Stories/Koan/Parables: Mother’s Day


“Eshun was a nun at the monastery of Saijoi. The abbot of Saijoji wanted to send a message to the abbot of the great temple of Engakuji, which was known for it’s rough treatment of outsiders. None of the monks from Saijoji dared to go; only Eshun was willing to volunteer. When the Engakuji monks saw her walk through the main gate, one of them rushed forward, raised his robes to expose himself, and said: “This monk’s thing is three feet long. How about it?” 

Eshun calmly lifted her robes, spread her legs and said, “This nun’s thing is infinitely deep.” She dropped her robes and continued down the corridor, unbothered.


Happy Mother’s Day lovers. I am posting this story today because it is the best thing I know that illustrates the untouuchable wizardy of womanhood. Eshun was a nun in a Japanese monastery during a time when being a woman and being a reclusive meant you were treated as one of the most pitiful of society. Most nuns would have no husband and no children; they were driven only by their practice, something considered to be of little use to a functioning society. But even as the ‘lowest’ of the low, Eshun stood out as the most brave, most bold, most daring of them all.

The abbot of he monastery probably decided to test his students, see who was up for taking on the Engakuji challenge. But none of his male students would take the bait while Eshun easily accepted the task. I presume she did not agree out of any sort of arrogance but simply because she knew she could.

Here is a difference between gods and goddesses. The gods put in effort when they feel like the outcome is reachable, through enough effort, after overcoming enough obstacles. But goddesses simply move freely into their prosperity, propelled only by knowing it’s theirs to be had.

I don’t think Eshun was at all worried about the ‘little boys over in Engakuji.’ Even as a woman without children, she was most surely skilled in dealing with them. And #letsbehonest, most men who have not surrendered to a powerful woman in some form or another are mostly likely still operating like a child.


These monks she would meet, although honorably surrendered to a reclusive, restrictive, renunciant lifestyle (trying really hard), never married, and therefore never had to learn how to deal with women. Eshun was not afraid of children.

She arrived at the monastery and of course the first thing one of the men does is show her his “thing.”

*I’m just laughing right now*

Isn’t this exactly what we men do when we meet a woman who ‘threatens’ us in some way or another? I’ll show her my thing! My status, my wealth, my intelligence, my social skills, my friends, my car, my blah blah blah blah blah. 

In the case of the monk in this story, it can be assumed that he was not only showing off his masculinity but also investigating her spiritual understanding in the manner that many Buddhist/Zen monks were known to do in those days. This is what made the Engakuji monks so difficult to deal with for newcomers, their ability to challenge your compentence was astounding. They would do something so outrageous, so nappropriate, and so incomprehensible — and if you react? AHA! You’re just a person, clearly not having reached their level of enlightenment.

This is what kept Eshun’s peers back at the monastery in Saijoji: They did not want to be exposed!

But what I love about Eshun — well one of the things I love about Eshun — is how this confrontation was of absolutely NO concern to her. The power play, the spiritual challenge, the crudeness, the audacity, and the basic rudeness of meeting a guest in this manner, was completely inconsequential to her. HAVING attained Herself, she did not feel the need to prove anything to him. I know this because she made no remark about his claims, or about him at all. This nun, this goddess, simply demonstrated her divinity by showing him THE path through with all Buddhas and Enlightened Beings must pass.


Eshun: “There is what is born and that which gives birth. I AM THAT!” *drops mic*

In this moment she not only demonstrated the absolute power of femininity and motherhood, but also the inviolable power of the great beyond, the emptiness from which the universe is born, the undivided, the supreme eternity, THE creator of this little Universe that y’all playing around in. I Am That.

The day Eshun visited Engakuji may have been the world’s first Mother’s Day celebration.

“May you give birth to many beautiful things today and everyday of your life.”