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Canon of Purity and Tranquility
- Yize mode: 3 5 6 1 2 3 5 2
As inscribed at Hua Shan (fuller version) 3
The music of this qin setting, which perhaps more suggests a hymn than a chant, also seems to be musically and stylistically unrelated to any of the music commonly used today for chanting the Qingjing Jing.6 Such chanting is said to be particularly common in the Quanzhen (Complete Perfection) school of Daoism.7 Quanzhen, which has a strong monastic tradition, rose to prominence during the northern Song dynasty; this text became an important part of their prayer services at that time.8 As mentioned in the footnote accompanying the image at right, there have also been numerous fine art renderings, ink as well as inscription.
The text of Qingjing Jing, like that of A Quiet Evening Talk on Metaphysics (Jingye Tan Xuan, published in 1625), can be found in the Daoist Canon published in 1445.9 Qing Jing Jing itself was apparently first written down around the 9th century CE.10 It heavily quotes and paraphrases the Dao De Jing (sometimes called the Book of Laozi), which is the great philosophical text of Daoism.11 Other parts of the Qingjing Jing text also have strong Buddhist influence, for example, the emphasis on tranquility of mind and freedom from desire.12 Qingjing Jing might thus be seen as a meeting between so-called philosophical and religious Daoism.13
Directly below the title in the Sanjiao Tongsheng setting the tuning is given, after which is the statement "Six sections".14 The text/lyrics are placed alongside the tablature, paired according to the common method of one character for each right hand stroke (and some left hand strokes). The first and fifth sections begin with the words "Lao jun yue" (Laozi says). Thus, the Qingjing Jing is sometimes attributed to Laozi himself.
It should be noted that the back of the surviving copy of Sanjiao Tongsheng is damaged and the end is missing. As a result the music for two or three phrases (eight characters) near the end of section 5 and for the final four phrases (16 characters) of section 6 are missing or illegible. In my transcription I have supplied tablature (indicated by circles) for those two passages based on the surrounding idiom.15
Music and text of Qingjing Jing (see transcription [.pdf]; timings follow my recording 聽錄音)
translation by Livia Kohn;16 A largely syllabic setting of the text.17
The music and/or text is missing from the tablature for the phrases in square parentheses; timings follow my recording
Da Dao wu xing , sheng yu tian di .
The Great Dao has no form; it brings forth and raises heaven and earth.
Da Dao wu qing . yun xing ri yue .
The Great Dao has no feelings; it regulates the course of the sun and moon.
Da Dao wu ming , chang yang wan wu .
The Great Dao has no name; it raises and nourishes the myriad beings.
Wu bu zhi qi ming , qiang ming yue Dao .
I do not know its name, so the name I give it is Dao.
Fu Dao zhe:
As for this Dao:
You qing you zhuo , you dong you jing;
It has clarity and turbidity; it has movement and tranquility ;
tian qing di zhuo , tian dong di jing ;
heaven is clear, earth is turbid; heaven moves, earth is tranquil ;
nan qing nü zhuo , nan dong nü jing ;
the male is clear, the female is turbid; the male moves, the female is tranquil ;
jiang ben liu mo .
(this all) descending from the origin and flowing toward the end.
Er sheng wan wu ,
(But) as it gives birth to all things.
qing zhe zhuo zhi yuan , jing zhe dong zhi ji .
Purity is turbidity's source, tranquility is movement's root.
Ren neng chang qing jing , tian di xi jie gui .
If people can always be pure and tranquil, heaven and earth return to the primordial.
Fu ren shen hao qing , er qing nao zhi .
The human spirit is fond of purity, but feelings disturb it.
Ren xin hao jing , er yu qian zhi .
The human mind loves tranquility, but desires drag us from it.
Chang neng qian qi yu , er xin zi jing .
If one can always discard one's desires, then the mind calms itself.
Cheng qi xin , er shen zi qing .
Cleanse the mind, and the spirit clears itself.
Zi ran liu yu bu sheng , san du xiao mie .
Naturally the six desires won't arise, and the three poisons are destroyed.
Suo yi bu neng zhe , wei xin wei cheng zhe ,
Whoever cannot do this has a mind not yet cleansed.
yu wei qian ye .
and his desires are not yet driven out.
Neng qian zhi zhe :
Those who can abandon these (desires) :
nei guan qi xin , xin wu qi xin ;
through introspection observe their minds, and see there is no mind ;
wai guan qi xing , xing wu qi xing ;
from outside observe the body, and see there is no body ;
yuan guan qi wu , wu wu qi wu .
then observe other things by glancing afar, and see there are no other things.
San zhe ji wu , wei jian yu kong .
Once you have realized these three, you observe emptiness.
Guan kong yi kong , kong wu suo kong .
Observe emptiness using emptiness, and see there is no emptiness.
Suo kong ji wu , wu wu yi wu .
