Download e-book for kindle: Iron and Silk by Mark Salzman

By Mark Salzman

ISBN-10: 0307814238

ISBN-13: 9780307814234

Salzman captures post-cultural revolution China via his adventures as a tender American English instructor in China and his shifu-tudi (master-student) courting with China's ultimate martial arts instructor.

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Sample text

In the remainder of this tale, Zhu Sengdu will take this well-used coin and return it as a “tessera” in a creative act of misreading that seeks to renew the Chinese poetic tradition through his Buddhist message. Sengdu’s letter in response said “Serving one’s ruler to bring to order a single kingdom is not so good as spreading the Way in order to succor the myriad countries. Bringing comfort to one’s relations through marriage is not so good as exalting the Way to succor the three realms. That hair and skin should not be injured is but a common saying among the profane.

On the third day, one will see those for whom he is conducting the purification ritual. On the day of offering, when one enters the chamber, the images [of the ancestors] will indeed appear on the seats provided. As one makes his rounds and is about to go out, with a sense of reverence one will hear the ancestor’s voices. 15 This passage is important for the evidence it provides of the ubiquity of the visualization of spirits in early Chinese society, but it reveals only one part of how ancestor rites were meant to work.

In telling this story, I have implicitly compared it to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. As in that play, so in this story, we encounter evil mothers and faithful sons, while the words of the Ophelias go unheeded. Finally, in chapter 5, “Rebirth Reborn,” we return to the question that set this study in motion. ” We shall see that the scriptures in fact contest Buddhist ideas of samsara, and respond directly to the third- and fourth-century changes in native Chinese views of the afterlife that we have traced.

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Iron and Silk by Mark Salzman


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