Xuanzang [ɕɥɛ̌n.tsâŋ] (Chinese: 玄奘; fl. c. 602 – 664) was a Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveller, and translator who travelled to India in the seventh century and described the interaction between Chinese Buddhism and Indian Buddhism during the early Tang dynasty.
During the journey he visited many sacred Buddhist sites in what are now Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. He was born in what is now Henan province around 602, from boyhood he took to reading religious books, including the Chinese classics and the writings of ancient sages.
While residing in the city of Luoyang (in Henan in Central China), 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 became famous for his seventeen-year overland journey to India (including Nalanda), which is recorded in detail in the classic Chinese text Great Tang Records on the Western Regions, which 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.
A portrait of Xuanzang
|Died||664 (aged approx. 62)|
|School||East Asian Yogācāra|
|Names||Xuanzang||Tang Sanzang||Xuanzang Sanzang||Xuanzang Dashi||Tang Seng|
|Xuánzàng||Táng Sānzàng||Xuánzàng Sānzàng||Xuánzàng Dàshī||Táng Sēng|
|Jyun4 Zong6||Tong4 Saam1
|Vietnamese||Huyền Trang||Đường Tam
|Tang Dynasty Monk|
Less common romanizations of "Xuanzang" include Hyun Tsan, Hhuen Kwan, Hiouen Thsang, Hiuen Tsang, Hiuen Tsiang, Hsien-tsang, Hsyan-tsang, Hsuan Chwang, Huan Chwang, Hsuan Tsiang, Hwen Thsang, Hsüan Chwang, Hhüen Kwān, Xuan Cang, Xuan Zang, Shuen Shang, Yuan Chang, Yuan Chwang, and Yuen Chwang. Hsüan, Hüan, Huan and Chuang are also found. The sound written x in pinyin and hs in Wade–Giles, which represents the s- or sh-like [ɕ] in today's Mandarin, was previously pronounced as the h-like [x] in early Mandarin, which accounts for the archaic transliterations with h.
Another form of his official style was "Yuanzang," written 元奘. It is this form that accounts for such variants as Yuan Chang, Yuan Chwang, and Yuen Chwang.
Tang Monk (Tang Seng) is also transliterated /Thang Seng/.
Another of Xuanzang's standard aliases is Sanzang Fashi (simplified Chinese: 三藏法师; traditional Chinese: 三藏法師; pinyin: Sānzàngfǎshī; literally: 'Sanzang Dharma (or Law) Teacher'): 法 being a Chinese translation for Sanskrit "Dharma" or Pali/Pakrit Dhamma, the implied meaning being "Buddhism".
Xuanzang was born Chen Hui (or Chen Yi) around 602 in Chenhe Village, Goushi Town (Chinese: 緱氏鎮), Luozhou (near present-day Luoyang, Henan) and died on 5 February 664 in Yuhua Palace (玉華宮, in present-day Tongchuan, Shaanxi). His family was noted for its erudition for generations, and Xuanzang was the youngest of four children. His ancestor was Chen Shi (陳寔, 104-186), a minister of the Eastern Han dynasty. His great-grandfather Chen Qin (陳欽) served as the prefect of Shangdang (上黨; present-day Changzhi, Shanxi) during the Eastern Wei; his grandfather Chen Kang (陳康) was a professor in the Taixue (Imperial Academy) during the Northern Qi. His father Chen Hui (陳惠) was a conservative Confucian who served as the magistrate of Jiangling County during the Sui dynasty, but later gave up office and withdrew into seclusion to escape the political turmoil that gripped China towards the end of the Sui. According to traditional biographies, Xuanzang displayed a superb intelligence and earnestness, amazing his father by his careful observance of the Confucian rituals at the age of eight. Along with his brothers and sister, he received an early education from his father, who instructed him in classical works on filial piety and several other canonical treatises of orthodox Confucianism.
Although his household was essentially Confucian, at a young age, Xuanzang expressed interest in becoming a Buddhist monk like one of his elder brothers. After the death of his father in 611, he lived with his older brother Chén Sù (Chinese: 陳素) (later known as Zhǎng jié Chinese: 長捷) for five years at Jingtu Monastery (Chinese: 淨土寺) in Luoyang, supported by the Sui state. During this time he studied Mahayana as well as various early Buddhist schools, preferring the former.
In 618, the Sui Dynasty collapsed and Xuanzang and his brother fled to Chang'an, which had been proclaimed as the capital of the Tang dynasty, and thence southward to Chengdu, Sichuan. Here the two brothers spent two or three years in further study in the monastery of Kong Hui, including the Abhidharma-kośa Śāstra. When Xuanzang requested to take Buddhist orders at the age of thirteen, the abbot Zheng Shanguo made an exception in his case because of his precocious knowledge.
