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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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Worldly Glory Versus Reclusive Concentration

Worldly Glory Versus Reclusive Concentration

(p.71) Twenty-Two Worldly Glory Versus Reclusive Concentration
Murmured Conversations
Stanford University Press

This chapter reiterates the view that poetry is an extremely serious activity by citing an anecdote involving Shunzei, Teika, and Tameie implying that the great poet does not demean his art by using it to gain social advancement or personal glory. In this anecdote, Shunzei is described in the throes of poetic labor, underscoring Shinkei's argument that poetic composition is a process of deep-going meditation best carried out in solitude to avoid any distraction from public gatherings. This is evident in Tameie's rapid ascent of the bureaucratic ladder (as compared to his two talented immediate kin) in stark contrast to his inferior poetic caliber at the time. However, these anecdotes constitute paradigms of value whose historical authenticity cannot be verified. Instead, they are reflective of the critical and cultural attitudes of the writer and his or her times.

Keywords:   Shunzei, Teika, Tameie, Japanese poetry, Shinkei, meditation, poetic composition

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