|Statue of Xuan Zang|
Xuanzang's family was very poor and his parents died early, so he became a monk at thirteen years old. In the following years, he studied sutras earnestly, went to many places to call on Buddhist masters and gradually became accomplished in religious works. However, he found there was much divergence in Buddhist theories and it was difficult to get one authoritative and credible theory, so he decided to go to India to further his study of Buddhism.
In the early years of the Tang Dynasty, most regions of the Silk Road were under the control of the Turks (a minority in ancient China), so the government prohibited people from going to the Western Regions. Xuanzang departed stealthily from Chang'an (the present Xi'an), traveled along the Hexi Corridor and reached Liangzhou (Wuwei in Gansu Province). He escaped the toll-gates at the frontier and arrived in Guazhou (now Anxi in Gansu Province) near the Yumenguan Pass that was at the western end of the Great Wall. Under the help of a Tartar, he went out of Yumenguan Pass, traversed deserts for a few days, passed through Yiwu (Hami) and reached Gaochang (Turpan). The King of Gaochang respected Xuanzang very much. He sent Xuanzang 25 people and 30 horses. Then Xuanzang continued his westbound journey by crossing the snow-covered Pamir Plateau and passing Qiuci (Kuche), Suiye (in Kirghizia), Tashkent and Samarkand. After four years of painstaking travel, he finally reached India.
In an ancient temple called the Nalanda Temple, Xuanzang studied India's sutras for five years under the guidance of the Master Jie Xi'an. Afterwards, he traveled across India to exchange ideas with other religious leaders and to give sermons. In 645 AD, he returned to Chang'an with more than 600 sutras. The Tang Emperor Taizong (Li Shimin) gave him a right royal welcome. In the rest of his life, he committed himself to translating the sutras he brought back in Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
Further Reading: Silk Road in Tang Dynasty
- Last modified on May. 16, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on Xuanzang
Asked by Ms.Brianna Duncan from UNITED STATES | Jan. 27, 2011 17:56Reply
is this information accurate on him? I am doing a report and needed some info .
Answered by Mr.George | Jan. 27, 2011 20:54
I think so, since it is nearly the same with the records in Chinese history books.