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[Xmca-l] Re: Identity through "experiential texts": Poems andWorksof Art??



Hello again,

What Larry had in mind is most likely the cycle of “Ten Oxherding Pictures” or Jūgyūzu, a Zen series of pictures demonstrating the spiritual progress of the adept. This has been commented many times by various masters, here <http://themathesontrust.org/papers/fareasternreligions/10-bulls.pdf>  for example, is one explanation, another one can be found in Shibayama Zenkei’s essay collection “A Flower Does Not Talk <https://books.google.ee/books?id=N4_QAgAAQBAJ&pg=PP1&lpg=PP1&dq=a+flower+does+not+talk&source=bl&ots=6Om3WQNry8&sig=qexGYUV4IYoYQhvNYyfkVxGXOF0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi0_aX9n5nOAhUFjSwKHaYVC_oQ6AEITTAL#v=onepage&q=a%20flower%20does%20not%20talk&f=false>” (Tuttle 1970). That one addresses a simplified variant. There is also an independently developed Tibetan line of a similar visualization, “Taming the Elephant <http://terebess.hu/english/img/p02.jpg>”, which indicates that there must have been a common source from which they have both developed, but, as far as I know, it has not been preserved. The Tibetan one has fairly straightforward symbolic, while the Zen one has been treated differently by different artists as well as commentators.

While we are on the subject of Buddhism, there are quite a few poems in which adepts (various schools, but mostly Chinese and Japanese) have expressed their englightenment experience. There is also one poet called Ikkyū (1394-1481), a regular visitor to pubs and brothels, who has often expressed his internal struggles. Another interesting identity crisis is the Chinese poet Tao Qian or Tao Yuanming (365-427), who lived in politically difficult times and therefore could not honestly serve the powers that be (even though, as a proper Confucian, he would have liked to) and instead chose to live in the country, drink a lot, read a lot and, luckily for us, write a lot. Quite a bit of that is a description of his identity problems. But I understand David would hardly want too much East Asian stuff. Anyway, here <https://books.google.ee/books?id=GV8BltnoGGMC&pg=PA493&lpg=PA493&dq=tao+yuanming+five+willows&source=bl&ots=rlClfBodR7&sig=NRYxPE0sIiKqNx7hb5vxqpAQt80&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjWusSPo5nOAhWI3CwKHfe8BRAQ6AEIQTAH#v=onepage&q=tao%20yuanming%20five%20willows&f=false> is a small selection of his work. My recommendation would be No 4 of “Four poems written while drunk”, perhaps in conjunction with the Shadow & Spirit thing.

Back to the West, another story that might be really good for the course is “Counterparts” by James Joyce, in the “Dubliners” collection. I have to refrain from telling what it is about, because it will absolutely spoil the reading experience. Those who have read it would probably agree this should not be done. It is not very long, and has an additional perk of getting students to read some Joyce.

With best wishes,

Rein



> On 29 Jul 2016, at 19:42, Lplarry <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> David,
> The Buddhist depiction of the oxcart in multiple images with each image *dissolving* something (reified??) and the last caption being identical to the *original* demonstrating this process of dissolution to arrive at the *same* place but transformed. The ordinary become extraordinary. 
> Rein may suggest a particular illustration. It is thought provoking
> 
> Sent from my Windows 10 phone
> 
> From: David H Kirshner