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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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Verses on the Moon, Flowers, and Snow

Verses on the Moon, Flowers, and Snow

(p.143) Forty-Two Verses on the Moon, Flowers, and Snow
Murmured Conversations
Stanford University Press

In this chapter, Shinkei talks about the practice of reserving verses on the moon, flowers, and snow to high-ranking participants of a renga session and how this practice presents an opportunity to define poetic training as the cultivation of an enlightened state of mind. Citing the Tendai concept of impartiality or nondualism, he criticizes the common fixation on particular words and images, as well as the baseless association between “beautiful” verses and superior social rank. He argues that both linguistic partiality and snobbery (or servility) detract from the “pure-mindedness of the Way” (michi no makoto), which is characteristic of his dialectical mode of exposition. From the perspective of the One Mind, no separation exists between consciousness and language. However, Shinkei insists that it takes practice to attain that level of freedom and achieve a disciplined indifference to the mundane social currency of linguistic usage.

Keywords:   Shinkei, verses, renga, Japanese poetry, impartiality, nondualism, social rank, snobbery, michi no makoto, language

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