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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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On the Issue of the Ultimate Style

On the Issue of the Ultimate Style

(p.167) Fifty On the Issue of the Ultimate Style
Murmured Conversations
Stanford University Press

Of the ten styles of poetry, Priest Jakuren, the lords Ariie, Ietaka, Masatsune, and others considered the Style of Ineffable Depth (yūgentei) to be the most exalted one. However, the Retired Sovereign (Go-Toba), along with the Regent Yoshitsune, the lords Shunzei, Michitomo, Teika, and others declared the Style of Meditation (ushintei) as the most noble and consummate. At first glance, there seems to be inconsistency in Shinkei's view of the ultimate style of poetry. He shows esteem for the poetry and criticism of Shunzei and Teika, but also confirms the overwhelming importance of yūgentei. However, he defines yūgentei as poetry in which the heart-mind (kokoro) is paramount, suggesting that he understands great poetry primarily as a manifestation of spiritual grace and conviction. In other words, Shinkei sees no substantive difference between ushintei and yūgentei. He also correlates ushin with the mode of meditation but is nevertheless open to other modes of “the ultimate.”

Keywords:   Shinkei, style, Japanese poetry, yūgentei, ushintei, Style of Ineffable Depth, Style of Meditation, spiritual grace, conviction

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