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Geof Nanto

Richard Wilhelm

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In Wilhelm’s preface to his Yi Jing translation he writes: 


“When Tsingtau [Qingdao] became the residence of a number of the most eminent scholars of the old school, I met among them my honored teacher, Lao Nai Hsuan. I am indebted to him not only for a deeper understanding. . . but also because he first opened my mind to the wonders of the Book of Changes. Under his experienced guidance I wandered entranced through this strange and yet familiar world. The translation of the text was made after detailed discussion. Then the German version was translated into Chinese and it was only after the meaning of the text had been fully brought out that we considered our version to be truly a translation.”


Adding to the image of instruction from a gifted teacher and countless hours of meticulous work, what I particularly like about this documentary is that it gives insight into why the circumstances that gave rise to his Yi Jing translation were no mere chance happenings. Quietly woven into the fabric of the documentary is the image of him being guided towards the task from his late adolescence onwards. In the aftermath of a failed suicide attempt during his Grammar school days his psyche was opened to the divine. He wrote at the time: An “indescribable feeling of being protected filled me.”  From then on his life felt full of purpose, whereas previously it felt meaningless. That purpose was revealed to him in glimpses at key times during his life. 


Edited by Geof Nanto

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