Classical Chinese Self Study

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Classical Chinese Self Study

Post by lotwell » Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:44 pm

Hi all,

So basically I would like to start learning classical Chinese. I know some Mandarin and have some Chinese friends (with good knowledge of dharma vocabulary as far as I can tell).

Is this within the realm of possibility? I ask that because I have a hard time learning Sanskrit, for instance, merely by self study.

If this is not to overly ambitious, would the experts of Dharma Wheel please recommend online resources or books that can be downloaded (not within Amazon's range of influence :( ).

Many thanks and deep bows!


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Re: Classical Chinese Self Study

Post by Huseng » Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:59 pm

Pulleyblank's grammar is useful, but advanced. It is more relevant to Old Chinese rather than Classical Chinese.

The introductory work to begin with is A New Practical Primer of Literary Chinese (Harvard East Asian Monographs). You can find this easily enough.

As far as Buddhist Chinese goes, see the following resource:

For Non-Buddhist terms see the following:

Once you go through the two above works, you can slowly go through Buddhist Chinese texts. You need to read Menicus and Confucius, and probably parts of the Five Classics, as they constitute the foundational grammatical patterns for Classical Chinese, and the main texts youth all read during their education throughout Imperial Chinese history.

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Re: Classical Chinese Self Study

Post by rory » Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:43 am

Super! thank you Ven. Indrajala, this looks just the thing.
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58

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Re: Classical Chinese Self Study

Post by Fa Dao » Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:00 pm

probably one of the best books out there for self study of Chinese classics is prof. Jeannette Faurots book, "Gateway to the Chinese Classics". This book will give you a very nice foundation from which you can build on in whichever direction you want to go with your studies. Good luck!!
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

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Re: Classical Chinese Self Study

Post by lotwell » Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:18 am

Thanks a bunch!

I was able to download A New Practical Primer of Literary Chinese.


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