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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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Sitting with a Master

Sitting with a Master

(p.75) Twenty-Four Sitting with a Master
Murmured Conversations
Stanford University Press

Perceptivity plays a crucial role, not only in evaluating another's work, but also when it comes to master-disciple relationship. While an excellent teacher constitutes “the great cause and condition” that helps individual talent to flourish, not even the greatest master can help a student who is not perceptive, either due to insufficient wit or lack of artistic sensibility. One example of a student's receptivity is Shinkei's emphasis on an inquiring attitude, or the desire to seek out the deepest truths in the Way of Poetry. In Sasamegoto II he illustrates the importance of this attitude by saying that “it is far better to criticize the Dharma and fall into hell than merely to make offerings to numberless Buddhas.” Hence, discipleship is a process of active penetration and “appropriation,” fueled by desire. In the medieval pedagogy of the Way, however, this process is less an appropriation than the mutuality of understanding suggested by the Zen slogan “by mind transmit the mind.”

Keywords:   Shinkei, master, student, Sasamegoto, Way of Poetry, perceptivity, discipleship, appropriation, Japanese poetry

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