Xuanzang was fully ordained as a monk in 622, at the age of twenty. The myriad contradictions and discrepancies in the texts at that time prompted Xuanzang to decide to go to India and study in the cradle of Buddhism. He subsequently left his brother and returned to Chang'an to study foreign languages and to continue his study of Buddhism. He began his mastery of Sanskrit in 626, and probably also studied Tocharian. During this time, Xuanzang also became interested in the metaphysical Yogacara school of Buddhism.
In 627, Xuanzang reportedly had a dream that convinced him to journey to India. Tang China and the Göktürks were at war at the time and Emperor Taizong of Tang had prohibited foreign travel. Xuanzang persuaded some Buddhist guards at Yumen Pass and slipped out of the empire through Liangzhou (Gansu) and Qinghai in 629. He subsequently travelled across the Gobi Desert to Kumul (modern Hami City), thence following the Tian Shan westward.
He arrived in Turpan in 630. Here he met the king of Turpan, a Buddhist who equipped him further for his travels with letters of introduction and valuables to serve as funds. The hottest mountain in China, the Flaming Mountains, is located in Turpan and was depicted in the Journey to the West.
Moving further westward, Xuanzang escaped robbers to reach Karasahr, then toured the non-Mahayana monasteries of Kucha. Further west he passed Aksu before turning northwest to cross the Tian Shan's Bedel Pass into modern Kyrgyzstan. He skirted Issyk Kul before visiting Tokmak on its northwest, and met the great Khagan of the Göktürks, whose relationship to the Tang emperor was friendly at the time. After a feast, Xuanzang continued west then southwest to Tashkent, capital of modern Uzbekistan. From here, he crossed the desert further west to Samarkand. In Samarkand, which was under Persian influence, the party came across some abandoned Buddhist temples and Xuanzang impressed the local king with his preaching. Setting out again to the south, Xuanzang crossed a spur of the Pamirs and passed through the famous Iron Gates. Continuing southward, he reached the Amu Darya and Termez, where he encountered a community of more than a thousand Buddhist monks.
Further east he passed through Kunduz, where he stayed for some time to witness the funeral rites of Prince Tardu, who had been poisoned. Here he met the monk Dharmasimha, and on the advice of the late Tardu made the trip westward to Balkh (modern Afghanistan), to see the Buddhist sites and relics, especially the Nava Vihara, which he described as the westernmost vihara in the world. Here Xuanzang also found over 3,000 non-Mahayana monks, including Prajnakara (般若羯羅 or 慧性), a monk with whom Xuanzang studied early Buddhist scriptures. He acquired the important text of the Mahāvibhāṣa (Chinese: 大毗婆沙論) here, which he later translated into Chinese.
Prajñakara then accompanied the party southward to Bamyan, where Xuanzang met the king and saw tens of non-Mahayana monasteries, in addition to the two large Buddhas of Bamiyan carved out of the rockface. The party then resumed their travel eastward, crossing the Shibar Pass and descending to the regional capital of Kapisi (about 60 kilometres (37 mi) north of modern Kabul), which sported over 100 monasteries and 6000 monks, mostly Mahayana. This was part of the fabled old land of Gandhara. Xuanzang took part in a religious debate here, and demonstrated his knowledge of many Buddhist schools. Here he also met the first Jains and Hindu of his journey. He pushed on to Adinapur (later named Jalalabad) and Laghman, where he considered himself to have reached India. The year was 630.
Xuanzang left Adinapur, which had few Buddhist monks, but many stupas and monasteries. His travels included, passing through Hunza and the Khyber Pass to the east, reaching the former capital of Gandhara, Purushapura (Peshawar), on the other side. Peshawar was nothing compared to its former glory, and Buddhism was declining in the region. Xuanzang visited a number of stupas around Peshawar, notably the Kanishka Stupa. This stupa was built just southeast of Peshawar, by a former king of the city. In 1908, it was rediscovered by D.B. Spooner with the help of Xuanzang's account.
Xuanzang left Peshawar and travelled northeast to the Swat Valley. Reaching Oḍḍiyāna, he found 1,400-year-old monasteries, that had previously supported 18,000 monks. The remnant monks were of the Mahayana school. Xuanzang continued northward and into the Buner Valley, before doubling back via Shahbaz Garhi to cross the Indus river at Hund. He visited Taxila which was desolate and half-ruined, and found most of its sangharamas still ruined and desolate with the state having become a dependency of Kashmir with the local leaders fighting amongst themselves for power. Only a few monks remained there. He noted that it had some time previously been a subject of Kapisa. He went to Kashmir in 631 where he met a talented monk Samghayasas (僧伽耶舍), and studied there. In Kashmir, he found himself in another center of Buddhist culture and describes that there were over 100 monasteries and over 5,000 monks in the area. Between 632 and early 633, he studied with various monks, including 14 months with Vinītaprabha (毘膩多缽臘婆 or 調伏光), 4 months with Candravarman (旃達羅伐摩 or 月胃), and "a winter and half a spring" with Jayagupta (闍耶毱多). During this time, Xuanzang wrote about the Fourth Buddhist council that took place nearby, ca. 100 AD, under the order of King Kanishka of Kushana. He visited Chiniot and Lahore as well and provided the earliest writings available on the ancient cities. In 634, Xuanzang arrived in Matipura (秣底補羅), known as Mandawar today.
