Mellen (absentmammoth) wrote,

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Okay, I take it back...

After reading a full two pages of Zhuangzi, I now again have things to say, hehe.

Just in case you don't know, Zhuangzi is one of the early Daoist texts, possibly written before the Dao de Jing. In my class, the professor had taken a great amount of time trying to define for the class some of the key Chinese Daoist terms that we'd encounter, written on the board in romanized form and discussing what interpretations might be used for it. She emphasized, of course, that these were pretty rough translations, and most of these ideas are hard to accurately get across in English. It's easy to get the basic idea, though.

Well, whoever had this translation of the book before me may have been a student of Chinese, because next to some of the key ideas and terms, s/he'd written the Chinese characters by them. I was able to recognize these from my own study in Japanese, which uses these same characters (we call them kanji in Japanese, as it literally means 'Chinese character'). Though the readings differ vocally and the combinations used are not usually compatable, the individual characters often carry the same meaning as the original Chinese. Reading the characters next to the word for the first time, I was like, "OOOH, so THAT'S what it's supposed to mean!" It's amazing how much clearer the concepts become when you see the actual written character for it.

There really is just no replacement for these written characters. It's really quite staggering when I think about it.

So, that's all for now.

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