So the other day (actually, it was night), Old Dude told me to go find his old books and take a look at them. I asked him where he kept them.
“They are scattered here and there,” he said. “I handed some of them over to a young pompous rascal a while back. Go look for them.”
I gave him a baleful look. “Who did you give it to?”
“You’ll know,” he said in his usual dry cryptic drawl.
I scowled. “How am I supposed to know if they are your books?”
“You’ll know.” He said again.
Yeah right. The only thing I know for sure is—I don’t know shit! Old Dude literally wrote the book on Taoism. And me—I am what you call a FAKE Taoist. I only know Taoism from reading a few books.
Methinks he needs to find more capable people to do his bidding Doesn’t he know I’m just a lazy Taobabe brat whose favorite thing to do is sleep and eat? I am so not worthy, it’s not even funny.
Well, it’s morning, and I woke up with a banging headache and no clue as to where to even begin looking. First things first.
Since I didn’t really know what to do, I decided to ask my good old friend Mr. Google for some suggestions. I only had Old Dude’s name to start with, so that was what I started with.
And no. I didn’t use Old Dude. I’m the only one who calls him that, and if I used that term, all the searches would take me back to my own taobabe blog. I had to use Lao Tzu because that’s what most everyone calls him. I swear, people think he’s some kind of God or Buddha and worship him as a deity. I have never thought of him as such. He’s just…well…he’s just my sư phụ ̣(teacher).
Any way, I used Lao Tzu in combination with several different search terms. Books. Friend. Gift. It was such a long shot that I didn’t think I would get anything. Still, I had to try.
Thirty minutes later, I sat back on my chair, eyes rolled up and staring at the ceiling. I didn’t think I would find much if anything at all. Searching in English got me nada. Zippo. Nothing.
Searching in Vietnamese, however, and I hit a single entry which looked as if it might be a real clue. We all know that Lao Tzu had a disciple named Yinxi, and we also know that Confucius met up with him a few times to learn from his wisdom. So I at least had that much to go by.
Yinxi was credited with authoring a couple of books, but I saw nothing about any books he took from Old Dude. Confucius on the other hand, hoarded a ton of books, and he hid a ton of them inside the walls of his house!
In trying to figure out what kind of books Confucius had, I stumbled across something that made me crawl on the floor laughing.
You would think that a guy like Confucius would have nothing to be afraid of. Who in hell would be so presumptuous as to threaten this high level man with anything? I presume Confucius would be somebody who could do whatever the hell he damn well please.
What would make him so afraid that he would feel the need to have to hide books inside his walls??? What could be so terrifying that it needed to be kept secret?
Well, for starters, it wasn’t even written in Han Chinese, but rather some old script they called ‘old texts’.
Were the Chinese so illiterate that they didn’t know what the ‘old texts’ was called? Did this ‘old text’ come from somewhere else? What language was this ‘old text’ written in?
Then, there was the widespread burning of all these books written in these ‘old texts’ script. Talk about Fahrenheit 451! This one takes the cake…and it’s not even fiction. It actually happened!
But that’s not the ghastliest thing. No. The ghastliest thing was that they buried alive, 460 scholars who could read this ‘old text’. No wonder Confucius hid the books. An edict this brazen could only come from the emperor of China. Nobody else would make Confucius this scared.
Holy moly. That’s just deranged. So you know…I just had to find out the reason behind all this. It all sounded so crazy. I wanted to know more about it.
Another hour of digging and I found a single passage in an obscure book, stating that the volumes found inside Confucius’ wall were all written in Văn Khoa Đẩu.
I was like. Hell to the fuck no. But it all made sense.
What they called the ‘old texts’ was actually my ancestors’ written language. The book burnings were to completely wipe out my ancestors’ accumulated wisdom to be passed down through the ages to us, their progeny.
The burying alive of our most educated people was their means to make us all illegitimate, illiterate children, who had no idea who our forefathers were. It was a smashing success. The Han managed to trash our entire civilization and made us into slaves for over a thousand years.
And I have been charged with reading whatever books I could get my hands on in that old script Văn Khoa Đẩu.
I don’t even know how to read it yet!!!!
(to be continued)
You’re images are charming. And your writing, penetrating.
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Thank you George. I didn’t draw the images though. I just took them off of free image websites.
Always it strikes my heart to know yet again another story of lost lore and knowledge. I would like to see what he thought was so worthy of secrets and protection. In that best wishes in your searches.
It raises the question of Confucian interest in the I Ching and what sources they used, but I’m sure you thought of this too.