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Emptiness and TemporalityBuddhism and Medieval Japanese Poetics$
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Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804748889

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804748889.001.0001

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Beyond Meaning

Beyond Meaning

Beauty is the Aura of Contemplation

(p.97) Ten Beyond Meaning
Emptiness and Temporality
Stanford University Press

In his judgments at poetry contests, Shunzei was evidently concerned with the power of poetic language to evoke or provoke a state of mind similar to the contemplation of ultimate reality in Zen meditation, or shikan. His critical ideal, one that influenced the whole course of medieval Japanese poetry, was aptly described by Tanaka Yutaka as kehai or keiki (“aura, emanation”). According to Tanaka, the poetic ideals of the Shinkokinshū poets, such as yūgen, yojō, and en, should be seen within the context of the whole reexamination of the nature of poetic process and poetic expression explained by Shunzei in the Korai fūteishō. Shunzei's notion of aura is defined alongside yūgen, or “ineffable depth,” and his concern with the configuration (sugata) of the poem as chanted and heard, its aurality, is suggestive of poetry's ritual function as some sort of oracular incantation, a revelatory performative activity.

Keywords:   Shunzei, Japanese poetry, aura, yūgen, ineffable depth, configuration, sugata, Tanaka Yutaka, kehai

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