OK: I voted for half of the nominations. I don't know whether this is a wise strategy.
If I may....... I will canvass Journey to the West
Whether the Journey to the West is chosen or not; I can and will recommend it to read it, as it is one of the four Chinese classics, the others being:
- The Water Margin by Shi Nai'an, 14th century
- The Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong, 14th century
- Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin, 18th century
To be honest, this is a long book, about 1400/1600 pages. It takes some courage to read it, but it is written in an accessible language and, in some form, is known in the whole of China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam.
Masses of ambrosial fruits, descriptions of beautiful goddesses, exciting battles and magic happenings alternate with verses. I read somewhere that this Journey to the West can be read as an allegory of Taoist immortality, Budhist enlightment and Confucian mind-cultivation, but also as quite an entertaining novel. Here's an example of the Buddhist:
The heart must be frequently swept,
The dust of emotions removed,
Lest the Buddha be trapped in the pit.
Only when the essence is pure
Can the origin then be discussed.
Trim the candle of nature,
Breathe in the way that Master Caoxi taught,
Control the ape and horse of the mind.
Only when breath is calm by day and night
Can one achieve the true adept’s skill.