoman of the court. He entered monastic training at a young age, but spent most of his life living outside the rules, including having a long relationship with a blind singer, disregarding the monastic rule of celibacy. Near the end of his life, he reluctantly accepted the role of abbot of Daitokuji temple.

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

Translation Sam Hamill

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.