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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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Poetry and the Mundane Mind

Poetry and the Mundane Mind

(p.62) Eighteen Poetry and the Mundane Mind
Murmured Conversations
Stanford University Press

In this chapter, Shinkei flatly rejects the notion that a poem's authenticity is determined by popular appeal, or that a poem is “true” if it is comprehensible and interesting even to the untutored. Such a notion implies that peasants have an innate capacity for understanding poetry. The question that arises then is: What kind of poetry? It is in this sense that arguing with Shinkei becomes difficult. Shinkei speaks of poems of “lofty and ineffably remote mind” (kedakō yōon no kokoro) and dismisses the lesser kinds. The foundation of Shinkei's thinking lies in the ethos of compassion and impartiality with which Sasamegoto closes. He compares the boundless and numinous quality of mind to the Dharmakaya. Thus, the difference between low and high is also the difference between ignorance and awareness.

Keywords:   Shinkei, Japanese poetry, Sasamegoto, compassion, impartiality, Dharmakaya, ignorance, awareness

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