In 634, he went east to Jalandhar in eastern Punjab, before climbing up to visit predominantly non-Mahayana monasteries in the Kulu valley and turning southward again to Bairat and then Mathura, on the Yamuna river. Mathura had 2,000 monks of both major Buddhist branches, despite being Hindu-dominated. Xuanzang travelled up the river to Shrughna, also mentioned in the works of Udyotakara, before crossing eastward to Matipura, where he arrived in 635, having crossed the river Ganges. At Matipura Monastery, Xuanzang studied under Mitrasena. From here, he headed south to Sankasya (Kapitha, then onward to Kannauj, the grand capital of the Empire of Harsha under the northern Indian emperor Harsha. It is believed he also visited Govishan present day Kashipur in the Harsha era, in 636, Xuanzang encountered 100 monasteries of 10,000 monks (both Mahayana and non-Mahayana), and was impressed by the king's patronage of both scholarship and Buddhism. Xuanzang spent time in the city studying early Buddhist scriptures, before setting off eastward again for Ayodhya (Saketa), homeland of the Yogacara school. Xuanzang now moved south to Kausambi (Kosam), where he had a copy made from an important local image of the Buddha.
Xuanzang now returned northward to Shravasti Bahraich, travelled through Terai in the southern part of modern Nepal (here he found deserted Buddhist monasteries) and thence to Kapilavastu, his last stop before Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha.
In 637, Xuanzang set out from Lumbini to Kusinagara, the site of Buddha's death, before heading southwest to the deer park at Sarnath where Buddha gave his first sermon, and where Xuanzang found 1,500 resident monks. Travelling eastward, at first via Varanasi, Xuanzang reached Vaisali, Pataliputra (Patna) and Bodh Gaya. He was then accompanied by local monks to Nalanda, the greatest Indian university of Indian state of Bihar, where he spent at least the next two years, He visited Champa Monastery, Bhagalpur. He was in the company of several thousand scholar-monks, whom he praised. Xuanzang studied logic, grammar, Sanskrit, and the Yogacara school of Buddhism during his time at Nalanda. René Grousset notes that it was at Nalanda (where an "azure pool winds around the monasteries, adorned with the full-blown cups of the blue lotus; the dazzling red flowers of the lovely kanaka hang here and there, and outside groves of mango trees offer the inhabitants their dense and protective shade") that Xuanzang met the venerable Silabhadra, the monastery's superior. Silabhadra had dreamt of Xuanzang's arrival and that it would help spread far and wide the Holy Law. Grousset writes: "The Chinese pilgrim had finally found the omniscient master, the incomparable metaphysician who was to make known to him the ultimate secrets of the idealist systems." The founders of Mahayana idealism, Asanga and Vasubandhu, trained Dignaga, he trained Dharmapala, and Dharmapala had in turn trained Silabhadra. Silabhadra was thus in a position to make available to the Sino-Japanese world the entire heritage of Buddhist idealism, and the Siddhi Xuanzang's great philosophical treatise is none other than the Summa of this doctrine, the fruit of seven centuries of Indian Buddhist thought."
From Nalanda, Xuanzang travelled through several kingdoms, including Pundranagara, to the capital of Pundravardhana, identified with modern Mahasthangarh, in present-day Bangladesh. There Xuanzang found 20 monasteries with over 3,000 monks studying both the Hinayana and the Mahayana. One of them was the Vāśibhã Monastery (Po Shi Po), where he found over 700 Mahayana monks from all over East India. He also visited Somapura Mahavihara at Paharpur in the district of Naogaon, in modern-day Bangladesh.
Xuanzang turned southward and travelled to Andhradesa to visit the Viharas at Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda. He stayed at Amaravati and studied 'Abhidhammapitakam'. He observed that there were many Viharas at Amaravati and some of them were deserted. He later proceeded to Kanchi, the imperial capital of Pallavas and a strong centre of Buddhism. He continued traveling to Nasik, Ajanta, Malwa, from there he went to Multan and Pravata before returning to Nalanda again.
At the invitation of Hindu king Kumar Bhaskar Varman, he went east to the ancient city of Pragjyotishpura in the kingdom of Kamarupa after crossing the Karatoya and spent three months in the region. Before going to Kamarupa he visited Sylhet what is now a modern city Of Bangladesh. He gives detailed account about culture and people of Sylhet. Later, the king escorted Xuanzang back to the Kannauj at the request of king Harshavardhana, who was an ally of Kumar Bhaskar Varman, to attend a great Buddhist Assembly there which was attended by both of the kings as well as several other kings from neighbouring kingdoms, buddhist monks, Brahmans and Jains. King Harsha invited Xuanjang to Kumbh Mela in Prayag where he witnessed king Harsha's generous distribution of gifts to the poor.
