Ikkyu was a famous Zen priest and poet of the 15th century, who was however on more than one occasion overwhelmed by sexual desire. He finally caught a sexually transmitted disease. When he was dying a knowledgeable friend brought him some of the remedies of the time. However he refused to take them with the words: “No, I don’t to take them, I feel ashamed.”

The friend said: “Well, you had a love affair. Tell me, who was it?”

Ikkyu got up, took some paper and picked a brush. Then he wrote in his beautiful calligraphy: “O true original face, it was for love of you that I demeaned myself.
And I have not been the only one. Shakyamuni and Bodhidharma too gave up royal status for a mean one in their search for you.
And I was searching for you.”

 

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