Chinese poetry and prophecy: the written oracle in East Asia by Michel Strickmann

By Michel Strickmann

Targeting oracular texts, chinese language Poetry and Prophecy examines the function of divination in chinese language tradition, relatively in spiritual perform. Drawing on a blinding array of historic and glossy resources, the writer establishes the oracular series of vital yet vague works in his celebrated attractive style.This is the second one posthumous paintings of Michel Strickmann to be to be edited through Bernard Faure for book through Stanford college Press.

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Sample text

5 The oracle attributed to Ingen illustrates the likely genesis of many sequences that may have come into being as free variations on earlier models. The three examples given above almost suggest a set of linked verses; except that the extreme closeness of many of the lines, their fidelity to prototype, indicates a less than normally ingenious will to diversify. Rather than recherche elaborations, the alternatives appear to be deliberate and heavy-handed attempts at stamping each new oracle with a specious individuality.

Turning next to Taichung, Pas found the Ma-tsu oracle employed in three times as many temples as the Kuan Ti oracle, its closest 46 II CHINESE POETRY AND PROPHECY competitor. The Kuan Ti sequence in turn proved to be more than three times as popular as any of the remaining nine oracles in use in Taichung, Of course, as Pas notes, the two preeminent sequences are not exclusively associated with Ma-tsu and Kuan Ti; they turn up in temples of all sorts. In his efforts to classify and correlate oracles and temple-types, Pas largely depended on the municipal registry of temples-possibly not the best source.

Banck collected his sequence from the Miao-hsin ssu, Taipei, in March 1973. He notes that this temple was founded sometime in the 1930s, and that it is dedicated to Sakyamuni. A Buddhist foundation, then, bearing the name of one of the most renowned Zen temples of Kyoto (the Myoshin-ji); examination of the foundation's history will doubtlessly confirm the unsavory circumstances of its origin-and hence, perhaps, the derivative and alien nature of its oracle. Yet as it happens, whatever the temple's background and its oracle's immediate provenance, suspicion is ultimately groundless.

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