After visiting Prayag he returned to Kannauj where he was given a grand farewell by king Harsha. Traveling through the Khyber Pass of the Hindu Kush, Xuanzang passed through Kashgar, Khotan, and Dunhuang on his way back to China. He arrived in the capital, Chang'an, on the seventh day of the first month of 645, 16 years after he left Chinese territory, and a great procession celebrated his return.
On his return to China in AD 645, Xuanzang was greeted with much honor but he refused all high civil appointments offered by the still-reigning emperor, Emperor Taizong of Tang. Instead, he retired to a monastery and devoted his energy in translating Buddhist texts until his death in AD 664. According to his biography, he returned with, "over six hundred Mahayana and Hinayana texts, seven statues of the Buddha and more than a hundred sarira relics." In celebration of Xuanzang's extraordinary achievement in translating the Buddhist texts, Emperor Gaozong of Tang ordered renowned Tang calligrapher Chu Suiliang (褚遂良) and inscriber Wan Wenshao (萬文韶) to install two stele stones, collectively known as The Emperor’s Preface to the Sacred Teachings (雁塔聖教序), at the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda.
During Xuanzang's travels, he studied with many famous Buddhist masters, especially at the famous center of Buddhist learning at Nalanda. When he returned, he brought with him some 657 Sanskrit texts. With the emperor's support, he set up a large translation bureau in Chang'an (present-day Xi'an), drawing students and collaborators from all over East Asia. He is credited with the translation of some 1,330 fascicles of scriptures into Chinese. His strongest personal interest in Buddhism was in the field of Yogācāra (瑜伽行派), or Consciousness-only (唯識).
The force of his own study, translation and commentary of the texts of these traditions initiated the development of the Faxiang school (法相宗) in East Asia. Although the school itself did not thrive for a long time, its theories regarding perception, consciousness, Karma, rebirth, etc. found their way into the doctrines of other more successful schools. Xuanzang's closest and most eminent student was Kuiji (窺基) who became recognized as the first patriarch of the Faxiang school. Xuanzang's logic, as described by Kuiji, was often misunderstood by scholars of Chinese Buddhism because they lack the necessary background in Indian logic. Another important disciple was the Korean monk Woncheuk.
Xuanzang was known for his extensive but careful translations of Indian Buddhist texts to Chinese, which have enabled subsequent recoveries of lost Indian Buddhist texts from the translated Chinese copies. He is credited with writing or compiling the Cheng Weishi Lun as a commentary on these texts. His translation of the Heart Sutra became and remains the standard in all East Asian Buddhist sects; as well, this translation of the Heart Sutra was generally admired within the traditional Chinese gentry and is still widely respected as numerous renowned past and present Chinese calligraphers have penned its texts as their artworks. He also founded the short-lived but influential Faxiang school of Buddhism. Additionally, he was known for recording the events of the reign of the northern Indian emperor, Harsha.
Xuanzang returned to China with three copies of the Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra. Xuanzang, with a team of disciple translators, commenced translating the voluminous work in 660 CE, using all three versions to ensure the integrity of the source documentation. Xuanzang was being encouraged by a number of his disciple translators to render an abridged version. After a suite of dreams quickened his decision, Xuanzang determined to render an unabridged, complete volume, faithful to the original of 600 chapters.
In 646, under the Emperor's request, Xuanzang completed his book Great Tang Records on the Western Regions (大唐西域記), which has become one of the primary sources for the study of medieval Central Asia and India. This book was first translated into French by the Sinologist Stanislas Julien in 1857.
There was also a biography of Xuanzang written by the monk Huili (慧立). Both books were first translated into English by Samuel Beal, in 1884 and 1911 respectively. An English translation with copious notes by Thomas Watters was edited by T.W. Rhys Davids and S.W. Bushell, and published posthumously in London in 1905.
Xuanzang's work, the Great Tang Records on the Western Regions, is the longest and most detailed account of the countries of Central and South Asia that has been bestowed upon posterity by a Chinese Buddhist pilgrim. While his main purpose was to obtain Buddhist books and to receive instruction on Buddhism while in India, he ended up doing much more. He has preserved the records of political and social aspects of the lands he visited.
His record of the places visited by him in Bengal — mainly Raktamrittika near Karnasuvarna, Pundranagara and its environs, Samatata , Tamralipti and Harikela— have been very helpful in the recording of the archaeological history of Bengal. His account has also shed welcome light on the history of 7th century Bengal, especially the Gauda kingdom under Shashanka, although at times he can be quite partisan.
Xuanzang obtained and translated 657 Sanskrit Buddhist works. He received the best education on Buddhism he could find throughout India. Much of this activity is detailed in the companion volume to Xiyu Ji, the Biography of Xuanzang written by Huili, entitled the Life of Xuanzang.
