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Thread: Zen Women - Chapter 9, page 198 - end

  1. #1

    Zen Women - Chapter 9, page 198 - end

    Hi everyone,

    This week we get to hear that story of a modern woman of zen! Ok to be fair we have heard from/about a few other modern female practitioners, but I particularly enjoyed the story of Kim Ilyop this week.

    Finishing out this chapter we get to hear the stories of three wonderful women, Kim Ilyop, Yoshibime and Abbess Soshin. I personally enjoyed the stories of Ilyop and Sohin. But Yoshibime is a great example of someone who definitely was studying other women and understood their meanings.

    Ilyop, I find particularly interesting since she is a more modern example of women working through the sometimes conflicting natures of being a Nun/monastic while being a feminist racial writer. In all honesty, if I was a faster reader I would probably pick up her books because the little information we get here about them make them sound fascinating. This particularly, "In her third book she included advice to those seeking happiness through romantic love." This conversation is something which is rarely talked about.

    Additionally, I think her prospective as first a secular writer gave her the ability to know how to speak to people. It is noted that her writings were in a standard Korean alphabet, so they were accessible to more people to read than most writings which were being done in Chinese.

    Soshin took her teachings to the people, she worked directly in the palace to the Shogun's inner quarters. This was directly to women who would have been living in a situation continually surrounded by "gossip, intrigue and sexuality." Soshin didn't shy away from things that made life hard for those she was determined to help, but instead told them to embrace it and find ease there. I love the following quote from here:

    This is finding ease in [midst of] everyday life; this is true joy... Therefore, you don't have to go away to the mountain; it is within your own mind.
    I don't know about anyone else... that sounds really similar to this one teacher I know.

    In any case, I was particularly impressed by both of these ladies. They took Buddhism and brought it to women. They didn't put constraints on cutting out an entire portion of life.

    I don't have any particular questions to pose on this reading, but what struck you about these ladies?


  2. #2
    I really liked the story of Kim Ilyop and have been trying to to track down a reasonably priced copy of her memoirs. I like that she didn't shy away from what made her her outside her practice as a monastic and how that ment she could help other by not distancing herself from life outside the monestary. Seeing a nun writing about love and affairs must have been quite a thing and shows how sexuality, particularly female sexuality isn't something to be brushed under the carpet and not talked about, but can be embraced and shown as part of life and therefore practice.

    I also liked reading how Soshin took her teachings to those who really needed them. I guess the criticism here is that she was not helping them leave or change their position in the harem, but I think we have to acknowledge that isn't always possible and she was bringing great comfort to people.



  3. #3
    Trying to think of modern examples. Jakucho Setouchi is something of a celebrity in Japan and a well known face on TV. She doesn't shy away from the personal and had a full and colorful life before ordaining as a Tendai nun.


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