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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 Nature and Goal of Criticism

The Nature and Goal of Criticism

(p.159) Forty-Seven The Nature and Goal of Criticism
Murmured Conversations
Stanford University Press

As a collective activity, renga requires tact and social decorum so as not to offend other members of the group. Thus, criticizing someone's verse would be considered “foolish” (okogamashi). In the context of Nijō Yoshimoto's view of renga as an activity designed for enjoyment of the session itself (tōza no ikkyō), criticism would also be irrelevant. Shinkei's view is consistent with his belief that renga is a serious practice that allows the Buddhist practitioner to attain mental liberation. Renga is known to be a ritual offering (hōraku) to buddhas and native deities so that one would gain worldly benefits such as victory in an upcoming battle or cure from an illness. Even offerings intended to achieve the salvation of one's soul seemed to fall short of the buddhahood that was Mahayana Buddhism's goal. In Sasamegoto, poetic training involves cultivating the “mind-ground” (shinji shugyō) to attain the purified wisdom of perception that makes it possible to produce a purified Buddha realm with each poem.

Keywords:   renga, criticism, Japanese poetry, Shinkei, Sasamegoto, mind-ground, Buddhism, mental liberation, ritual offering, poetic training

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