His version of the Heart Sutra is the basis for all Chinese commentaries on the sutra, and recitations throughout China, Korea and Japan. His style was, by Chinese standards, cumbersome and overly literal, and marked by scholarly innovations in terminology; usually, where another version by the earlier translator Kumārajīva exists, Kumārajīva's is more popular.
Xuanzang's journey along the Silk Road, and the legends that grew up around it, inspired the Ming novel Journey to the West, one of the great classics of Chinese literature. The fictional counterpart Tang Sanzang is the reincarnation of the Golden Cicada, a disciple of Gautama Buddha, and is protected on his journey by three powerful disciples. One of them, the monkey, was a popular favorite and profoundly influenced Chinese culture and contemporary Japanese manga and anime (including the popular Dragon Ball and Saiyuki series), and became well known in the West by Arthur Waley's translation and later the cult TV series Monkey.
A skull relic purported to be that of Xuanzang was held in the Temple of Great Compassion, Tianjin until 1956 when it was taken to Nalanda - allegedly by the Dalai Lama - and presented to India. The relic was in the Patna Museum for a long time but was moved to a newly built memorial hall in Nalanda in 2007. The Wenshu Monastery in Chengdu, Sichuan province also claims to have part of Xuanzang's skull.
Bhaiṣajyaguru (Sanskrit: भैषज्यगुरु, Chinese: 藥師佛, Japanese: 薬師仏, Korean: 약사불, Standard Tibetan: སངས་རྒྱས་སྨན་བླ), formally Bhaiṣajya-guru-vaiḍūrya-prabhā-rāja ("Medicine Master and King of Lapis Lazuli Light"; Chinese: 藥師琉璃光(王)如來, Japanese: 薬師瑠璃光如来, Korean: 약사유리광여래), is the Buddha of healing and medicine in Mahāyāna Buddhism. Commonly referred to as the "Medicine Buddha", he is described as a doctor who cures dukkha (suffering) using the medicine of his teachings.
Bhaiṣajyaguru's original name and title was rāja (King), but Xuanzang translated it as Tathāgata (Buddha). Subsequent translations and commentaries followed Xuanzang in describing him as a Buddha. The image of Bhaiṣajyaguru is usually expressed with a canonical Buddha-like form holding a gallipot and, in some versions, possessing blue skin. Though also considered to be a guardian of the East, in most cases Akshobhya is given that role. As an exceptional case, the honzon of Mount Kōya's Kongōbu Temple was changed from Akshobhya to Bhaiṣajyaguru.Bhaskaravarman
Bhaskaravarman (bʱaːskərə'vərmən) (600–650), the last of the Varman dynasty, was perhaps the most illustrious of the kings of the medieval Kamarupa. After being captured by the Gauda king during the reign of his father, he was able to re-establish the rule of the Varman's. He made political alliances with Harshavardhana of Thaneswar, against the alliance of the Gauda and East Malwa. He was visited by Xuanzang and Li Yi-piao, the envoy of the Tang dynasty who have left accounts of the king and the kingdom.
Bhaskaravarman came to power after his brother Supratisthitavarman had died. He was the first Kamarupa king to claim descent from the mythical Narakasura, Bhagadatta and Vajradatta. After his death Salasthambha, who established the Mlechchha dynasty, acquired power in Kamarupa Kingdom.
He issued the Dubi and Nidhanpur copper plate grants, re-issued after his ancestor Bhutivarman, and a clay seal found in Nalanda.Daci'en Temple
Daci'en Temple (Chinese: 大慈恩寺; pinyin: Dàcí'ēn Sì) is a Buddhist temple located in Yanta District of Xi'an, Shaanxi, China. The temple is the cradle of East Asian Yogācāra in China. It is notable for the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. The pagoda was originally built by an accomplished monk Xuanzang, whose story was widespread in civil socity in many dynasties and the famous legendary story Journey to the West was inspired by his experience. Alongside Daxingshan Temple and Jianfu Temple, it was one of the three sutras translation sites (三大译经场) in the Tang dynasty.East Asian Yogācāra
East Asian Yogācāra (traditional Chinese: 唯識宗; ; pinyin: Wéishí-zōng; Japanese pronunciation: Yuishiki-shū; Korean: 법상종 "'Consciousness Only' school" or traditional Chinese: 法相宗; ; pinyin: Fǎxiàng-zōng; Japanese pronunciation: Hossō-shū; Korean: 유식종, "'Dharma Characteristics' school") refers to the traditions in East Asia which represent the Yogacara system of thought.Great Tang Records on the Western Regions
The Great Tang Records on the Western Regions is a narrative of Xuanzang's nineteen-year journey from Chang'an in central China to the Western Regions of Chinese historiography. The Buddhist scholar traveled through the Silk Road regions of what is today Xinjiang in northwest China, as well as neighboring areas in Central Asia and south China. Beyond these Chinese locations, Xuanzang also travelled around the perimeter of India, as far south as Kanchipuram. Xuanzang's travels demarcate not only an important place in cross-cultural studies of China and India, but also cross-cultural studies throughout the globe. The text is set-up as, both, an account of Xuanzang's religious pilgrimage as well as his report of the surrounding towns and provinces of Tang China.The book was compiled in 646, describing travels undertaken between 626 and 645. Bianji, a disciple of Xuanzang, spent more than one year editing the book through Xuanzang's dictation.Harsha
