I find the story of Jigoku Dayū (“Hell Courtesan”) and her enlightenment under Zen Master Ikkyū inspiring and compelling.
A modern story related to this theme is Shoko Tendo’s life. She was born into the Yakuza. A turning point in her life was getting this full-body tattoo of the “Hell Courtesan.” She talks about it here.
This blog post is dedicated to Shelly Young.