Ikkyu (一休宗純 Ikkyū Sōjun) (1394-1481) was a Japanese Zen Buddhist priest and poet. He was also one of the creators of the formal Japanese tea ceremony.

Ikkyu was born during the Ashikaga shogunate, during the time known as the Muromachi period, when the capital of Japan back was restored to Kyoto from Kamakura. He was eventually named abbot of the seminal Daitokuji temple, placing him in one of the most important Zen lineages. In 1471, at the age of 77, Ikkyu fell in love with Mori, a blind woman over fifty years his junior. He died eleven years later.

Ikkyu is one of the most significant (and eccentric) figures in Zen history. In Rinzai Zen tradition, he is both heretic and saint. Ikkyu was among the few Zen priests who argued that his enlightenment was deepened by consorting with pavilion girls. He entered brothels wearing his black robes, since for him sexual intercourse was a religious rite. At the same time he warned Zen against its own bureaucratic politicising.

Ikkyu wrote in classical Chinese, as did some of the literary men in Japan at the time. His verse is immediate and poignant, insightful and at times moving. He is renowned as medieval Japan’s greatest calligrapher. Additionally, Ikkyu painted with ink.

He is also known as Ikkyuu Zenji. He colected and fixed the quiet sarei rules for Matcha. Thanks to Ikkyuu chado has ever since been directly connected to Daitoku-ji and Rinzai Zen Busshism. All Oiemoto have been trained and ordained at Daitoku-ji. Each Oiemoto also receive a Zen name from Daitoku-ji, this is often the name they are known by e.g. HounsaiZabousai.


The Buddha's law also exists in Tea."
Tea originated out of Zen.


Accidentally, as a young, he broke a favorite tea bowl of his master, and when the master returned, he asked him ‘Why do people have to die?’ The master answered that everything is impermanent and has to die, and that death is a natural proces. Ikkyuu laid the pieces of the bowl before the master and said, ‘It was time for your bowl to die’.

For this article the following page was copied and than changed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikkyu, also some sections are from Tea and Buddhism by Ryofu Pussel.