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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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PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

Poetry and Zen Meditation, the Cosmic Body, and the True Word

Poetry and Zen Meditation, the Cosmic Body, and the True Word

(p.153) Forty-Five Poetry and Zen Meditation, the Cosmic Body, and the True Word
Murmured Conversations
Stanford University Press

According to Priest Saigyō, “the Way of Poetry is wholly the practice of Zen meditation” (kadō wa hitoe ni zenjō shugyō no michi). The so-called Initiation Rite to the Kokinshū is similar to the formal transmission of the secret teachings, which is regarded as an important ritual in the Esoteric sect of Buddhism. In essence, the Way of Poetry is the True Word (darani) of Japan. When employed it as an instrument of vain sophistry, reading of the sutras and commentaries as well as Zen meditation all become blind delusions. This chapter is about Shinkei's equation of poetry and a Buddhist construction of the world. Here Shinkei comments on the nature of Zen (dhyana) meditation and the nature of the poem as an embodiment of the true aspect of Suchness (shinnyo, jissō), ultimate reality as understood in Mahayana teaching. The chapter also recounts Shunzei's miraculous vision and posits an equation between the poem as the Dharma Body (Dharmakaya) and poetic language as dharani.

Keywords:   Shinkei, Japanese poetry, Zen meditation, Buddhism, True Word, Shunzei, Dharma Body, dharani, poetic language

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