The novel “A Journey to the West” written in Ming Dynasty describes Four people went to India to take these buddhism books home.They traveled almost one year to get to the destination.So the novel was about their fantastic journey and it was actually a myth.
Shortly after the novel was wrote,another person named Ice Heart went to the India, and translated several books into Chinese.
It was a time when buddha began to speak English.At the meantime, modern Chinese language began to emerge, it was a mixture of Japanese,mandarin Chinese with Shanghai tone, and a little bit English. This was because after the Qing Dynasty demised in 1911, Shanghai became the largest city in Asia in the early 20th Century.People in the Long River Delta area became rich and send their children to study abroad,mainly Japan, and part of them to the west.After graduation, they helped translate those books to Chinese. Ice Heart was one of them.
Though no rhythm,no form after translation,Stray Birds by Tagore was popular among its Chinese readers.I’m not here to discuss much about India philosophy, but just to enjoy these poets and lyrics of a modern guru or “monk”. I also have that book, which I purchased in high school.
Nowadays, The modern Chinese mandarin has become more fluent and natural than that of the early 20th century. So many people urged to re-translate Stray Birds. In fact, with the help of the internet, it’s quite possible to translate it into the forms in the Tang and Song Dynasty and even the time several hundreds of years before century when poems were very popular and had very good rhythms.