Meng Hao-Jan

Meng Hao-jan (689-740 C.E.) is generally considered to be one of China’s most important poets, but before now, there has never been an edition of his work in English. During Men Hao-jan's life, Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism was coming to maturity and becoming widely practiced among the intelligentsia of China. Ch’an not only clarified the spiritual ecology of early Taoist thought, it also emphasized the old Taoist idea that deep understanding lies beyond words. In poetry, this gave rise to a much more distilled language, especially in its concise imagism, which opened new inner depths, non-verbal insights, and outright enigma. It was in the work of Meng Hao-jan that this poetic revolution began, a revolution that marked the beginning of Chinese poetry’s first great flowering. He opened the poetic ground that would be cultivated so productively by the great poets that followed, and he was revered by those poets as their esteemed elder, first master of the short imagistic landscape poem.

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