Ikkyu (Ikkyu Sojun), Ikkyu (Ikkyu Sojun) poetry, Buddhist, Buddhist poetry, Zen / Chan poetry,  poetry,  poetry Ikkyu (Ikkyu Sojun)
Japan (1394 - 1481) Timeline
Buddhist : Zen / Chan

Poems by Ikkyu (Ikkyu Sojun)
Books - Links

Ikkyu Sojun's poetry is irreverent and iconoclastic, bitingly critical of false piety, hypocrisy, and formalistic religion. His poetry is often frankly erotic, sometimes humorously so. Yet his poetry manages to reach an immediacy and insight that is the essence of Zen practice.

Ikkyu was appointed to be the head priest of the great temple at Kyoto, but he renounced the position after just nine days, denouncing the hypocrisy he saw among the monks around him. In a famous line from one of his poems, he told his fellow monks they could find him in the local brothel instead.

Though clearly not of an ascetic temperament, Ikkyu was a poet, calligrapher, and musician who viewed the world with a deep insight that permitted no pretense, favoring direct truth over religious and social facades.

He founded what became known as the Red Thread (or erotic) school of Zen.

Poems by Ikkyu (Ikkyu Sojun)

Recommended Books: Ikkyu (Ikkyu Sojun)

Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter Haiku Enlightenment: New Expanded Edition The Poetry of Zen: (Shambhala Library) Crow With No Mouth: Fifteenth Century Zen Master Ikkyu Zen and Zen Classics
Wild Ways: Zen Poems of Ikkyu Ikkyu and the Crazy Cloud Anthology: A Zen Poet of Medieval Japan

Related Links

Verses of Ikkyu

Several Ikkyu poems by a few different translators.


A brief description of Ikkyu's poetry and significance within Japanes Zen. Includes some of his erotic poetry.

From Ikkyu (1400s) - His Poem Skeletons

Some of Ikkyu's poetry on death.