EAS 351 – Zen, Tea, and Poetry: A Blending of Genres
This course will examine how the three genres of Zen Buddhism, the tea ceremony/tea culture, and poetry, have been presented over time as not only compatible, but as representative expressions of each other. We will consider the contemporaneous cultural, historical, and political factors that contributed to the formation of this discourse. We will also hold up to critical scrutiny the very concept of "genre" in pre-modern East Asia, as well as the distinction between "Zen Buddhism" and what may be termed "Zen culture." We will also investigate in depth how modern commentators such as Okakura Tenshin, Suzuki Daisetsu, and Hisamatsu Shin'ichi's dialogue with the West and Western models informed the now ingrained idea that the tea ceremony represents an artistic, aesthetic, and spiritual nexus of the other two genres, and indeed of East Asian Culture as a whole.