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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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The Difficulty of Comprehending Superior Poetry

The Difficulty of Comprehending Superior Poetry

(p.81) Twenty-Seven The Difficulty of Comprehending Superior Poetry
Murmured Conversations
Stanford University Press

This chapter reveals Shinkei's Buddhist-inspired conception of renga as a poetic structure. According to Shinkei, the renga verses of those who have reached the farthest realm tend to sound ever more remote and are difficult to comprehend. This is because the consummate renga verse is a manifestation of a mind that has achieved the state of “perfect fusion,” or all-encompassing comprehensiveness. More specifically, it is a mind that is aware of the progressively widening function of the single verse in relation to the one immediately preceding and following it; is sensible to the larger block of verses of which it is a part; and sees the whole sequence. A person who can only see the verse as such, in isolation, will never be able to understand its true significance. Like the dharmas, the single verse is empty because it is conditioned by what precedes it, yet it is real because it also conditions what follows it.

Keywords:   Shinkei, renga, Japanese poetry, perfect fusion, verse

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