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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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Emptiness and Enlightenment in Poetry

Emptiness and Enlightenment in Poetry

(p.77) Eight Emptiness and Enlightenment in Poetry
Emptiness and Temporality
Stanford University Press

In a series of oppositions, Shinkei initially equates the shinku-soku contrast with the Buddhist dialectic. The central tenet of Shinkei's poetics is that renga's poetry lies in the relations between the individual verses, not in the verses themselves. In other words, renga's poetry is always in an absolute sense invisible in, and has to be extrapolated from, the linguistic surface of the verses themselves, although this visibility has varying degrees. The generic “invisibility” of renga is at its most extreme and most powerful in the soku (Distant Link) as Shinkei conceived it. The parallelism between Buddhism and poetry—which were later fused in Part II of Sasamegoto—is the most essential characteristic of Shinkei's thought and makes the treatise the most representative expression of criticism of medieval Japanese poetry. This chapter examines formlessness, emptiness, the Distant Link, and enlightenment (satori), or the direct insight of “Zen,” as well as Shinkei's notion of aesthetics.

Keywords:   Shinkei, aesthetics, formlessness, emptiness, Distant Link, enlightenment, Zen, Japanese poetry, renga, Buddhism

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