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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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One's True Poetry Emerges in Old Age

One's True Poetry Emerges in Old Age

(p.118) Thirty-Eight One's True Poetry Emerges in Old Age
Murmured Conversations
Stanford University Press

According to Shinkei, some skilled poets reject the idea of studying poetry in their old age. He argues that the Way of Poetry is intended to be cultivated by the calm and liberated spirit, and that it can be practiced properly and with the keenest discernment only after one has passed middle age. He cites some of the famous personalities who subscribed to this principle, including Lord Ietaka, Ning Yue, Confucius, and Zong Shi. Shinkei's belief that one can make a verse that is truly his own only in old age is a natural consequence of his view that poetry is a spiritual discipline in which worldly desires and illusions are gradually shed until the original mind or mind-ground (shinji) is achieved in all its purity. He envisions an unencumbered mind that can produce the kind of poetry characterized as “chill and meager” (hie yase).

Keywords:   Shinkei, Japanese poetry, old age, Way of Poetry, shinji, hie yase

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