Lice? Hmmm. The rest? Zen Mastery.


Ryokan was a Zen master, hermit, calligrapher, and poet. He was known for his great kindness – he would pick lice out of his robe, place them outside so that they could get some sun and then later put them back into his robe. He smiled continuously, and people said that when he visited they felt “as if spring had come on a dark winter’s day.” He took the name “Great Fool” for himself. When a thief stole his few simple possessions, he wrote this famous haiku:

The thief left it behind:
the moon
at my window.

Roderick MacIver




  1. incredibly powerful stuff in so few words. why i love haiku. why i love zen. why i love.

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  2. hocuspocus13 says:

    Reblogged this on hocuspocus13 and commented:

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  3. Very good, it’s all in the attitude Ryōkan! A good way to start 2016 🙂

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  4. That which is the most cherished, can’t be taken…

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  5. This made me smile David! ❤
    Diana xo

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  6. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    ZEN ….

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  7. Wow. Brilliant. ( except for the lice licking ?) ☺

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  8. My he was so kind, gentle and giving…First do no harm…when lice infest I think that means there is an imbalance? /// When I read the word “Lice” I became solely focused… I thought back to when we were children, and in this situation, unkind and naughty…. We looked at the National Geographic at the neighbors house, there were six of us girls there that day 3 out of 4 of the sisters from my family and the tiny in stature “L” three sisters, The Nat Geo had a story with half naked women from a different culture and lice was being addressed in the article & in that culture they ate buggy grubs, too…We made up a little ditty about “Lice Ain’t Nice” and convinced the youngest neighbor that she must have lice cause she was no longer nice…none of me and my sisters had ever seen a louse but one of the neighbor girls have had lice, at some point, which brought their Mother to tears….for a time during the summer and after school started we would tease the littlest sister, you do remember that “Lice Ain’t Nice”…she became a hair stylist…the boundary line for the K-8 went down our street…so of course the kids at their school were naturally, germ infested….We also played Barbie, Midge and Christie going out on dates with Ken & GI Joe..we had Barbie Cars and Houses…by then Skipper was always too young and pessty and left out… but that is a different & more involved story when we were a bit older….Ha, ha…I had the privileged of visiting with those wonderful three sisters and their sweet parents at my Mom celebration of Life earlier this year….

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  9. There’s compassion, and then there’s yampy. Master could have easily *left* the lice outside once picked off.

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