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LIÚ Yìqìng 刘义庆 (403-444) produced a famous set of miscellaneous anecdotes and observations about people who lived between about AD 150 and his own era. Although he arranged them by topic (stories about affairs of state, stories about death and grieving, stories about perceptiveness, &c), the work never lost its chaotic character.
Whatever its organizational shortcomings, the work's individual sections are often historically instructive, inherently interesting, or amusing.
In the following vignette we meet the gullible Daoist CHĪ Yīn 郗愔, who is undergoing great physical discomfort and the benign healer YÚ Fǎkāi 于法开 who at once heals him and most politely makes him look like a fool.
The name Fǎkāi means "Opening of the Dharma," and clearly shows him to be a Buddhist, almost certainly a priest.
Is this a critique of Daoism? Of medical charlatans? Of gullible fools?
|1. CHĪ Yīn was a committed believer in Daoism.||
CHĪ Yīn xìn dào shén jīng qín.
|2. But once he had a pain in his bowels, which no Daoist treatment was able to cure.||
Cháng huàn fù nèi è, zhū yī bù kě liáo.
|3. He heard of a famous [Buddhist] named YÚ Fǎkāi, and went to see him.||
Wén YÚ Fǎkāi yǒu míng, wǎng yíng zhī.
|4. Having felt his pulse, Yú said, “What your honor is suffering from is merely excessive enthusiasm.”||
既来, 便许脉, 云, 「君侯所患, 正是精进太过所致耳.」
Jì lái, biàn xǔ mo, yún, "Jūn hóu suǒ huàn zhèng shì jīng jìn tài guo suǒ zhì ěr."
既來, 便許脈, 云, 「君侯所患, 正是精進太過所致耳.」
|5. He mixed up a medicine and administered it. As soon as Chī Yīn took it, he had a massive bowel movement.||
Hé yī jì tāng yǔ zhī. Yī fú jí jí dà xià.
|6. Several rolls of paper came out, each as big as your fist.||
Qù shù duàn zhǐ rú quán dà,
|7. On examination he saw that they were Daoist charms that he had consumed earlier.||
Pōu kàn nǎi xiān suǒ fú fú yě.
Jìn Dynasty Source:|
—LIÚ Yìqìng (403-444)
A New Account of Tales
of the World
(ch. 20, sec. 10)
— LIÚ Yìqìng
— 劉義慶 《世說新語》
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