Harsha (c. 590–647 CE), also known as Harshavardhana, was an Indian emperor who ruled North India from 606 to 647 CE. He was a member of the Vardhana dynasty; and was the son of Prabhakarvardhana who defeated the Alchon Huna invaders, and the younger brother of Rajyavardhana, a king of Thanesar, present-day Haryana. At the height of Harsha's power, his Empire covered much of North and Northwestern India, extended East till Kamarupa, and South until Narmada River; and eventually made Kannauj (in present Uttar Pradesh state) his capital, and ruled till 647 CE. Harsha was halted by the south Indian Emperor Pulakeshin II of the Chalukya dynasty, when Harsha tried to expand his Empire into the southern peninsula of India.The peace and prosperity that prevailed made his court a centre of cosmopolitanism, attracting scholars, artists and religious visitors from far and wide. The Chinese traveller Xuanzang visited the court of Harsha and wrote a very favourable account of him, praising his justice and generosity. His biography Harshacharita ("Deeds of Harsha") written by Sanskrit poet Banabhatta, describes his association with Thanesar, besides mentioning the defence wall, a moat and the palace with a two-storied Dhavalagriha (white mansion).Hsuan Chuang University
Hsuan Chuang University (HCU; Chinese: 玄奘大學; pinyin: Xuán Zhuǎng Dàxué) is a private Buddhist university in Xiangshan District, Hsinchu City, Taiwan. Founded in 1997 by the Ven. Liao Zhong (了中) and named for the Tang Dynasty monk Xuanzang, the school was promoted to university status in 2004. It offers bachelor's and master's degrees, mainly in humanities subjects.Lower Assam
Lower Assam (also Western Assam) is a region situated in Western Brahmaputra Valley encompassing Kamrup and Goalpara regions.
The term "Lower Assam" is often a misnomer in spite of popular usage to refer the region. In scholary circles Western Assam was more frequently used to accurately define the region and differentiate it from Lower Assam Division.
Soon after the formal creation of the British districts in 1833, Lower Assam denoted one of the five initial districts that were created west of the Dhansiri river, which, along with the six paraganas, became a single district of Kamrup in 1836.It was home to the mighty kingdom of Kamarupa (3–12 AD), ruled by Varman's and Pala's from their capital's Pragjyotishpura (Guwahati) and Durjaya (North Gauhati). Today Guwahati is the largest city of North-East India while Dispur, the capital of Assam, is within the town.Mihirakula
Mihirakula, also Mahiragula, was one of the most important rulers of the Alchon Huns, who led a conquest and gained temporary control of Gandhara, Kashmir, northern and central India. Mihirakula was a son of Toramana, both of Huna heritage, and ruled the Indian part of the Hephthalite Empire. Mihirakula ruled his empire from 502 to 530, from his capital of Sagala (modern-day Sialkot, Pakistan).According to Buddhist texts, the Huna king Mihirakula was extremely cruel and barbaric. He destroyed Buddhist sites, ruined monasteries, killed monks. Yashodharman and Gupta Empire rulers, in and after about 532 CE, reversed Mihirakula's campaign and ended the Mihirakula era.Nalanda
Nalanda (IAST: Nālandā; /naːlən̪d̪aː/) was an ancient Mahavihara, a large and revered Buddhist monastery, in the ancient kingdom of Magadha (modern-day Bihar) in India. One of the most illustrious learning centres to ever exist, it was built in the 5th century by the Gupta Emperor Kumaragupta I. The site is located about 95 kilometres (59 mi) southeast of Patna near the city of Bihar Sharif, and was an important centre of learning from the fifth century CE to c. 1200 CE. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The highly formalized methods of Vedic scholarship helped inspire the establishment of large teaching institutions such as Taxila, Nalanda, and Vikramashila, which are often characterised as India's early universities. Nalanda flourished under the patronage of the Gupta Empire in the 5th and 6th centuries, and later under Harsha, the emperor of Kannauj. The liberal cultural traditions inherited from the Gupta age resulted in a period of growth and prosperity until the ninth century CE. The subsequent centuries were a time of gradual decline, a period during which the tantric developments of Buddhism became most pronounced in eastern India under the Pala Empire.At its peak the school attracted scholars and students from near and far, with some travelling from Tibet, China, Korea, and Central Asia. Archaeological evidence also notes contact with the Shailendra dynasty of Indonesia, one of whose kings built a monastery in the complex.
