Sesson Yūbai

Japanese Zen Buddhist monk of the Rinzai sect

Sesson Yūbai (雪村 友梅, 1290 - 14th day of the 1st month, 1348) was a Japanese Zen Buddhist monk of the Rinzai sect. This priest and poet who is considered "the first important poet of the Five Mountains.


  • I do not like praises and honours
    Nor did I fear disdain
    I just stayed away.
    My mind, clear water,
    My body bound and tied
    For three years in Chang'an.
    I sing what I feel in songs
    In straight words, undecorated.
    • From: Bingatshū, as cited in: Katō, Shūichi. A History of Japanese Literature: From the Man'yōshū to Modern Times, 1997. p. 105.

Quotes about Sesson Yūbai

  • When the Japanese Zen priest Mugaku Sogen (1226-1286) was in China and threatened by invading Mongol troops, he composed a fourline poem. Years later another Zen priest, Sesson Yūbai (1290-1347), when he was in prison and threatened with death, took Mugaku's poem and, using each line as the opening verse of a new poem,
    • Donald Keene. Anthology of Japanese Literature, from the Earliest Era to the Mid. p. 347
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