Yuan Mei, Yuan Mei poetry, Buddhist, Buddhist poetry, Zen / Chan poetry,  poetry, Taoist poetry Yuan Mei
China (1716 - 1798) Timeline
Buddhist : Zen / Chan

Poems by Yuan Mei
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Yuan Mei was born in Hangchow, Chekiang during the Qing dynasty. As a boy, he was a talented student who earned his basic degree at the age of eleven. He received the highest academic degree at 23 and then went on to advanced studies. But Yuan Mei failed in his studies of the Manchu language, which limited his future government career.

Like many of the great Chinese poets, Yuan Mei exhibited many talents, working as a government official, teacher, writer, and painter.

He eventually left public office and retired with his family to a private estate named "The Garden of Contentment." In addition to teaching, he made a generous living writing funerary inscriptions. Among other things, he also collected local ghost stories and published them. And he was an advocate for women's education.

He traveled quite a bit and soon gained the reputation as the preeminent poet of his time. His poetry is deeply engaged with Chan (Zen) and Taoist themes of presence, meditation, and the natural world. As biographer Arthur Whaley notes, Yuan Mei's poetry "even at its lightest always had an undertone of deep feeling and at its saddest may at any moment light a sudden spark of fun."

Poems by Yuan Mei

Recommended Books: Yuan Mei

The Poetry of Zen: (Shambhala Library) A Drifting Boat: Chinese Zen Poetry I Don't Bow to Buddhas: Selected Poems of Yuan Mei Yuan Mei: Eighteenth Century Chinese Poet Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories of Yuan Mei

Related Links

Yuan Mei Biography

Biography online.
Yuan Mei