Xuanzang: A Buddhist Pilgrim on the Silk Road

Xuanzang: A Buddhist Pilgrim on the Silk Road

by Sally Wriggins
     
 

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The saga of the seventh-century Chinese monk Xuanzang, who completed an epic sixteen-year journey to discover the heart of Buddhism at its source in India, is a splendid story of human struggle and triumph. One of China’s great heroes, Xuanzang is introduced here for the first time to Western readers in this richly illustrated book.Sally Wriggins, who

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Overview

The saga of the seventh-century Chinese monk Xuanzang, who completed an epic sixteen-year journey to discover the heart of Buddhism at its source in India, is a splendid story of human struggle and triumph. One of China’s great heroes, Xuanzang is introduced here for the first time to Western readers in this richly illustrated book.Sally Wriggins, who journeyed in Xuanzang’s footsteps, brings to life a man who transcended common experience. Eight centuries before Columbus, this intrepid pilgrim—against the wishes of his emperor—traveled on the Silk Road through Central Asia on his way to India. Before his journey ended, he had met most of Asia’s important leaders and traversed 10,000 miles in search of Buddhist scriptures. He was both a mountain climber who scaled three of Asia’s highest mountain ranges and a desert survivor who nearly died of thirst on the brutal flats; a philosopher and metaphysician; a diplomat who established China’s ties to Central Asian and Indian kings; and above all a devout and courageous Buddhist who personally nurtured the growth of Buddhism in China by disseminating the nearly 600 scriptures he carried back from India.Wriggins gives us vivid descriptions of the perils Xuanzang faced, the monasteries he visited (many still standing today), and the eight places of Buddhist pilgrimage in India. Detailed maps and color photographs provide striking evidence of the vast distances involved and the appalling dangers Xuanzang endured; reproductions of Buddhist art from museums around the world capture the glories of this world religion while revealing a cosmopolitan era in which pilgrims were both adventurers and ambassadors of goodwill.An engaging introduction to Buddhism and Buddhist art, this unique book takes the reader on a rousing adventure that also gives a compelling view of Asian history and civilization.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A remarkable and unprecedented pilgrimage to India in A.D. 639-645 by the Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang is one of the great milestones in the history of China's long love affair with Buddhism. Xuanzang returned from that trip laden with Buddhist scriptures, artifacts and a treasure trove of spiritual learning for his homeland, thus transforming Buddhism's position in China and energizing its reception by the ruling classes. Wriggins has, in this small book, provided a practical introduction to Xuanzang and a useful text accompanied by maps and photographs. Despite the fact that Wriggins's prose is often dull (the stuff of guidebooks rather than of holy travel), Xuanzang's travels prove interesting enough to make even these flaws seem minor; and Wriggins's book will provide a significant introduction to an extraordinary traveler's extraordinary contribution to Buddhist history. (May)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813334073
Publisher:
Westview Press
Publication date:
01/28/1996
Pages:
292
Product dimensions:
7.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.73(d)

Meet the Author

Sally Hovey Wriggins was the first Westerner and first woman to walk extensively in the footsteps of Xuanzang. Having lived and traveled in Asia for several years based out of Sri Lanka, she also studied with the Venerable Kheminda Thero. She is a regular contributor to Archeology and Orientations.

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