MEMOIR / CHINA
"This is John Blofeld’s intimate and heartfelt personal account of a life spent in the old China we have all heard and dreamt about, but which is gone forever. As such it should be savored as a first-class treasure, for it is like a long-lost gem recovered for the world to appreciate. What makes John Blofeld’s memoir so uniquely special is the man himself, who, as international traveler, sinologist, translator, and scholar embodied the perfect balance of Yin and Yang; an ideal synthesis of the meeting of East and West."
--Chungliang Al Huang, author of Embrace Tiger, Return To Mountain and founder of the Living Tao Foundation
"The discovery of a missing manuscript of Mozart could not bring greater joy than John Blofeld's memoir of his journey through a China that is barely visible nowadays but brought to life once more in this most welcome translation. To read this book is to travel again with this marvelous man on the path he walked so well: the path of the translator, the path of the pilgrim, the path of a stranger in a strange land. The bodhisattvas must be singing."
--Bill Porter (Red Pine), translator and editor of The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain
The reveries and remembrances contained in the travel diaries of English-born John Blofeld cover every aspect of his life in China. Perhaps best known for his translation of the I Ching, the Book of Change, this renowned scholar and prolific author spent over fifteen years of his adult life during the 1930s and ’40s traveling the country and immersing himself in its incredibly rich culture. His favorite city was Peking, and his eloquent discourses on the wonders of this ancient city include riveting experiences of its opium dens and singsong houses. Believing from an early age that he had a preordained link with China, John Blofeld was fascinated with its cultural past and developed a deep understanding of its three great philosophies--Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. He became a devout Buddhist whose journeys throughout the country included sojourns in the Buddhist monasteries and Taoist hermitages of the country’s sacred mountains, where he often studied with spiritual masters and received their sacred teachings. He also visited Guilin, Yulin, Chufu, and Chusien as well as many remote villages where no foreigner had ever traveled before.
Here is a vivid glimpse of “old” China as it existed in elegance and grace for three thousand years before the Communist Revolution. Originally written in Chinese for a Chinese audience, Blofeld’s travel diary reveals a beautiful, rare, and uncensored view of pre-communist China to which few Westerners have been exposed.
JOHN BLOFELD (1913-1987) was an eminent sinologist and humanist who authored numerous books on Buddhism and Taoism, including The Zen Teachings of Huang Po and Taoist Mystery and Magic. As a speaker of Chinese and master of that language, he brought a unique interpretation to his translation of the I Ching, the Book of Change, one of the seminal translations of this work in the twentieth century. He lived in China from 1932 until 1949, when the Communist Revolution forced him to relocate to Thailand, where he remained for the rest of his life. DANIEL REID, translator, met and became close friends with Blofeld at his home in Bangkok during the last year of his life. After his death, Reid lived and worked in Blofeld’s own study translating this, Blofeld’s last work, into English.