We know almost nothing of Hung Ying-ming, except that he lived around the end of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) and that he was extraordinarily well-read and cultured. The Unencumbered Spirit is his classic work, a tour de force offering wise words distilled through the fundamental teachings of Taoism, Confucianism and Zen Buddhism. Hung's poetic prose embodies the infinite transformations of the world's opposites, what the Chinese called yin and yang--good and evil, honesty and deception, wisdom and foolishness, heaven and hell.
Wise, profound, spiritual, humorous, witty, and timeless, The Unencumbered Spirit is, in short, a book about putting greed and competition aside, about getting at the true, clear essence of things, free of distractions and encumbrances. It is a book about living without stuff, whether it be material, psychological, or spiritual. About living with simplicity and awareness.
"It has been rare for one person to develop a thorough grasp of Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism, such is their profundity. But there have been a few. Among them, one person's work stands above the rest: namely, Hung Ying-ming's The Unencumbered Spirit. I can recommend this work to anyone interested in the way of the world's greatest sages, whose teachings can help us all to see into and to improve our own lives." Bill Porter (aka Red Pine), from the Foreword