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The Daily Dharma – June 11, 2021

Pigeons on domes of Jama Masjid, Delhi, India with the surrounding neighborhood in the foggy background.

The Story of Shunkai

The exquisite Shunkai, whose other name was Suzu, was compelled to marry against her wishes when she was quite young. Later, after this marriage had ended, she attended the university, where she studied philosophy.

To see Shunkai was to fall in love with her. Moreover, wherever she went, she herself fell in love with others. Love was with her at the university, and afterwards, when philosophy did not satisfy her and she visited a temple to learn about Zen, the Zen students fell in love with her. Shunkai’s whole life was saturated with love.

At last in Kyoto she became a real student of Zen. Her brothers in the sub-temple of Kennin praised her sincerity. One of them proved to be a congenial spirit and assisted her in the mastery of Zen.

The abbot of Kennin, Mokurai, “Silent Thunder,” was severe. He kept the precepts to himself and expected his priests to do so. In modern Japan whatever zeal these priests have lost for Buddhism they seem to have gained for having wives. Mokurai used to take a broom and chase the women away when he found them in any of his temples, but the more wives he swept out, the more seemed to come back.

To be continued . . .

Pigeons Jama Masjid Delhi Image Seamus Berkeley