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Tony Grist

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Ikkyu [Jan. 28th, 2019|10:23 am]
Tony Grist
 Ikkyu was a rogue. He drank, he went with girls, he looked like a tramp. He was also a holy man- and acknowledged as such in his lifetime. This state of affairs is almost unthinkable in any of the Christian sects - where- in spite of Jesus's fondness for whores and crooks and beggars- holiness has always been bound up with middle class morality. 

There are lots of stories about Ikkyu. He was the kind of person around whom stories accumulate; some of them may even be true. Here's one of them.:

Ikkyu turns up at a rich man's house dressed in rags. The rich man gives him a small coin and tells him to bugger off.  Later he comes back in the robes of a zen abbot (which is what he was) and the rich man invites him in for dinner. Just as the meal is being served, Ikkyu strips of his robes, puts them on his chair and makes to leave. "What are you doing," wails the rich man. "What you wanted," says Ikkyu, "it's my clothes you asked to dinner, not me."
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