• How Poetry Became Meditation in Late-Ninth-Century China

    Author(s):
    Thomas Mazanec (see profile)
    Date:
    2019
    Group(s):
    GS Poetry and Poetics, LLC East Asian, Poetics and Poetry, Religious Studies, TC Religion and Literature
    Subject(s):
    Religious poetry, Buddhism, Chinese literature, Poetry, Literary Buddhism
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Tang dynasty, Chinese poetry
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/sg57-fb48
    Abstract:
    In late-ninth-century China, poetry and meditation became equated — not just metaphorically, but as two equally valid means of achieving stillness and insight. This article discusses how several strands in literary and Buddhist discourses fed into an assertion about such a unity by the poet-monk Qiji 齊己 (864–937?). One strand was the aesthetic of kuyin 苦吟 (“bitter intoning”), which involved intense devotion to poetry to the point of suffering. At stake too was the poet as “fashioner” — one who helps make and shape a microcosm that mirrors the impersonal natural forces of the macrocosm. Jia Dao 賈島 (779–843) was crucial in popularizing this sense of kuyin. Concurrently, an older layer of the literary-theoretical tradition, which saw the poet’s spirit as roaming the cosmos, was also given new life in late Tang and mixed with kuyin and Buddhist meditation. This led to the assertion that poetry and meditation — were two gates to the same goal, with Qiji and others turning poetry writing into the pursuit of enlightenment.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 year ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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