Broad Oak: your emotional support animal

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

China: Death of a master

 
Leading Chinese blogger De Day reported the death of Master Nan Huai-Chin in September. Until now, I had never heard of Nan, though he has a following among Western Budhhists.
 
De Day's post (oddly, his last) lists Nan's many writings, most of which have never been translated into English. Yet Nan's school, founded in 2006 when Nan was 89 years old, is influential in both academic and business circles.
 
His scholarship is a fusion of traditions (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism) and offers a balance of spiritual and practical, which is why he is revered in China, a country that is struggling to develop materially without losing its soul. 
 
The blogger comments:
 
大师认为人生的最高境界是佛为心,道为骨,儒为表,大度看世界。技在手,能在身,思在脑,从容过生活。
 
- which Google Translate renders as: *
 
"Gurus believe that the highest state of life to Buddhism for the heart, said as bone, Confucianism for the table, and generosity to see the world. Technology in hand, in the body, thinking brain, calm lived."
 
The English is a little fractured but it is wonderful that we can read Chinese at all, thanks to this program. When the peoples of the world can talk to each other directly, we may find peace easier to achieve.
 
By the way, the billion-plus figure at the bottom left of the picture above is the number of hits on De's blog.
 
UPDATE
 
* I am deeply obliged to commenter Qingyun for the following elegant translation:
 
"Buddha's teachings as one's heart,
Taoist teachings as one's bones,
Confucius' teachings as one's countenance,
Gives one a broad worldview.

Skills in one's hands,
Ability in one's body,
Thoughtfulness in one's mind,
Allows one to live at one's pace."

2 comments:

qingyun said...

Actually the Google translator is almost completely incorrect or misses the point entirely.

Apparently the words are a famous saying of Nan's.

Translating it to English is a bit like translating Shakespeare to Chinese.

As a Chinese Brit I can barely understand it myself. Looking at the Chinese equivalent of Yahoo answers (though the education level of participants there is far higher), there is still disagreement or perhaps a double meaning. A more accurate rendition might be:

The Master believed that in life, one should aspire to the following philosophy:

"Buddha's teachings as one's heart,
Taoist teachings as one's bones,
Confucius' teachings as one's countenance,
Gives one a broad worldview.

Skills in one's hands,
Ability in one's body,
Thoughtfulness in one's mind,
Allows one to live at one's pace."


Alternative rougher translation:

"Be (good) like Buddha, act with a backbone, be learned, have an open mind.
Be dexterous, be strong, be smart, don't rush your life."

Sackerson said...

That is so useful - and beautiful; thank you very much.

And perhaps you may be able to help me with something else. I am looking for a Chinese contributor and/or translator; would you or someone you may know, possibly be interested?