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Huahujing

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The Huahujing (Chinese: 化胡經/化胡经; ||pinyin]]: Huàhújīng; ||Wade-Giles]]: Hua Hu Ching; literally "Classic on Converting the Barbarians") is a Taoist book. Although traditionally attributed to Laozi, most scholars believe it is a forgery because there are no historical references to the text until the early 4th century CE. According to Louis Komjathy (2004:48), the Taoist Wang Fu (王浮) originally compiled the Huahujing circa 300 CE, and the extant version probably dates from the 6th century Northern Celestial Masters. The text is honorifically known as the Taishang lingbao Laozi huahu miaojing (太上靈寶老子化胡妙經, "The Supreme Numinous Treasure's Sublime Classic on Laozi's Conversion of the Barbarians"). A copy of the Huahujing was discovered in the Mogao Caves near Dunhuang, and Liu Yi (1997) believes the original text dates from around the late 4th or early 5th century.

Emperors of China occasionally organized debates between Buddhists and Taoists, and granted political favor to the winners. The Taoists developed the Huahujing to support one of their favorite arguments against the Buddhists, writes Holmes Welch (1957:152), their claim that "Lao Tzu had gone to India after his westward departure from China, and had converted—or become—the Buddha. Buddhism then was only a somewhat distorted offshoot of Taoism."

The Huahujing is somewhat longer than Laozi's Tao Te Ching taking the form of a question-and-answer dialogue between a young Prince and a learned Master. Thematically the text covers much of the same ground as the Tao Te Ching elucidating on the concept of the Tao - the universal force that purveys everything and everyone. The Huahujing makes reference to holistic medicine, Taoist meditation, feng shui, and the I Ching.

The text has been translated into English by Brian Walker and the Taoist priest Hua-Ching Ni.

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