Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tang Monk

Buddhism is the most respected religion to me. Compared to the ever-lasting religious wars between Christians and Muslims, Buddhism is pretty tame. However, we have conflicts in Tibet and at least two leaders (Canton and HK) live in rich folks’ style with drivers for their expensive cars. There must be some rules against this kind of life style.

I am reading a book on the historical event of the Tang Monk’s Journey to the West. It is written by a modern scholar commenting and with some educated guesses. It is fascinating. The book’s ISBN 978-986-6873-48-5 in traditional Chinese. I found the following.

* The ancient text was written about 1,400 years ago. We can still understand most of the text and almost 100% with the author’s comments and occasional educated guesses. The author needs to translate the modern terms for city names, nations, local terms at the time…

* Ancient language is short. It could be due to the expensive paper and ink (or bamboo and carving at earlier time). It must be more enjoyable at their time. I guess we only have modern way in writing in longer and easier to understand form in Qing time.

* Ancient China has record history over 2,000 years ago I guess but not so in many ancient civilizations like India. Tang monk translated the Hindi text to Chinese. Now, India translated back the same text to Indian language so they can understand the history, culture and geography at that time.

Thanks for our heritage!

* The facts and wisdom of Tang monk are quite different what were described in the popular friction, which is one of our top four literature classics.

* Ancient India is quite advanced. The Arabian numbers actually was invented in India. We call it Arabian as it is the country that passed the idea to Europe. If we do not progress, we let others pass us by and India is a good example.

* Most likely, most modern musical instruments were invented in Middle East and passed to Europe, India and China which have their own individual modifications. Just from the book.

—- thanks for reading my book report and I hope my teacher would give me a passing grade —– :)

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