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Lotus Moon: The Poetry of Rengetsu (Companions for the Journey) Paperback – April 1, 2005


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Lotus Moon: The Poetry of Rengetsu (Companions for the Journey) + Rengetsu: Life and Poetry of Lotus Moon
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Product Details

  • Series: Companions for the Journey
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: White Pine Press (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893996360
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893996366
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 5.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #558,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rengetsu (Lotus Moon) was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1791 the illigitimate daughter of a samurai and a young geisha. By age 33 she had lost two husbands and two infant children and she renounced the world and became a Buddhist Nun. To support herself she became a potter, poet and artist. Her work in these arts is still revered in Japan. Rengetsu (Lotus Moon) was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1791 the illigitimate daughter of a samurai and a young geisha. By age 33 she had lost two husbands and two infant children and she renounced the world and became a Buddhist Nun. To support herself she became a potter, poet and artist. Her work in these arts is still revered in Japan.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Crazy Fox on November 21, 2006
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Whatever you do, don't rush through this book. The waka poems (or tanka, as they're called today) in this collection by the Buddhist nun Rengetsu are wonderful, filled with a strong spirituality alloyed with a refined sensitivity...along with brief shimmers of gentle wit. But these qualities are extremely subtle and subdued, and I nearly missed them. Read each poem with care and let it sink in slowly, and the poem will gradually unfold in your mind's eye. This is Buddhist literature at its best, not only fostering a meditative attitude through its content but requiring it through its form.

John Stevens' introduction at the beginning is concise and to the point, explaining Rengetsu's poetics and introducing us to a marvelously self-determined religious woman who made it through an incredibly tough life full of sadness and hardship and supported herself though her artistic pursuits in ceramics and calligraphy. Much can be gleaned in these few pages on the vibrancy of the Buddhist tradition in late Tokugawa Japan (vs. theories that it was moribund and decadent) and of its empowering potential for women (vs. recent overarching charges that Buddhism is misogynistic and sexist), not that such issues are overly emphasized here per se. More to the point is the interaction of Buddhist ideals and aesthetics, of which the whole book is an invaluable showcase. I still can't decide whether it appealed more to the side of me fascinated with Buddhism or the side of me moved deeply by Japanese literature, but why quibble? The total effect transcends such limiting discriminations.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. N. Greer, Jr. on March 23, 2007
I have been reading the poems of this woman for some time, and enjoyed this book of her poems so much. She saw so much tragedy in her life, yet saw the true nature of existance in all things. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rekha Karunaratne on August 4, 2013
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Took me a long time to finally get my hands on a copy of this book- it is absolutely perfect!
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