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Title: The role and treatment of the mind in American Buddhist poetry as depicted in some poems by Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg and Philip Whalen
Author: Pojprasat, Somboon
ISNI:       0000 0004 5924 2717
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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The fact that American Buddhist poetry has a broad programme of matters and styles is more bewildering than clarifying. Although not apparently contradictory, this genre presents so wide a range of salient Buddhist teachings, such as karma, suffering, impermanence, emptiness and selflessness. In fact, a reader is not only engaged in these various abstruse teachings which intrinsically defy intellectual logic, but is also attuned into the different unconventional poetic prosodies. It is thus even more challenging to understand these poems. In order to equip the reader with pertinent knowledge and deepen their understanding, the fust and foremost issue lies in what the defining characteristics of this diverse genre are. This study made a thorough investigation of prominent works by three notable American Buddhist poets, namely Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg and Phi lip Whalen, all of whom make a significant contribution to this genre, both thematically and stylistically. The study has revealed that, with regard to poetic content, the mind among the various teachings constitutes the most central theme, and it also functions as the common underpinning among the three poets. Their constant observation of the mind is always present in their verse. While some of their poems mainly describe. the various natures of the mind ranging from its being loose and turbulent to its being still and calm, the other poems suggest their penetration into the higher truths based upon the tranquil and wise mind. Correspondingly, as far as poetic styles are concerned, the natures of the mind are instrumental in shaping and ornamenting the poems. When the mind wanders aimlessly, the poem looks less controlled witnessed by the irregularity of, or sometimes sheer absence of, line length, meter, rhythm and rhyme. That is to say, the poem isjust as fluid and free as the unstable mind. On the contrary, once the mind is focused and powerful enough to see the truths by itself, the poets' transcendental experience is deliberately conveyed in a poetics of deep consciousness of which meaning and form renders a mood of calmness, purity and epiphany. The three poets demonstrate such a change even within a single poem through a conspicuous alteration of versification: wisdom is expressed, and strictly traditional stanzaic patterns and aureate diction are then chosen. This dynamism is also characteristic of American Buddhist poems.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available