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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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The Mode of Ambiguity is the Dharma Body

The Mode of Ambiguity is the Dharma Body

(p.153) Fifteen The Mode of Ambiguity is the Dharma Body
Emptiness and Temporality
Stanford University Press

According to Shinkei, “the mode of ambiguity that is constituted solely of nuance” (omokage bakari o nomi yomu fumyōtei) is the style of the ultimate realm of enlightenment in poetry. Also described as a verse “whose diction and figuration have an ineffable remoteness” (sugata.kotobazukai no yōon no ku), it is further identified with the Dharmakaya, the Buddha-Body in essence, and may be viewed as the home of en as well as symbolic poetry. This style aims to make apparent the very realm of principle and of being from which the inexpressible fragrance of the mind emanates. This ultimate mode is illustrated in a passage from Sasamegoto with two poems by Shōtetsu as well as two illuminating citations from the sutras. The poems are in the mode of the Dharma Body (hosshin no tei) and manifest spontaneous enlightenment without instruction.

Keywords:   Shinkei, Dharma Body, mode of ambiguity, enlightenment, Dharmakaya, poetry, Sasamegoto, Shōtetsu, sutras

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