Monday, 25 April 2016

Ikkyu Sojun



When Ikkyu Sojun was abbot of Daitokuji, a layman approach him and said:
            “Master, you are renowned both for your wisdom and the beauty of your calligraphy. It would be a great honor if you would write down some words of guidance which I could hang on my wall and reflect upon.”            
Ikkyu took up his writing brush and, with a flourish, wrote the single word “Attention” on a sheet of paper.
            “‘Attention?’” the layman read.  “Could you elaborate?”
            Ikkyu wrote a second time, “Attention.”
            That’s not much,” the layman protested, uncertain whether his request were being taken seriously or not.
            Ikkyu wrote one more time, “Attention.”
            “Okay, okay,” the layman spluttered.  “But what does ‘attention’ mean?”
            “Attention,” Ikkyu told him, “means Attention.”

[Ikkyu Sojun – Zen Masters of Japan: 128-40]

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