Daughters of Emptiness: Poems of Chinese Buddhist Nuns

Overview

Women played major roles in the history of Buddhist China, but given the paucity of the remaining records, their voices have all but faded. In Daughters of Emptiness, Beata Grant renders a great service by recovering and translating the enchanting verse - by turns assertive, observant, devout - of forty-eight nuns from sixteen centuries of imperial China. This selection of poems, along with the brief biographical accounts that accompany them, affords readers a glimpse into the extraordinary diversity and ...

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Daughters of Emptiness: Poems of Chinese Buddhist Nuns

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Overview

Women played major roles in the history of Buddhist China, but given the paucity of the remaining records, their voices have all but faded. In Daughters of Emptiness, Beata Grant renders a great service by recovering and translating the enchanting verse - by turns assertive, observant, devout - of forty-eight nuns from sixteen centuries of imperial China. This selection of poems, along with the brief biographical accounts that accompany them, affords readers a glimpse into the extraordinary diversity and sometimes startling richness of these women's lives.

A sample poem for this stunning collection:

The sequence of seasons naturally pushes forward,
Suddenly I am startled by the ending of the year.
Lifting my eyes I catch sight of the winter crows,
Calling mournfully as if wanting to complain.
The sunlight is cold rather than gentle,
Spreading over the four corners like a cloud.
A cold wind blows fitfully in from the north,
Its sad whistling filling courtyards and houses.
Head raised, I gaze in the direction of Spring,
But Spring pays no attention to me at all.
Time a galloping colt glimpsed through a crack,
The tap [of Death] at the door has its predestined time.
How should I not know, one who has left the world,
And for whom floating clouds are already familiar?
In the garden there grows a rosary-plum tree:
Whose sworn friendship makes it possible to endure.

- Chan Master Jingnuo

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Editorial Reviews

Professor Robert M. Gimello
"Beata Grant's deft and elegant translations, together with her informative introduction and the brief biographies she provides for each of her judiciously selected poets, disclose fascinating but hitherto concealed or ignored dimensions of Chinese women's spirituality and literary creativity."
Buddhadharma: The Practitioner's Quarterly
"A landmark collection of exquisite poems scrupulously gathered and translated by Beata Grant. Grant provides an impressively compact and readable overview of the changing fortunes of Buddhist nuns in China, from the fourth century to the present."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780861713622
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications MA
  • Publication date: 7/10/2005
  • Edition description: Bilingual
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Beata Grant is professor of Chinese and Religious Studies (Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures) at Washington University. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 1
Abbreviations 20
Huixu 22
Fayuan 26
Haiyin 28
Plum Blossom Nun 29
Miaozong 32
Zhengjue 34
Benming 36
Zhenru 38
Zuqin 40
Deying 41
Zhitong 42
Fahai 45
Miaozhan 48
Wulian 50
Jucqing 52
One-Eyed Jingang 54
Jixing 56
Wuwei 58
Daoyuan 60
Shenyi 62
Zaisheng 65
Jingwei 67
Chaoyi 69
Jingming 70
Xinggang 72
Yikui 78
Jingnuo 85
Xingche 92
Jifu 101
Jizong 106
Yinyue 108
Mingxiu 110
Mingben 113
Chaoyan 116
Yuanduan 120
Miaohui 121
Shiyan 123
Wanxian 126
Kedu 128
Jizhu 132
Ziyong 134
Daoqian 139
Yinhui 141
Wuwo 143
Wuqing 144
Lianghai 146
Dawu 155
Longlian 157
Sources of Poems 161
Note 163
Select Bibliography 183
Index 187
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