In this Book

Writing as Enlightenment
summary
Explores the prevalence of Buddhist ideas in American literature since the 1970s. This timely book explores how Buddhist-inflected thought has enriched contemporary American literature. Continuing the work begun in The Emergence of Buddhist American Literature, editors John Whalen-Bridge and Gary Storhoff and the volume’s contributors turn to the most recent developments, revealing how mid-1970s through early twenty-first-century literature has employed Buddhist texts, principles, and genres. Just as Buddhism underwent indigenization when it moved from India to Tibet, to China, and to Japan, it is now undergoing that process in the United States. While some will find literary creativity in this process, others lament a loss of authenticity. The book begins with a look at the American reception of Zen and at the approaches to Dharma developed by African Americans. The work of consciously Buddhist and Buddhist-influenced writers such as Don DeLillo, Gary Snyder, and Jackson Mac Low is analyzed, and a final section of the volume contains interviews and discussions with contemporary Buddhist writers. These include an interview with Gary Snyder; a discussion with Maxine Hong Kingston and Charles Johnson; and discussions of competing American and Asian values at the Beat- and Buddhist-inspired writing program at Naropa University with poets Joanne Kyger, Reed Bye, Keith Abbott, Andrew Schelling, and Elizabeth Robinson.

Table of Contents

  1. Writing as Enlightenment: Buddhist American Literature into the Twenty-first Century
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  1. Writing as Enlightenment: Buddhist American Literature into the Twenty-first Century
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. p. ix
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  1. Foreword
  2. pp. xi-xiii
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-16
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  1. Part I: Widening the Stream: Literature as Transmission
  2. p. 17
  1. Chapter 1: The Transmission of Zen as Dual Discourse: Shaku Soen and Okakura Kakuzo
  2. pp. 19-36
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  1. Chapter 2: Black American Buddhism: History and Representation
  2. pp. 37-68
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  1. Part II: The New Lamp: Buddhism and Contemporary Writers
  2. p. 69
  1. Chapter 3: Some of the Dharma: The Human, the Heavenly, and the “Real Work” in the Writings of Gary Snyder
  2. pp. 71-88
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  1. Chapter 4: “Listen and Relate”: Buddhism, Daoism, and Chance in the Poetry and Poetics of Jackson Mac Low
  2. pp. 89-108
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  1. Chapter 5: A Deeper Kind of Truth: Buddhist Themes in Don DeLillo’s Libra
  2. pp. 109-130
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  1. Part III: Speaking as Enlightenment: Interviews with Buddhist Writers
  2. p. 131
  1. Chapter 6: “The Present Moment Happening”: A Conversation with Gary Snyder about Danger on Peaks
  2. pp. 133-140
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  1. Chapter 7: Embodied Mindfulness: Charles Johnson and Maxine Hong Kingston on Buddhism, Race, and Beauty
  2. pp. 141-156
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  1. Chapter 8: Poetry and Practice at Naropa University
  2. pp. 157-184
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 185-188
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 189-193
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