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Existence: A Story


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The meaning of life-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.

About the Author

DAVID HINTON is one of the most renowned translators of the Chinese Classics of our time. He has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for his book Hunger Mountain, which was also desingnated as a Book-of-the-Year by The Guardian. He was the recipient of the 1997 American Academy of Poets Harold Morton Landon Translation Award and the 2007 PEN Award for translation. He was a 2003 Guggenheim Fellow, and has also been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Merrill Foundation, and the Witter Bynner Foundation. He has published more than sixteen other books, among them translations of the Tao Te Ching, the Chuang Tzu, the poems of Li Po, and his monumental Classical Chinese Poetry- An Anthology.


"In extraordinarily deft and patient hands, David Hinton delivers us into the unknowable. Using as his guide the Chinese landscape painter Shih T'ao and other sage poet-painter-wanderers, he takes us to the very brink of existence and consciousness, beyond linguistic dualities of past and future, propelled by the life force that drives through us, from one step to the next . . . you can almost hear the footfalls of his thinking and Ch'an practice . . . until we find ourselves in the strange surroundings of empty mind and full heart, and finally, equanimity. It is an uncanny journey, essential for all."--Gretel Ehrlich, author of Facing the Wave and This Cold Heaven

"A pellucid gem of a book--I couldn't put it down. Through the vision of a single, inexhaustible painting--whose depth opens onto the mysteries of meditation, calligraphy, poetry, and existence itself--Hinton gradually discloses for us the whole vast and fathomless landscape of Taoist and Ch'an (Zen) spirituality. At first we gaze wonder-struck into the many-mountained distance; soon we find ourselves immersed; and then we dissolve into the ch'i-mist drifting up the forested slopes."--David Abram, author of The Spell of the Sensuous "[Hinton is a] rare example of a literary Sinologist--that is, a classical scholar thoroughly conversant with, and connected to, contemporary literature in English."--New York Review of Books

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