When even emptiness is no more, there is no more nonbeing either.
Wu wu ji wu , zhan ran chang ji .
Without the existence even of non-being, profound and everlasting all is serenity.
Ji wu suo ji , yu qi neng sheng ?
When serenity dissolves in nothingness, how can desire arise?
Yu ji bu sheng , ji shi zhen jing .
When no desire arises, there is true tranquility.
真靜應物，真常 得 (德?)性。
Zhen jing ying wu , zhen chang de xing .
True tranquility goes along with other beings; true permanence realizes inner nature.
Chang ying chang jing : chang qing jing yi .
Forever going along, forever tranquil : this is permanent purity and tranquility.
Ru ci qing jing , jian ru zhen Dao .
Like this in purity and tranquility, gradually enter the true Dao.
Ji ru zhen Dao , ming wei de Dao .
When one has entered the true Dao, one can say this is "realization".
Sui ming de Dao , shi wu suo de .
Though one speaks of "realization", actually there is nothing to attain.
Wei hua zhong sheng , ming wei de Dao .
The so-called transformation of the myriad beings is what is called "realization".
Neng wu zhi zhe , ke chuan sheng Dao .
Only one who can properly understood this is worthy to transmit the sages' Dao.
Lao Jun yue :
Master Laozi says :
Shang shi wu zheng , xia shi hao zheng .
The highest gentleman does not fight; the lesser gentleman loves to fight.
Shang De bu De , xia De zhi De .
Highest virtue is free from Virtue; lesser Virtue clings to Virtue.
Zhi zhuo zhi zhe , bu ming Dao De .
All clinging and attachments have nothing to do with the Dao or Virtue.
Zhong sheng suo yi bu de zhen Dao zhe ,
The reason people do not attain realization of the Dao
wei jian wang xin .
is because they have deviant minds.
Ji jian wang xin , ji jin qi shen .
Deviance in the mind means pride in the body.
Ji jin qi shen , ji zhuo wan wu .
Pride in the body means there is clinging to things.
Ji zhuo wan wu , ji sheng tan qiu .
Clinging to things, means there is searching and coveting.
Ji sheng [tan qiu , ji shi fan nao .]
Searching and coveting means there are passions and afflictions.
Fan nao wang xiang you ku shen xin .
Passions, afflictions, deviance, and imaginings trouble and pester body and mind.
6. 05.20 (in harmonics)
Bian zao zhuo ru , liu lang si sheng .
Then one falls into turbidity and shame ups and downs, life and death.
Chang chen ku hai , yong shi zhen Dao .
Forever immersed in the sea of misery, one is in eternity lost to the true Dao.
Zhen chang zhi Dao , wu zhe zi de .
The Dao of true permanence: those who understand naturally achieve it.
De wu Dao zhe , chang [ qin jing yi ] .
Those who achieve realization of the Dao will rest forever in the pure and tranquil.
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)
18003.683 qingjing quotes many ancient sources but does not mention the Qingjing Jing. Alternate translations include Canon of Purity and Stillness, and Scripture of Clarity and Quiescence. The latter is used by Liva Kohn in her entry on this text in the Encyclopedia of Taoism, pp.800-1, which begins,
In Chinese another title is apparently 常清靜經 Chang Qingjing Jing (9138.162 has only 常清 chang qing), translated as Daoist Scripture of Constant Purity and Tranquility.
The standard text is that in the 正统道藏洞神部 Dong Shen section of the Daoist Canon.
夷則調 Yize Diao
From standard tuning lower the 1st, 3rd and 6th strings; there is an 夷則意 Yize Modal Prelude in Xilutang Qintong. Tuning is the same as for Man Gong Diao (see Huo Lin) and Nanlü Yi.
Fine art renderings of Qingjing Jing
The image above (longer excerpt below) is from a photo I made of an inscription carved into a rock at the 玉泉廟 Yuquan Temple at the base of 華山 Hua Shan.
The Freer Gallery of the Smithsonian has a copy of this text in calligraphy by Zhao Mengfu. There is important commentary with the online image on their site, but the image itself shows a colophon by a prominent Mongol artist with the Chinese name 康里夒夒 Kangli Naonao (d.1354). The image at right is from an amateur photo that was once on the website of the World Art Kiosk; it claims to show the Zhao Mengfu calligraphy of the original text, but it is too small to read.
Tablature for Qingjing Jing
三教同聲 Sanjiao Tongsheng was reprinted in Vol.6 of 琴曲集成 Qinqu Jicheng; Qingjing Jing begins on page 113.
The other Ming dynasty qin melodies that perhaps most closely resemble chants are the versions of the various melodies of homage to Yan Hui.
Music for active chants of Qingjing Jing
As yet I have not been able to find out the source of the music for any of the chanted versions of Qingjing Jing that I have heard (other than my own), nor have I yet heard anything that sounds like the 誦經 songjing mentioned below. Here are some examples of what seems to be available.
