PZI Teacher Archives

Ikkyu's Attention


A student said to Master Ikkyu, “Please write for me something of great wisdom.” Ikkyu picked up his brush and wrote one word: “Attention.”
The student said, “Is that all?” The master wrote, “Attention. Attention.”
The student became irritable. “That doesn’t seem profound or subtle to me.”
In response, Master Ikkyu wrote simply, “Attention. Attention. Attention.”
In frustration, the student demanded, “What does this word ‘attention’ mean?”
Ikkyu replied, “Attention means attention.”

—Koan Story

Audio November 3, 2020

Audio Excerpt: The Smallest Things

Michelle Riddle

PZI Zen Online: Zhaozhou’s message to a novice, “Wash your bowls.” A zendo plaque, “Look under your feet.” A focus on what’s hidden in plain sight, right under you, obvious and overlooked. That the Golden Crowned Sparrows always return in fall. Ikkyu’s “Attention!”

22' 34"