Huainanzi


Huainanzi

The Huainanzi (淮南子; pinyin "Huáinánzǐ", Wade-Giles "Huai-nan Tzu"; literally "The Masters/Philosophers of Huainan") is a 2nd century BCE Chinese philosophical classic from the Han dynasty that blends Daoist, Confucianist, and Legalist concepts, including theories such as Yin-Yang and the Five Phases. It was written under the patronage of Liu An, King of Huainan, a legendarily prodigious author. The text, also known as the "Huainan honglie" 淮南鸿烈 ("The Great Brilliance of Huainan"), is a collection of essays presented as resulting from literary and philosophical debates between Liu and guests at his court, in particular the scholars known as the Eight Immortals of Huainan.

Before the 1978 discovery of the inscriptions on each of the bells of the Marquis Yi of Zeng (433 BC), [Temple (1986), 199.] the "Huainanzi" contained the oldest known Chinese 12 tone tuning in music, with 6-digit precise values and 2-digit approximations. [McClain and Ming, 206.] It also made use of the Pythagorean comma. [McClain and Ming, 213.]

The book

The date of composition for the "Huainanzi" is more certain than for most early Chinese texts. Both the "Book of Han" and "Records of the Grand Historian" record that when Liu An paid a state visit to his nephew the Emperor Wu of Han in 139 BCE, he presented a copy of his "recently completed" book in twenty-one chapters.

The "Huainanzi" is an eclectic compilation of chapters or essays that range across topics of mythology, history, astronomy, geography, philosophy, science, metaphysics, nature, and politics. It discusses many pre-Han schools of thought (especially Huang-Lao Daoism), and contains more than 800 quotations from Chinese classics. The textual diversity is apparent from the chapter titles (tr. Le Blanc, 1985, 15-16):

01 原道訓 Yuandao Searching out Dao 02 俶真訓 Chuzhen Beginning of Reality 03 天文訓 Tianwen Patterns of Heaven 04 墬形訓 Zhuixing Forms of Earth 05 時則訓 Shize Seasonal Regulations 06 覽冥訓 Lanming Peering into the Obscure 07 精神訓 Jingshen Seminal Breath and Spirit 08 本經訓 Benjing Fundamental Norm 09 主術訓 Zhushu Craft of the Ruler 10 繆稱訓 Miucheng On Erroneous Designations 11 齊俗訓 Qisu Placing Customs on a Par 12 道應訓 Daoying Responses of Dao 13 氾論訓 Fanlun A Compendious Essay 14 詮言訓 Quanyan An Explanatory Discourse 15 兵略訓 Binglue On Military Strategy 16 說山訓 Shuoshan Discourse on Mountains 17 說林訓 Shuolin Discourse on Forests 18 人間訓 Renjian In the World of Man 19 脩務訓 Youwu Necessity of Training 20 泰族訓 Taizu Grand Reunion 21 要略 Yaolue Outline of the Essentials

Some "Huainanzi" passages are philosophically significant, for instance, this combination of Five Phases and Daoist themes.  

When the lute-tuner strikes the "kung" note [on one instrument] , the "kung" note [on the other instrument] responds: when he plucks the "chiao" note [on one instrument] , the "chiao" note [on the other instrument] vibrates. This results from having corresponding musical notes in mutual harmony. Now, [let us assume that] someone changes the tuning of one string in such a way that it does not match any of the five notes, and by striking it sets all twenty-five strings resonating. In this case there has as yet been no differentiation as regards sound; it just happens that that [sound] which governs all musical notes has been evoked.
Thus, he who is merged with Supreme Harmony is beclouded as if dead-drunk, and drifts about in its midst in sweet contentment, unaware how he came there; engulfed in pure delight as he sinks to the depths; benumbed as he reaches the end, he is as if he had not yet begun to emerge from his origin. This is called the Great Merging. (chapter 6, tr. Le Blanc 1985:138)

Translations

The "Huainanzi" has never yet been completely translated into English. A complete translation is due to be published for the first time in 2009 by John Major, Harold Roth, Sarah Queen and Andy Meyer, with contributions from Judson Murray and Michael Puett. Besides Evan Morgan's free translation of eight chapters (1, 2, 7, 8, 12, 13, 15, and 19) and John Major's scholarly analysis of three (3, 4, and 5), the only published translations are of individual chapters: 1 by Frederic Balfour, 6 by Charles Le Blanc, 9 by Roger Ames, 1 by Roger Ames and D.C. Lau and 11 by Benjamin Wallacker.

Notes

References

* Ames, Roger T. (1983).The Art of Rulership: A Study of Ancient Chinese Political Thought. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-7914-2062-0

* Balfour, Frederic H. (1884). Taoist Texts: Ethical, Political, and Speculative. London: Trubner. ISBN 1-59752-175-2.

* Le Blanc, Charles. (1985). "Huai-nan Tzu": Philosophical Synthesis in Early Han Thought: The Idea of Resonance ("Kan-Ying") With a Translation and Analysis of Chapter Six. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 962-209-179-2.

* Major, John S. (1993). Heaven and Earth in Early Han Thought: Chapters Three, Four, and Five of the "Huainanzi". Albany: SUNY Press. ISBN 0-7914-1586-4.

* McClain, Ernest G. and Ming Shui Hung. "Chinese Cyclic Tunings in Late Antiquity," "Ethnomusicology", Vol. 23, No. 2 (May, 1979): 205-224.

* Morgan, Evan S. (1934). Tao, the Great Luminant: Essays from the "Huai Nan Tzu". Shanghai: Kelly and Walsh. ASIN: B00085Y8CI.

* Roth, Harold. (1992). The Textual History of the "Huai-nan Tzu". Ann Arbor: AAS Monograph Series. ISBN 0-924304-06-5.

* Vankeerberghen, Griet. (2001). The "Huainanzi" and Liu An's Claim to Moral Authority. Albany. SUNY. ISBN 0-7914-5147-x.

* Wallacker, Benjamin E. (1962). The "Huai-nan-tzu", Book Eleven: Behavior, Culture and the Cosmos. New Haven: American Oriental Society. ASIN: B0007DSHAA.

External links

* [http://www.zhaoxia.net/pinshu/huainanzi/index.htm 淮南子] , original text in Chinese with first 10 chapters
* [http://www.yasue.cc/wai_nam_chi.html 淮南子] , original text in Chinese 21 chapters
* [http://ef.cdpa.nsysu.edu.tw/ccw/01/hnz.htm 淮南子] , original text in Chinese 21 chapters
* [http://www.tianyabook.com/gudian/huainanzi/index.htm 淮南子] , original text in Chinese 21 chapters
* [http://www.guoxue.com/zibu/huainanzi/hnzml.htm 淮南子] , original text in Chinese 21 chapters
* [http://www.sacred-texts.com/tao/tgl/index.htm Tao, the Great Luminant] , Morgan's translation
* [http://www.san.beck.org/EC15-Taoism.html#8 Huainan-zi] , Sanderson Beck's article
* [http://www.chinaknowledge.de/Literature/Daoists/huainanzi.html Huainanzi] , Chinaknowledge article


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