Ikkyu is the manga biography of the famously irreverent and controversial Buddhist monk Ikkyu from the late and great manga artist, Hisashi Sakaguchi. Set in 14th century Japan, Ikkyu must learn to live and excel as a monk, despite his aristocratic background, erratic behavior and struggle with the monastic ties to the government. Legend paints him as a troublemaker, rude, violent and a heavy drinker but with deep spiritual roots and charisma. Kicked out of the monastery and wandering around as an eccentric, he was surrounded with the writers and artists of his time. The manga is mostly based upon popular stories about Ikkyu’s antics and rghtly has a mature rating. My personal favorite part of the Ikkyu mythos is the story that his first satori was initiated by the caw of a carrion crow following the death of several villagers after a flood – a harbinger of the monk’s wandering life and acceptance…
Read the series (almost) online here.
Check out more on some Buddhist comics over at Elephant Journal’s Top Six Buddhist Inspired Comics..
and my favorite Ikkyu verse.
I have been ten days in this temple
and my heart is restless.
The scarlet thread of lust at my feet
has reached up long.
If someday you come looking for me,
I will be in a shop that sells fine seafood,
a good drinking place,
or a brothel.