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Buddhist meditation and poetry [27 Feb 2008|01:28am]

In catching up on some (very) old reading, I came upon this excellent post from last year by Tom Morgan, about Buddhist meditation and poetry and the tensions therein. I definitely recommend reading it if you're interested in either or both.

If seen simply as a part of a larger Buddhist practice—impulsively taken up by some and avoided by others—, how, then, are we to view the relationship between meditation and poetry? Is poetry simply an insubordinate subset of Buddhist practice, just as likely to hinder a practitioners path as it is to help? Or is it a legitimate "Way"—standing side-by-side with meditation practice—for some? Or should we conclude that poetry is just something that people do—like cooking a meal and sweeping the floor—that should receive no scrutiny or special attention? And, what is the proper way to handle poetry as a Buddhist practitioner? Should confessionalism, with its tendency to fetishize experience, be frowned upon? Should chance operation, flarf, and sound poetry, all of which deemphasize poetic "meaning," be championed? Is haiku, with it's emphasis on momentary insight, at odds with an everyday-style of practice? And, is poetry a legitimate barometer of Buddhist insight, as some have claimed? And, finally, in light of poems being graphs of the mind moving, should Buddhist poets be evaluated less on the insights of individual poems and more for the insights demonstrated within a their whole body of work?

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