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The Daily Dharma – June 12, 2021

Featured Full Moon Marina Reflection Painting Seamus Berkeley

Continuing from The Story of Shunkai . . .

In this particular temple the wife of the head priest became jealous of Shunkai’s earnestness and beauty. Hearing the students praise her serious Zen made this wife squirm and itch. Finally she spread a rumor about Shunkai and the young man who was her friend. As a consequence he was expelled and Shunkai was removed from the temple.

“I may have made the mistake of love,” thought Shunkai, “but the priest’s wife shall not remain in the temple either if my friend is to be treated so unjustly.”

Shunkai, that same night, with a can of kerosene, set fire to the five-hundred year-old temple and burned it to the ground. In the morning she found herself in the hands of the police.

A young lawyer became interested in her and endeavored to make her sentence lighter. “Do not help me,” she told him. “I might decide to do something else which would only imprison me again.”

At last, a sentence of seven years was completed and Shunkai was released from the prison, where the sixty-year-old warden also had become enamored with her.

But now everyone looked upon her as a “jailbird.” No one would associate with her Even the Zen people, wo are supposed to believe in enlightenment in this life and with this body, shunned her. Zen, Shunkai found, was one thing and the followers quite another. Her relatives would have nothing to do with her. She grew sick, poor, and weak.

Full Moon Marina Reflection Painting Seamus Berkeley