Xuanzang

Painting of Xuanzang. Japan, [[Kamakura Period]] (14th century). |y = Yùhn-chohng |j = Jyun4-zong6 |ci = |tl = Hiân-tsòng |h = Hian2-tsong4 |wuu = Yeu-tsaõ |mc = ɣwen-dzáng |san = ह्वेन त्सांग |altname = Chen Hui |t2 = 陳褘 |s2 = 陈袆 |p2 = Chén Huī |w2 = Ch'en2 Hui1 |altname3 = Chen Yi |t3 = 陳禕 |s3 = 陈祎 |p3 = Chén Yī |w3 = Ch'en2 I1 }} Xuanzang (, |s=|t=|p=}}; 602–664), born Chen Hui / Chen Yi (), also known as Hiuen Tsang, was a 7th-century Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator. He is known for the epoch-making contributions to Chinese Buddhism, the travelogue of his journey to India in 629–645 CE, his efforts to bring over 657 Indian texts to China, and his translations of some of these texts.

Xuanzang was born on 6 April 602 in Chenliu, what is now Kaifeng municipality in Henan province. As a boy, he took to reading religious books, and studying the ideas therein with his father. Like his elder brother, he became a student of Buddhist studies at Jingtu monastery. Xuanzang was ordained as a ''śrāmaṇera'' (novice monk) at the age of thirteen. Due to the political and social unrest caused by the fall of the Sui dynasty, he went to Chengdu in Sichuan, where he was ordained as a ''bhikṣu'' (full monk) at the age of twenty. He later travelled throughout China in search of sacred books of Buddhism. At length, he came to Chang'an, then under the peaceful rule of Emperor Taizong of Tang, where Xuanzang developed the desire to visit India. He knew about Faxian's visit to India and, like him, was concerned about the incomplete and misinterpreted nature of the Buddhist texts that had reached China. He was also concerned about the competing Buddhist theories in variant Chinese translations. He sought original untranslated Sanskrit texts from India to help resolve some of these issues.

At age 27, he began his seventeen-year overland journey to India. He defied his kingdom's ban on travel abroad, making his way through central Asian cities such as Khotan to India. He visited, among other places, the famed Nalanda monastery in modern day Bihar, India where he studied with the monk, Śīlabhadra. He departed from India with numerous Sanskrit texts on a caravan of twenty packhorses. His return was welcomed by Emperor Taizong in China, who encouraged him to write a travelogue. This Chinese travelogue Dà Táng Xīyù Jì (''Great Tang Records on the Western Regions'') is a notable source about Xuanzang, and also for scholarship on 7th-century India and Central Asia. His travelogue is a mix of the implausible, the hearsay and a firsthand account. Selections from it are used, and disputed, as a ''terminus ante quem'' of 645 CE for events, names and texts he mentions. His text in turn provided the inspiration for the novel ''Journey to the West'' written by Wu Cheng'en during the Ming dynasty, around nine centuries after Xuanzang's death. Provided by Wikipedia
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