Existence: A Story
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The mystery of existence and our place in that mystery--as expressed in a single Chinese landscape painting: a new work of meditative philosophy by the renowned translator of the Chinese classics and author of Hunger Mountain.
Join David Hinton, the premier modern translator of the Chinese classics, as he stands before a single landscape painting, discovering in it the wondrous story of existence—and as part of that story, the magical nature of consciousness. What he coaxes from the image is nothing less than a revelation: the dynamic interweaving of mind and Cosmos, and the glorious dance of Absence and Presence that is the secret of that Cosmos.
The painting called Peaceful-Distance Pavilion by Shih-t'ao (1642-1707) is, like other paintings in that genre, mostly space: one tiny figure, accompanied by an attendant, looks out over a vast landscape of mountains and clouds. But start looking into that space and, with the right guidance, what you end up seeing is profound. David Hinton is the perfect guide.
He uses his knowledge of Chinese philosophy, poetry, art, language, and writing system to illuminate this painting's message, which is ultimately the story of the glorious dance between nothing and everything, between emptiness and existence. It's an enthralling journey that can change the way you look at the world, a journey for which David is a wise and eloquent guide.