17 Hours in Nanjing

| August 16, 2002 Issue

17 Hours in Nanjing, Sarah E Truman, Ascent
Sarah E. Truman recounts here travels in southern China in search of Guan Yin, Bodhisattva of Compassion. Truman also traverses the aural landscape of China: At first, she attempts to form the sounds of the language into familiar, English words; next, she listens to the spaces and silences between sounds; finally, the once-foreign sounds begin to take on recognition, and meaning transcends the silences. Literally translated, Guan Yin means "observe world sound," which is exactly what this astutue traveler does, as she realizes that listening to the silences can be as important as the sounds between. She arrives at Lower Guan Yin Temple after a chaotic trip to find it at first silent and empty, and then interrupted by the sounds of a language she doesn't understand. The wind adds the sound of its travels though bamboo behind the temple, in a language all its own.
--Rebecca Wienbar
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