The Poetic Transmission of Zen Buddhism

Yong Zhi


This paper intends to understand the experience of enlightenment in Zen Buddhism from a perspective of poetics. Enlightenment is understood as an existential breakthrough, which delivers people from the habitual or conventional mind set into new horizon of consciousness. This breakthrough takes place in one’s overall consciousness rather than only in cognitive thought. Therefore, it cannot be adequately described on an abstract level with a conceptual paradigm. The poetic language provides a significant alternative for capturing this leap and revealing the spiritual meaning and the practical wisdom of enlightenment. Enlightenment, as concrete experiences in the “flux” of the mind, can be most directly expressed and effectively transmitted in poetic language.

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Asian Culture and History   ISSN 1916-9655(Print)   ISSN 1916-9663 (Online)

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