Much of our knowledge of Nalanda comes from the writings of pilgrim monks from Asia, such as Xuanzang and Yijing, who travelled to the Mahavihara in the 7th century CE. Vincent Smith remarked that "a detailed history of Nalanda would be a history of Mahayanist Buddhism." Many of the names listed by Xuanzang in his travelogue as alumni of Nalanda are the names of those who developed the overall philosophy of Mahayana. All students at Nalanda studied Mahayana, as well as the texts of the eighteen (Hinayana) sects of Buddhism. Their curriculum also included other subjects, such as the Vedas, logic, Sanskrit grammar, medicine, and Samkhya.Nalanda was very likely ransacked and destroyed by an army of the Mamluk Dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate under Bakhtiyar Khalji in c. 1200 CE. While some sources note that the Mahavihara continued to function in a makeshift fashion after this attack, it was eventually abandoned all together and forgotten until the 19th century, when the site was surveyed and preliminary excavations were conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India. Systematic excavations commenced in 1915, which unearthed eleven monasteries and six brick temples neatly arranged on grounds 12 hectares (30 acres) in area. A trove of sculptures, coins, seals, and inscriptions have also been discovered in the ruins, many of which are on display in the Nalanda Archaeological Museum, situated nearby. Nalanda is now a notable tourist destination, and a part of the Buddhist tourism circuit.
On 25 November 2010 the Indian government, through an Act of Parliament, resurrected the ancient university through the Nalanda University Bill, and subsequently a new Nalanda University was established. It has been designated as an "international university of national importance."Pulakeshin II
Pulakeshin II (IAST: Pulakeśin, r. c. 610–642 CE) was the most famous ruler of the Chalukya dynasty of Vatapi (present-day Badami in Karnataka, India). During his reign, the Chalukya kingdom expanded to cover most of the Deccan region in peninsular India.
A son of the Chalukya king Kirttivarman I, Pulakeshin overthrew his uncle Mangalesha to gain control of the throne. He suppressed a rebellion by Appayika and Govinda, and decisively defeated the Kadambas of Banavasi in the south. The Alupas and the Gangas of Talakad recognized his suzerainty. He consolidated the Chalukya control over the western coast by subjugating the Mauryas of Konkana. His Aihole inscription also credits him with subjugating the Latas, the Malavas, and the Gurjaras in the north.
The most notable military achievement of Pulakeshin was his victory over the powerful northern emperor Harsha-vardhana, whose failure to conquer the Chalukya kingdom is attested by the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang. In the east, Pulakeshin subjugated the rulers of Dakshina Kosala and Kalinga. After defeating the Vishnukundina ruler, he appointed his brother Vishnu-vardhana as the governor of eastern Deccan; this brother later established the independent Eastern Chalukya dynasty of Vengi. Pulakeshin also achieved some successes against the Pallavas in the south, but was ultimately defeated, and probably killed, during an invasion by the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I.
Pulakeshin was a Vaishnavite, but was tolerant of other faiths, including Shaivism, Buddhism, and Jainism. He patronized several scholars, including Ravikirtti, who composed his Aihole inscription.Pushpagiri Vihara
Pushpagiri (IAST: Puṣpagiri) was an ancient Buddhist mahavihara located atop Langudi Hills in Jajpur district of Odisha, India. The complex contains ruins of stupas, rock-cut sculptures and other artifacts.
Pushpagiri was mentioned in the writings of the Chinese traveller Xuanzang (c. 602 – c. 664) and some other ancient sources. Until the 1990s, it was hypothesised to be the Lalitgiri-Ratnagiri-Udayagiri complex, also located in Jajpur district. However, archaeological excavations conducted at Langudi Hills during 1996-2006 resulted in the discovery of another site, with inscriptions describing the local monastery as puṣpa sabhar giriya, and identified by the excavators as Pushpagiri.
The visit of Xuanzang indicates that Pushpagiri was an important Buddhist site in ancient India. Along with Nalanda, Vikramashila, Odantapuri, Takshashila and Vallabhi, it is believed to be a major ancient centre of learning. It flourished between 3rd and 11th centuries CE.Tamralipta
Tamralipta or Tamralipti was the name of a city in ancient India, located on the Bay of Bengal. The Tamluk town in present-day West Bengal is identified as the site of Tamralipti.It is believed that Tamralipti was the exit point of the Mauryan trade route for the south and south-east. Excavations at Moghalmari confirmed the presence of Buddhist vihars in the area which was mentioned by Chinese travelers Fa Hien and Xuanzang.
It was located near Rupnarayana river. This place has been mentioned in Mahabharata as a place which Bhima acquired. It was linked by roads with the major towns of that time, i.e. Rajagriha, Shravasti, Pataliputra, Varanasi, Champa, Kaushambi and Taxila.Tang Sanzang
Tang Sanzang, based on the historical Buddhist monk Xuanzang, is a central character in the novel Journey to the West by Wu Cheng'en.
