A God's Own Tale: The Book of Transformations of Wenchang, the Divine Lord of Zitong

Overview

This scripture was revealed through spirit writing in 1181. It traces Wenchang's development through his many transformations culminating in his apotheosis as director of the Wenchang Palace and custodian of the Cinnamon Record that determines men's and women's fates. The god has since assumed a high position in the Taoist pantheon, has been introduced into the school system and Confucian temples, and now controls the all-important civil service examinations in China. The text translated here provides a unique ...
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Overview

This scripture was revealed through spirit writing in 1181. It traces Wenchang's development through his many transformations culminating in his apotheosis as director of the Wenchang Palace and custodian of the Cinnamon Record that determines men's and women's fates. The god has since assumed a high position in the Taoist pantheon, has been introduced into the school system and Confucian temples, and now controls the all-important civil service examinations in China. The text translated here provides a unique window into the religious world of Traditional China. Numerous anecdotes of good- and evil-doers reveal the ethical dilemmas facing men and women of the time, from social questions like infanticide and discrimination against women to more purely religious issues such as how evil gods are punished and how China's divergent religious traditions can be reconciled.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
In 1811, Wenchang, the ancient Chinese god of judgement and protection, transmitted through spirit writing his story of the many transformations by which he developed from a dreaded viper on a mountaintop to the keeper of the Cinnamon Record that determines people's fates and a presence in every Taoist and Confucian temple. Each of the 73 verses is followed by a page or two of commentary. Provides a glimpse into the ethics, religious practices, and worldview of traditional China. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791420027
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/1994
  • Series: Series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Table of Contents

Illustrations

Preface

Abbreviations

Introduction

Early History of the Cult

The Book of Transformations

The Cult in Late Imperial China

Translation

Traces of the Transformation

1. Primordial Mandate

2. Flowing Form

3. Born as a Commoner

4. Changing Customs

5. Investigating Antiquity

6. Worshiping the Perfected

7. Giving Repose to My Parents

8. Spirit Marriage

9. Yuanshi

10. The Tame Pheasants

11. Diverting the Stream

12. Subduing the Epidemic

13. Loving the Living

14. The Celestial Office

15. Recommending the Worthy

16. Correcting Errors

17. Returning Home in Glory

18. Consideration for the Clan

19. Returning to Nirvana

20. Mount Monarch

21. Moved to be Born

22. Serving Forebears

23. The Filial Friend

24. The Mian River

25. The White Colt

26. Recommending an Enemy for Promotion

27. Taking Pity on Orphans

28. Compassionate Instructions

29. Exhausting Loyalty

30. A Perch in Perfection

31. The Mountain King

32. Punishments and Rewards

33. Preserving Bao

34. The Whirlwind

35. Clarifying Injustice

36. The Town of Ju

37. Saving the Drowning

38. Raining Grain

39. Diverting the Rain

40. Slaying the Bandit

41. The Northern Suburb

42. Turning Back the Fire

43. Pacifying Ju

44. The Fei Stalwarts

45. The Stone Oxen

46. The Five Wives

47. Manifesting My Numinous Power

48. The Grand Elixir

49. Badu

50. Posuo

51. Warning the Dragons

52. Mount Pheonix

53. Yufu

54. Verbal Karma

55. The Eastern Rampart

56. Ox Mountain

57. The Daunting Power of Heaven

58. Esteeming Righteousness

59. Recognizing a Recluse

60. Aiding the Upright

61. Killing Living Creatures

62. Cruel Mistreatment

63. Commiserating with the World

64. Xianyang

65. Qiong Pool

66. Liberation

67. Benevolent Administration

68. The Quick and the Dead

69. Planning

70. The Ruyi Scepter

71. Dingwei

72. The Water Bureau

73. The Cinnamon Record

Appendix: Extant Editions of the Book Of Transformations

Bibliography

Index

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