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Hualin International Journal of Buddhist Studies 6.1 (2023): 55–110;
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhist Narrative Literature)

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Chan With This-Worldly Cares: Hu Pu’an 胡樸安 (1878–1947) and his ‘Matching Hanshan’ 和寒山 Poems

Chin-fung NG 伍展楓
Goethe University Frankfurt

Abstract: Known for its straightforwardness and the rendition of religious transcendence and secular concerns about humanity, the poetry of the Tang-period Chan monk-poet Hanshan 寒山 (Cold Mountain) has attracted many imitations and matching acts by later poets in Chinese literary history. This includes those who were active during the late Qing and Republican periods, which witnessed significant changes in politics, society, and culture. This paper examines the case of Hu Pu’an 胡樸安 (1878–1947), a nationalistic philologist and poet who was once a member of the Nanshe 南社 (Southern Society, 1909–1923), the largest progressive classical-style literary society of its time. Being a rare example of Republican-era poets who extensively wrote Hanshan-related works, Hu matched over three hundred of Hanshan’s poems. In this collection of ‘matching Hanshan’ (和寒山) poems, Hu not only adopts the structural and stylistic features of Hanshan’s poems, but also uses narratives in many of these matching works to address and respond to the social conditions and political circumstances of China. Because Hu’s works demonstrate more realistically expressed socio-political concerns than Hanshan’s poems, Hu also conveyed his social care and political opinions to the lay and monastic public in a more profound manner.

Keywords: Hu Pu’an 胡樸安, Hanshan 寒山 (‘Cold Mountain’), Poetry of Hanshan 寒山詩, ‘Matching Hanshan’ Poems 和寒山詩, Buddhist literature in late Qing and Republican China


About the Author: Chin-fung Ng is currently a Ph.D. student in Sinology at the Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany. After graduating from the Chinese University of Hong Kong with a degree in Chinese Language and Literature, he obtained his master’s degree in Chinese Studies from Leipzig University in Germany with a thesis focusing on the poetry and academic works of Zhang Ruzhao 張汝釗 (1900– 1969), a revolutionary heroine turned Buddhist nun and pioneer activist of the feminist movement in 20th century China. Under the supervision of Prof. Zhiyi Yang 楊治宜, Ng’s current major area of research is classical Chinese literature related to Buddhism, especially poetry, during the late Qing and Republican periods.


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