The title Sanzang refers to his mission to seek the Sanzangjing, or the "Three Collections of (Buddhist) Scriptures". In some English translations of Journey to the West, the title is rendered as Tripitaka which is the original Sanskrit term for the Sanzangjing. He is also widely known as Tang Seng, which is a courtesy name that, like the former name, Tang Sanzang, reflects his status as an oath brother of Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty.Temple of Great Compassion
The Temple of Great Compassion or Dabei Yuan (Chinese: 大悲院; pinyin: Dàbēi Yuàn) is a Zen Buddhist temple in Tianjin, China.Western Regions
The Western Regions or Xiyu (Hsi-yu; Chinese: 西域; pinyin: Xīyù; Wade–Giles: Hsi1-yü4) was a historical name specified in the Chinese chronicles between the 3rd century BC to the 8th century AD that referred to the regions west of Yumen Pass, most often Central Asia or sometimes more specifically the easternmost portion of it (e.g. Altishahr or the Tarim Basin in southern Xinjiang), though it was sometimes used more generally to refer to other regions to the west of China as well, such as the Indian subcontinent (as in the novel Journey to the West).
Because of its strategic location astride the Silk Road, the Western Regions have been historically significant since at least the 3rd century BC. It was the site of the Han–Xiongnu War until 89 AD. In the 7th century, the Tang campaign against the Western Regions led to Chinese control of the region until the An Lushan Rebellion.
The region became significant in later centuries as a cultural conduit between East Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Muslim world and Europe, such as during the period of the Mongol Empire. One of the most significant exports of the Western Regions was Buddhist texts, particularly the Mahayana sutras, which were carried by traders and pilgrim monks to China. The Tang dynasty monk Xuanzang crossed the region on his way to study in India, resulting in the influential Great Tang Records on the Western Regions upon his return to the Tang capital of Chang'an.
Before the onset of Turkic migrations, the peoples of the region were Indo-Europeans divided into roughly two linguistic groups, the Saka and the Tocharians. The peoples of oasis city-states of Khotan and Kashgar spoke Saka, one of the Eastern Iranian languages, whereas the people of Kucha, Turfan and Loulan spoke the Tocharian languages.Xingjiao Temple
The Xingjiao Temple (Chinese: 兴教寺; pinyin: Xīngjiào Sì) is located in Shaoling Yuan, Chang'an District of Xi'an. The five-storied Buddhist relic pagoda, preserving the relics of Xuanzang, is inside the temple, along with the pagodas of his disciples, Kuiji and Yuance.Xingjiao Temple was built in AD 669 to reinhume Xuanzang and was one of eight famed temples in Fanchuan in Tang Dynasty.
Although the original Tang Dynasty stone pagoda is still standing, the temple was burnt to the ground at Tongzhi years in Qing Dynasty. It was rebuilt during the period of the Republic of China.Xuanzang (film)
Xuanzang or Xuan Zang is a 2016 Chinese-Indian historical adventure film based on Xuanzang's seventeen-year overland journey to India during the Tang dynasty in the seventh century. The film is directed by Huo Jianqi and produced by Wong Kar-wai. It stars Huang Xiaoming, Kent Tong, Purba Rgyal, Sonu Sood and Tan Kai. It was released in China and India on 29 April 2016, with distribution in China by China Film Group Corporation. It was selected as the Chinese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards but was not nominated. 'Xuan Zang' was screened at the 2nd Annual Asian World Film Festival on 31 October, 2016 in Culver City.Yogachara
Yogachara (Sanskrit: योगाचार; IAST: Yogācāra; literally "yoga practice"; "one whose practice is yoga") is an influential tradition of Buddhist philosophy and psychology emphasizing the study of cognition, perception, and consciousness through the interior lens of meditative and yogic practices. It is also variously termed Vijñānavāda (विज्ञानवाद, the doctrine of consciousness), Vijñaptivāda (the doctrine of ideas or percepts) or Vijñaptimātratā-vāda (the doctrine of 'mere vijñapti), which is also the name given to its major epistemic theory. There are several interpretations of this main theory, some scholars see it as a kind of Idealism while others argue that it is closer to a kind of phenomenology or representationalism.
According to Dan Lusthaus, this tradition developed "an elaborate psychological therapeutic system that mapped out the problems in cognition along with the antidotes to correct them, and an earnest epistemological endeavor that led to some of the most sophisticated work on perception and logic ever engaged in by Buddhists or Indians." The 4th-century Indian brothers, Asaṅga and Vasubandhu, are considered the classic philosophers and systematizers of this school, along with its other founder, Maitreya.It was associated with Indian Mahayana Buddhism in about the fourth century, but also included non-Mahayana practitioners of the Dārṣṭāntika school. Yogācāra continues to be influential in Tibetan Buddhism and East Asian Buddhism. However, the uniformity of a single assumed "Yogācāra school" has been put into question.
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