This book is an annotated translation of Sasamegoto (1463–64), a Japanese poetic treatise from the medieval period noted for its thoroughgoing construction of poetry as a way to attain, as well as signify via language, the aim of Buddhist practice: mental liberation (satori). Written by Shinkei (1406–75), a Tendai cleric best known today as one of the most brilliant poets of renga (linked poetry), Sasamegoto is also a representative work in the larger cultural history and an equally distinctive voice in the classic waka form. Shinkei formulated the principles of renga as a serious art during the Muromachi period (1392–1568). Sasamegoto articulates renga, and poetry in general, as an existential praxis, a Way. The medieval notion of praxis is informed by what used to be called “the wisdom of the East,” mainly Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. Sasamegoto is in two parts: the first written in the fifth month of Kanshō 4 (1463) and the second in the fifth month of Kanshō 5 (1464).
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