Sawaki on the poetry of Shōdōka

November 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

The Dōgen Institute

sakura-426877_1280Poetry gives off subtle tones that prose cannot express. The resonance of a verse awakens mysterious emotions in us. It’s a matter of a direct and personal understanding, an immediate and intuitive apprehension or, according to the expressions of Zen: “transmission from my mind to your mind,” “a special transmission outside of instruction,” or again, “beyond words and letters.” The personality of its author flows from a verse. A Zen monk who teaches the Way must be like a deaf-mute. His clumsiness matters little, what counts is the radiance he gives rise to; resonances must flow from his person. The deaf-mute expresses himself through gestures and mime and if we had to make ourselves understood like him, we would certainly be much more creative and original. In truth, the Zen monk’s transmission is situated somewhere else than in words.

The direct transmission of the spirit of the teaching of the…

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