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While Robert may feel that some might not understand his points, he is always willing to give others the chance.

Zen Poetics of RYokan - Articles - House of Hermits - Hermitary

Another interpretation might perhaps be that the monk doubted his own abilities to explain his understanding! Could his actions then be seen as a kind of modesty? I appreciate your comment.

I also challenge his apparent unwillingness to try to answer the question he heard uttered. It may well be that modesty did inhibit his response, or a sense of his inadequacy.

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These are common human traits. One might think this a selective take on the whole experience by the monk, perhaps to suit his ideology? Hi Peter and Rich, I think that when we do not understand a phrase or question or whatever the query, we can request an explanation, a enigmatic bow or silence is not a sufficient response, it implies secret knowledge held only by a few, even so I like and admire the monk because he becomes a child again and is happy to be seen by other adults enjoying the innocent fun of play, leaving seriousness aside for a while.

I have been struggling, you may have noticed, with the question of positive and negative metaphysics, absolutes in general, how to avoid them and how the language required to serve them needs adaption to reach a philosophical response, I have found it difficult to adapt everyday language to fit the bill, although I understand the reasons for doing so, absolutes are to be avoided.

I expect I will tie myself up in confusion again and again, philosophy is not easy for me.


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I think Ed Catmull summed it up really well in his Migglism endorsement :. But according to the above perspective, the middle can be the place where creativity and spontaneity can flourish rather than be stifled. Hi Barry, Robert, Peter and Rich, I agree, the middle way is just like a cumulus cloud, it sails across the sky looking tranquil yet the interior is a swirling ferment of movement, enter with care!

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I will give the passage of time a chance to bring me to a better understanding, avoiding certainties such as metaphysical belief can be as dogmatic as accepting them I suppose, in the middle we have provisionality, where I agree Barry we can be creative. Thank you all for your help. I know iam very late for dropping a comment but felt so. Monk bowed to passer by indicating he respect them. Its japaneese thing just like indians saying Namaskar.

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The Zen Poems of Ryokan

Then he says Even if I replied, they would not understand Look around! Answer to this line is 2 lines above -What is the reason for such foolishness. Passers have already judged him and his act. Another meaning to the line is he cannot explain it because it can be only felt.

The joy from what he is doing cannot be explained in words. Look arround there is nothing besides this means there is only this moment moment of pure awarness. Your email address will not be published.


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  5. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Although Ryokan was born in eighteenth-century Japan, his extraordinary poems, capturing in a few luminous phrases both the beauty and the pathos of human life, reach far beyond time and place to touch the springs of humanity.

    Poem by 'great fool' zenmaster Ryokan

    Read preview Overview. Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Vol. The Wilson Quarterly, Vol. Zen Buddhism The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Ch'an Buddhism The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Hua-yen Buddhism The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. We use cookies to deliver a better user experience and to show you ads based on your interests.