Bill Porter

After 5,000 Years The Hermit Tradition Is Alive and Vigorous in 20th Century China, Supported By Villagers and Teaching Tao and Zen To Visitors
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Bill Porter (born October 3, 1943)

 

Is an American author who translates under the pen-name Red Pine (Chinese: 赤松; pinyin: Chì Sōng). He is a translator and interpreter of Chinese texts, primarily Taoist and Buddhist, including poetry and Sūtras.

 

Early life

 


Porter was born in Los Angeles and raised in mountainous Idaho. After serving three years in the U.S. Army (refusing assignment in Vietnam and subsequently being reassigned as a clerk in Germany), he took a degree in anthropology from University of California, Santa Barbara and went on to graduate studies in language (Chinese) and anthropology at Columbia University, but dropped out in 1972 to go to the Fo Kwang Shan Buddhist monastery in Taiwan.

 

Writings

 

In the years following, he lived in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Since 1989 he has traveled extensively in China, both as a journalist and on his own. He adopted a Chinese art name, "Red Pine" , after the legendary Taoist immortal. In 1993, after 22 years in East Asia, he returned to the US. In 1999 and 2000, he taught Buddhism and Taoism at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. He now lives in Port Townsend, Washington.

His book Road to Heaven prompted Edward A. Burger to seek out and study with Buddhist hermits in the Zhongnan mountains of China and direct the 2005 film Amongst White Clouds.

In 2009, Copper Canyon Press published his translation of Lao-tzu's Taoteching. One of the most noteworthy aspects of this translation is Porter's use of excerpts from China's vast and rich commentarial tradition.

 

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