Blazing a Trail

Sallie Tisdale

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BLAZING A TRAIL
Japanese nun Eshun (1362-ca. 1430), the Irresistible One

TO ESHUN, the whole world was kindling—peasants rebelling against harsh conditions only to be tortured and executed, constant battles between samurai bands, a broken court, endless poverty and endless greed.

Eshun never married, refusing to even consider it. Her older brother, Ryoan Emyo, was a well-known monk who founded the temple Saijoji. When Eshun was past thirty, she went to Saijoji and asked her brother to ordain her. He refused.

“If I ordained you or other women, the monks would be corrupted by your presence,” he said. Eshun was a beautiful woman; he didn’t have much faith in the men he trained.

“This life is only for the daijobu ones,” he added. Daijobu means the same as ta-cheng-fu—heroic, noble, grand. Manly.

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