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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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Orthodoxy and Plurality

Orthodoxy and Plurality

(p.173) Fifty-Two Orthodoxy and Plurality
Murmured Conversations
Stanford University Press

In this chapter, Shinkei talks about the notion that a style is not in accord with the Way unless it is the orthodox style. That may be true when the issue is about the language of renga, but its mind and configuration must be different. Such differences are the basis of the distinctions among the ten styles of poetry. It was Ryōshun who declared that the author who limits himself to the orthodox configuration (seichoku no sugata) will never attain the status of poet immortal (kasen). Shinkei's advocacy of plurality and difference is not an outgrowth of an ideology of freedom and individual liberty, but the logical consequence of the Buddhist philosophy of emptiness and temporality. For Shinkei, the ten styles are theoretically the various manifestations of a cosmic impersonal Mind. Linked poetry is a concrete manifestation of the truth of the unspeakable One that “grounds” plurality through the endless play of language.

Keywords:   Shinkei, orthodox style, plurality, difference, Japanese poetry, renga, emptiness, temporality, linked poetry, language

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