Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Bukko Kokushi




                Hojo Tokimune, the regent to the Shogun, heard a story about a Chinese Zen master whose temple had been raided by Mongol invaders who intended to put all the monks to death. The master remained calm in the face of the attack and asked the leader of the soldiers to allow him time to compose a poem to mark the occasion of his death. While the soldiers waited with drawn swords, Bukko took up his calligraphy brush and wrote:

          
In all this world there is no place for me to lay down my staff
Subject and object are totally empty! How delightful!
The great sword of a famous warrior of the past—
It is as if a spring breeze were split by a bolt of lightning.

               Impressed by the equanimity with which the monk faced his impending death, the soldiers retreated without harming any of the members of the community.

               The monk was Bukko Kokushi, and Hojo Tokimune brought him to Japan from China to be his own teacher.

[Bukko Kokushi – Zen Masters of Japan: 74-77]

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