Orphaned at the age of five in a rural Thai village, Lek is thrust into a life-long struggle to find his place in the world. Alone and impoverished, he treads a precarious path, barely surviving in the markets of Surin until, at age fifteen, he finds himself brandishing a rifle as a boy soldier in the Cambodian jungle. Despair leads him to two suicide attempts. He is hell-bent on succeeding on his third try, but a stranger intervenes and offers him hope. Thus begins Lek's journey to become Dr. Amporn Wathanavongs, foster father to more than 50,000 Thai children. Driven to become a reputable member of society, he returns to his boyhood village to study at the local temple. But when his vows as a monk collide with his desire to learn English and have a family, he must choose between settling for a safe and predictable life, or risk living as a vagrant on the streets of Bangkok while searching for a way to make his dream a reality.
Through the generous support of a Jesuit missionary working in Thailand, he achieves his objectives. But having a family, a formal education, and a respectable job in social work are not enough. He perseveres and finds his true calling helping others. With the exotic landscape of Thailand as a backdrop, Boy with A Bamboo Heart tells the story of one man's quest for happiness."
In this book I have collected many reports on the properties of bamboo. Since I started bamboo research in 1974, I have collected many publications on bamboo. However, in contacts with other researchers I became aware of the fact that several of these publications were unknown to them. Consequently their activities in research or in bamboo projects had to start at a lower level than if they had known some of these publications. Therefore, I discussed the need for a book like this with several colleagues, and I decided to start writing. In this book I present data on properties, as published by resear- chers. Certainly it is not complete; e.g. the proceedings of the bamboo workshop in Cochin in November 1988 are not included; they arrived just too late to be taken into account. On the other hand, in writing this preface I realize I have forgotten my own thesis. I do apologize to any colleague whose relevant report is not taken into account as well. I like to express my feelings of respect to the board of my faculty: they allowed me to spend so much time on this book, and they gave a considerable financial support for the printing costs.
The cache of bamboo texts recently unearthed (in 1993) from the village of Guodian, Hubei Province, is without doubt a rare and unique find in the history of Chinese philosophy and literature. As the only archaeologically excavated corpus of philosophical manuscripts to emerge from a Warring States-period tomb, the Guodian texts provide us with a wealth of reliable information for gaining new insights into the textual and intellectual history of pre-imperial China. In this respect, one may reasonably claim that they are the most exciting thing to happen to the study of early China since the third century ad, the last time a pre-imperial textual cache of similar import was unearthed. The importance of these texts is manifold. First, given the prominence of Confucian works in the corpus, they serve to fill out much of the intellectual-historical picture for the doctrines of roughly three generations of Confucian disciples who fell between the times of Confucius (551-479 bc) and Mencius (ca. 390-305 bc). Next, the discovery of three different texts that each parallel portions of the Daode jing (aka. Laozi), along with a possibly related cosmogonic work, the "Taiyi sheng shui", is helping us better understand the formation and early transmission of the Laozi and the nature of its relationship to early Confucian thought and even popular beliefs. Moreover, the dating of the tomb serves to dispel serious doubts about the early temporal provenance of both the Laozi and many of the chapters from the Li ji ( Book of Ritual ), as well as giving us a number of clues to help us reconstruct the history of the early Chinese canonical "classics" that are cited in some of the texts. Written as they are in the local Chu script, the manuscripts hold great significance for the study of early Chinese paleography and phonology, giving us tangible examples of "ancient script" forms hitherto seen mainly in early character dictionaries and a limited array of technical manuscripts previously excavated from the region. Volume II offers introductions to and annotated translations of the manuscripts "Cheng zhi", "Zun deyi", "Xing zi ming chu", "Liu de", and "Yucong" 1-4, along with various appendices, including Collation Tables of Witnesses to the Guodian "Laozi" Passages and a Running Translation of he Guodian texts.
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