By Robert Ford Campany
Between three hundred and six hundred C.E., chinese language writers compiled hundreds of thousands of bills of the unusual and the intense. a few defined bizarre spirits, customs, and natural world in far away lands. a few depicted contributors of bizarre religious or ethical fulfillment. yet so much instructed of normal people’s encounters with ghosts, demons, or gods; sojourns within the land of the useless; eerily major desires; and uncannily actual premonitions. the choice of such tales awarded right here presents an pleasing creation to early medieval chinese language storytelling and opens a doorway to the enchanted international of suggestion, tradition, and non secular trust of that period. referred to as zhiguai, or “accounts of anomalies,” they impart very much approximately how humans observed the cosmos and their position in it. The stories have been circulated simply because they have been unique but additionally simply because their compilers intended to record the mysterious workings of spirits, the wonders of unique locations, and the character of the afterlife.
A choice of greater than 200 stories, A backyard of Marvels bargains an authoritative but obtainable creation to zhiguai writings, relatively these by no means prior to translated or thoroughly researched. This quantity will most likely locate its approach to bedside tables in addition to into school rooms and libraries, simply as collections of zhiguai did in early medieval times.
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Extra info for A Garden of Marvels: Tales of Wonder from Early Medieval China
But the semblance Dharma† has been passed down without error and we have received it. ”‡ The moment they had spoken these words, the lips and tongue began to move. Although there was no audible sound, the lips appeared to be reciting [the sutra]. All who Â�were preÂ�sent and saw this felt their hair stand on end. Gao Zhen reported this [to the ruler], who ordered that [the remains] be interred in a stone casket and moved into a cave on the mountain. *In the standard Buddhist abstinence ceremony (zhai 齋) in China, participating laymen and laywomen for one day and night six times per month (and for longer periods three times per year) observed more precepts than the five normally required of them and thus behaved more like monks and nuns.
I have used all these resources in preparing the translations presented in this book. Given this situation, we must bear in mind that what we now possess of any parÂ�ticÂ�uÂ�lar zhiguai work is only a portion of the original—Â�although in saying this I must hasten to add that the very idea of “the original” in regard to early medieval books is something of a chimera anyhow. * Each time a copy of a text was made—by its author or compiler or by someone else—it was changed in the proÂ�cess, and contemporaries saw nothing unusual in this.
They all therefore began to develop the thought of enlightenment, and many of them came to sustain meditative absorption themselves.  During the Wucheng period of the Qi,* someone was digging in the ground near Mount Dongkan in Bingzhou when he came upon a patch of earth that was yellowish-Â�white, Â�different from the surrounding soil. Investigating, he saw an object in the shape of a pair of Â�human lips. Within was a tongue, fresh and bright red. A memorial was sent up about the incident, and variÂ�ous monks Â�were asked about it, but none recognized what it was.
A Garden of Marvels: Tales of Wonder from Early Medieval China by Robert Ford Campany