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한국T.S.엘리엇학회.jpg
KCI등재 학술저널

「이스트 코우커」에 나타난 T. S. 엘리엇의 윤회관

As is well known, T. S. Eliot converted to Anglo-Catholicism from Unitarianism. But he had kept a strong interest in Buddhism throughout his life and Buddhism had left a deep impression on his poetry. The poem “East Coker” was first published in 1940, long after his conversion to Anglo-Catholicism. It contains lots of Buddhist thoughts. The poem begins with a citation from Mary Stuart that “in my beginning is my end” and ends with a sentence, “in my end is my beginning.” These two sentences surely show the concept of reincarnation of Buddhism. Though the phenomenal world is vain and the entity is deep in our minds, human beings don’t understand it. Human beings repeat their phenomenal lives and cannot break up the chain of reincarnation. This poem presents two ways of breaking the chain of metempsychosis: one is to abandon the phenomenal world through practice and the other is to take the middle way of Buddhism. The former is the same as the way St. John of the Cross presented. And the latter is what Nagarjuna Boddhisatva proposed. When we break up the chain of reincarnation, the reality will be a rose garden, that is, in Buddhist term, paradise. We ought to exert a great effort to get to the state. One of the successful efforts is to become humble. Humility is emphasized in Christianity and Buddhism. Humility makes us go into the way of darkness, and that is not different from Buddhist’s way of abandoning selfhood.