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Murmured ConversationsA Treatise on Poetry and Buddhism by the Poet-Monk Shinkei$
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Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804748636

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804748636.001.0001

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The Difficulty of Achieving the Way:

The Difficulty of Achieving the Way:

The Transmission of Mind is Beyond Language

Chapter:
(p.185) Fifty-Seven The Difficulty of Achieving the Way:
Source:
Murmured Conversations
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804748636.003.0058

This chapter defines poetic training per se as an unflagging mental application (nennen no shugyō) similar to the enlightened state of the bodhisattva. In such a realm, the material putrefaction of the body as evidence of impermanence need not be observed, but held as a principle or conviction in each moment of thought (nennen no mujō). This consciousness of temporality, coupled with emptiness, is understood in Shinkei's Buddhist-inspired aesthetics as the highest poetic realm, where each phenomenon without bias is endowed with a moving quality (aware) and ineffable depth (yūgen). That is to say, the poetic way of seeing understands the temporality of phenomena in a “higher” sense as a manifestation of the mysterious principle (ri) that connects everything in the Dharma realm (dharmadhatu). Mujū's Shasekishū includes a passage that clarifies the Tendai position, namely, a nondualism of ends and means, the oneness of language and truth.

Keywords:   poetic training, Japanese poetry, Shinkei, language, temporality, aware, yūgen, ri, Shasekishū

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