53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2001
This is an excellent choice if you don't know much about Taoism. It is the book that the Fung Loy Kok Taoist institute recomends as an introduction to Taoist study. An excellent story in itself it tells the tale of a Taoist master, himself a student of Lu Tung Pin, the patriach of taoism, and his seven students and how they find their own way to the Tao and immortality. One of the students historically is the founder of the Complete Reality school of Taoism. A truley wonderful and entertaining read.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 February 2012
Eva Wang, at the time of publishing, was a student of Taoist master Moy Lin-Shin, and a member of the Translation Committee of the Fung Loy Kok Taoist Temple and the Taoist Tai Chi Society. Master Moy Lin-Shin - originally from Hong Kong - migrated to the Canada and eventually asked Eva Wang to translate this folk novel of China - as within its pages the Taoist path of meditational development is clearly marked out through the adventures of six men and one woman during the Southern Sung Dynasty (1127-1279). Despite its historical setting the novel itself appears to have been written around the middle of the Ming Dynasty (1500). The narrative conveys the teachings of the Complete Reality School of Taoism. The original author of this novel is unknown but he/she must have had an extensive knowledge of this Taoist lineage, as the main character is Wang Ch'ung-yang, a well known patriarch of this tradition. In the novel Wang Ch'ung-yang is the spiritual master and guide to the other seven characters.
The paperback (1990) edition contains 178 numbered pages, and consists of an of five distinct sections - one of which is the English translation of the original Chinese text, and contains twenty-nine wood-block print illustrations:
List of Illustrations.
Seven Taoist Masters (Translated Text).
About the Translator and Fung Loy Kok Taoist Temple.
This Complete Reality School (Quanzhen) of Taoist thinking, although distinctive, shows certain influences originating from the Ch'an (Zen) school of Chinese Buddhism. Indeed, such is this connection that even the legendary founder of Ch'an Buddhism in China is mention - namely the Indian monk Bodhidharma. Wang Ch'ung-yang was originally a Confucian scholar who gave-up is government post to train in Taoist cultivation. After his enlightenment he founded the Complete Reality School and this novel explores the unfolding of his developmental techniques through the minds and bodies of his students as they proceed along the spiritual path. Eva Wang's translation is faultless and preserves in English the original spirit of the Chinese text.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 1 May 2008
I first came upon this book at my college library several years ago, and I could not put it down. And, recently, I finally able to obtain this book in hand and read it once more. To me at least, it is a book full of insights and fascinating stories. It was not until later that I realized that they are stories mixed with historical facts and mythology in order to teach (about the basics of Taoism) and to entertain the readers.
"Seven Taoist Masters" is a story of one woman and six men (students of Wang Ch'ung-yang) who faced severe hardships and overcoming them on their own unique paths towards self-mastery over themselves and towards enlightenment. The one story that I most identified with was Chi'iu Ch'ang-ch'un's long journey.
This novel is roughly 200 pages and easy to read. It was written by an unknown author but it was translated by Eva Wong with great clarity. I would recommend this book, as well Eva Wong's "Tales of the Taoist Immortals," for those who are interested in Taoism philosophy and in Chinese historical legends.
Written by an unknown author, Seven Taoist Masters is the story of six men and one woman who overcome tremendous hardships on the journey to self-mastery. These characters and their teacher, Want Ch'ung-yang , are all historical figures who lived in the Southern Sung and Yuan dynasties.
The novel brings to life the essentials of Taoist philosophy and practice, both through the instruction offered by Wang - on topics such as cultivation of mind and body, meditation techniques, and overcoming the four obstacles of anger, greed, lust, and drunkenness - and through the experience of characters.
While all road eventually lead to the experience of the Tao, each individual's path is unique, as is the adventure of each master in this book.
on 10 January 2013
This ancient tale shows the philosophies of China very intermingled from very old times. It is interesting to see a different Taoism, more related to Buddhism than what might be expected. Concepts like the Karma are present like common sense Taoist concepts, while they are very much Buddhist.
Yet this is a fascinating little story that is interesting, instructive and funny. Recommended for those who want to start a Taoist life.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 May 2011
This is indeed a superlative introduction to Taoism, but besides that the story itself is a kind of archetypal journey through the trials and tribulations of spiritual initiation, and speaks on many levels besides. More words would only detract for the value of this most inpsiring of stories. Read it if self-cultivation is a notion that has ever entered your mind.