ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (A PRIVATE NOTE): Zhāng Bóduān 張伯端 (987?-1082)

The main book of Zhāng Bóduān is called Wùzhēn piān 悟真篇 Folios on Awakening to Perfection (1075-1078—preface and postface dates). There are seven, eight, or probably more translations of the title of this book into English, and very often it is considered as a sign of special difficulty for translators (just imagine translation of the whole text). I couldn’t agree more.

Every author has an individual coding process to put his life and ideas on paper sheet, every professional reader of his time has a set of decoding traditions depending on his background and education, and so it goes 100 years or 1,000 years or more… Modern generation spend much enough time getting information / texts / books / ideas online and the scientists / authors / students / keep this process of coding their lives and ideas into books / text / manuscripts again and again. And every time I open any book I switch on my decoding rules and habits and I switch it onto coding again writing down any kind of text for myself. And every time somebody’s ideas can live for a couple of millennia it deserves huge respect like in the case of Zhang Boduan’s text.

“A native of Tiāntái 天臺 (Zhejiang), Zhang Boduan is considered the first patriarch of the Southern Lineage (Nanzong) of neidan… According to these sources, Zhang Boduan, a scholar and jinshi, began has career as a civil servant. Shortly afterward, having committed an error while performing his duties, he was banished to Lingnan (the Guangdong / Guangxi region) and placed in charge of the army register.”—Farzeen Baldrian-Hussein, Encyclopedia of Taoism

“Zhang Boduan’s basic premise was the unity of the Three Teachings, i.e., Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism… Zhang himself did not found a school, but was acknowledged as the firs patriarch of Nanzong in the thirtieth century.”—Farzeen Baldrian-Hussein, Encyclopedia of Taoism

The extreme difficulties arising around ancient texts intending for translations into another languages are not anything new to overcome in the professional milieu. For science’s sake, there are always some rules and algorithms and traditions. No rules, no traditions when somebody runs something commercial online / offline (no difference). During one day we meet tens of people, hundreds opinions; just searching one own’s point of view (”your own sweet way”) never is trivial. Once stopped we keep going. Somehow ancient texts written by honest searchers very long ago still help today. That’s only my humble pleasure to remind.
zhanh boduan


One response to “ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (A PRIVATE NOTE): Zhāng Bóduān 張伯端 (987?-1082)

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