I first heard the koan about Ryonen on the Daily Buddhism podcast. At first, I was struck by the Zen teachers’ reactions to Ryonen since their views on her beauty offended my more contemporary feminist attitudes. The story stuck with me and I kept thinking about it. The more I sat with it the more I saw my reaction change. I now do not see Ryonen as a victim of a male-dominated culture in this story. Instead, I see her astounding dedication to Zen and her liberation through non-attachment embodied by her actions.
Download the score: Ryonen’s Clear Realization