However, the CD is not subdivided by tracks and I cannot make out the words they are chanting, so cannot confirm Qingjing Jing is actually on it.
Quan Zhen School
See in Wikipedia. A Quanzhen website, Introduction to Quanzhen Daoism, makes greater claims for the antiquity of this text. The source text for Jingye Tan Xuan (Quiet Evening Talk on Metaphysics) can also be found on Quanzhen websites, but not the specific arrangement used in the qin melody.
Modern usage of Qingjing Jing
Qingjing Jing is apparently the first of the Daoist morning canons (see Kim). The account in Wikipedia says that modern Quanzhen Daoists consider the Qingjing jing a central scripture and regularly chant it in songjing 誦經 "reciting scriptural passages; ritual recitation". Regarding the music for this chant, see my comments above.
Daoist Canon (道藏 Dao Zang) (www.chinaknowledge.de)
The existant Daoist Canon is based on the Ming Zhengtong Emperor's Daoist Canon (正統道藏 Zhengtong Daozang, 1445), with an imperial Wanli supplement dated 1607. Some of the included works may date from as early as the Warring States period. A few more works of this type but not included in the Ming publications have been found in modern times. For the other Canon text set to qin see Jingye Tan Xuan.
English language sources for detailed information on the Canon are mostly quite recent. They include:
In Chinese the entire Canon is online on various sites; some of these are mentioned here and, e.g.,
wenxian.fanren8.com has the present text here.
Origin of the text of 清靜經 Qingjing Jing
Historical origins are discussed in some detail in the Wikipedia entry, as well as in the article by Livia Kohn quoted above. A more traditional account of the source is related together with the online image mentioned above at The Freer Gallery. Here it says Laozi originally
"dictated this teaching to the goddess Queen Mother of the West (西王母). His words were then transmitted orally through generations of Daoist adepts until the text was written down by a believer named Ge Xuan (葛玄 164–244 C.E.) and later became part of the official Daoist canon."
The Queen Mother of the West [Xiwang Mu] is said to have had a daughter who played a
Daoism and the Dao De Jing
At the time of Confucius there were numerous contending schools of thought. That of Confucius emphasized bringing order to society by following certain moral principles; another school, suggesting any true principles could not be put into words, emphasized what might be called detachment and non-action. The Dao De Jing seems to be a collection of sayings of this latter school. Much of it was written in verse.
Tradition attributes the Dao De Jing to
Laozi ("Old Master"), a contemporary of Confucius. There is a story that as Laozi was leaving the world (by entering the mountains southwest of what is today Xi'an) he met Yin Xi, Keeper of the Pass, who persuaded him to write it down. D. C. Lau, Tao Te Ching, A Bilingual Translation, The Chinese University Press, 2001, p. ix, says the original title of the book was "Laozi", while the title "Dao De Jing" dates only from the 2nd C. CE. However, there being no historical records for someone named "Laozi", it has been suggested that Daoism grew out of the philosophy of 楊朱 Yang Zhu, which emphasized extreme individualism. See D.C. Lau (trans.), Tao Te Ching, HK, Chinese University Press, 1982, p.xiv.
See the account in Wikipedia.
Daoism: Philosophical vs. Religious?
Although this is a distinction commonly made, and the influence from Buddhism on Daoism is generally connected with what is referred to as religious Daoism, this distinction is not universally accepted, in particular the related argument that philosophical Daoism came first and religious Daoism came later, popularizing it: the religious aspects of Daoism can be traced earlier than the classic texts.
In most printed versions the text of Qingjing Jing is not divided into sections.
Individual errors and omissions throughout the text are also circled.
The translation, included here with permission, is published in Livia Kohn, The Taoist Experience: An Anthology. Albany, State University of New York Press, 1993, pp.24-29.
Original text of Qing Jing Jing
(compare Jingye Tan Xuan)
The complete Chinese text is also published (with some minor differences) in 太上全貞早談功德經 Taishang Quanzhen zao tan gongde jing, Beijing, Zhongguo Dajiao Xiehui, 1983, pp.24-27. According to François Picard the text there is prefaced by 太上老君說「常清靜經」 Taishang Laojun shuo, "Chang Qingjing Jing" (The great master Laozi spoke, the permanent canon of purity and tranquility]), intended to be sung in declamatory style before the text is recited. Music for this title can be found in Wudang Shan Daojiao Yinyue (武當山道教音樂; Daoist Music of Mount Wudang, a mountain in northwest Hubei province with many Daoist monasteries and fame as a martial arts center). That music is unrelated to the music here.
The original text as found here in Sanjiao Tongsheng is as follows (for the text with transliteration and translation see above):
Here is the beginning of the text, as found in the 玉泉院 Yuquan Temple, dedicated to Chen Tuan at 華山 Hua Shan (comment).
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