Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits

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Catapult, Aug 10, 2009 - Religion - 240 pages
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In 1989, Bill Porter, having spent much of his life studying and translating Chinese religious and philosophical texts, began to wonder if the Buddhist hermit tradition still existed in China. At the time, it was believed that the Cultural Revolution had dealt a lethal blow to all religions in China, destroying countless temples and shrines, and forcibly returning thousands of monks and nuns to a lay life.

But when Porter travels to the Chungnan mountains — the historical refuge of ancient hermits — he discovers that the hermit tradition is very much alive, as dozens of monks and nuns continue to lead solitary lives in quiet contemplation of their faith deep in the mountains.

Part travelogue, part history, part sociology, and part religious study, this record of extraordinary journeys to an unknown China sheds light on a phenomenon unparalleled in the West. Porter's discovery is more than a revelation, and uncovers the glimmer of hope for the future of religion in China.

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User Review  - John_Pappas - LibraryThing

The first foray into an unknown field of research is a challenge. Much of the time is spent searching out false leads and running into dead-ends. Up one hill only to notice several hills that follow ... Read full review

Loved Road to Heaven

User Review  - maramai -

This book is part travel part history and a glimpse into a time and place that is seldom visited by westerners. It describes a way of life that has existed for thousands of years but which is quite ... Read full review

Selected pages


One Hermit Heaven
Two Mountains of the Moon
Chinese Dynasties and Republics
Four On the Trail of the
Five Sound of the Crane
Six Road to Heaven
Chin 265420
Seven Cloud People
Tang 618907
Nine Crossing Heartbreak Bridge
Ten Home of the Evening Star
Yuan 12781368
Eleven Visiting Wang Wei Finding Him Gone
Ching 16441911
Note on the Spelling of Chinese Names

Eight The Bird That Is a Mountain

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About the author (2009)

Bill Porter (aka "Red Pine") is widely recognized as one of the world's preeminent translators of Chinese poetry and religious texts; he assumes the pen name "Red Pine" for his translations.

Writing as Red Pine, he was the first translator to ever translate the entirety of Han-shan's oeurve into English, published as The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain. Red Pine was also the first to translate into English the entirely of The Poems of the Masters. He has also translated several of the major Buddhist sutras, including the Heart Sutra, Diamond Sutra, and Platform Sutra.

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