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Xuanzang: China's Legendary Pilgrim and Translator

Author: Benjamin Brose   Series: Lives of the Masters

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PRODUCT INFORMATION

Description

The life and legacy of Xuanzang: a Buddhist seeker, philosopher, and intrepid traveler who became the world's most famous pilgrim. In the fall of 629, Xuanzang (600-662), a twenty-nine-year-old Buddhist monk and scholar left the capital of China to begin an epic pilgrimage across the country, through the deserts of Central Asia, and into India. His goal was to locate and study authentic Buddhist teachings, then bring them back to his homeland. Over the course of the next sixteen years, he walked thousands of miles and visited hundreds of Buddhist monasteries and places of pilgrimage. He studied with prominent teachers all along the way, compiling a written record of Central and South Asia that still paints the clearest picture of the region's religions during that period. When he finally returned to China in 645, Xuanzang carried 657 texts, 150 relics, and at least seven statues with him. The arrival of these Buddhist treasures, and Xuanzang's successful efforts to translate dozens of critical texts into Chinese, created a landmark moment in the history of East Asian Buddhism. As with many premodern religious figures, the legends surrounding Xuanzang's life have taken on lives of their own. His story has been retold and repurposed by generations of devotees and historians, and it remains a vital narrative for hundreds of millions of people in Asia and beyond. This book charts a course between the earliest, most reliable accounts of Xuanzang's life and the fantastic legends that later developed, such as those in the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West . By examining the life, the writing, and the legacy of Xuanzang, scholar Benjamin Brose separates the myth from the man: a solitary, determined monk whose impact on Chinese Buddhism has never been equaled.

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Critic Reviews

“"Intrepid traveler, chronicler of Indian Buddhism, consummate scholar, translator extraordinaire, and inspiration for Journey to the West , Xuanzang may be the most famous figure in the history of Buddhism after the Buddha himself. If you don't believe it, read this book, where Benjamin Brose recounts Xuanzang's extraordinary life and offers finely crafted translations from his inspiring works and from works inspired by him."--Donald S. Lopez Jr., author of Gendun Chopel: Tibet's Modern Visionary "[An] excellent addition to the Lives of the Masters Series . . . Brose's smart volume is a compact yet comprehensive introduction to Xuanzang."-- Publishers Weekly”

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About the Author

BENJAMIN BROSE is an associate professor of Chinese Buddhism at the University of Michigan. His work on the history of religion in China, with a particular focus on Buddhism, has centered on two transformational historical eras--the late ninth through the early eleventh centuries and the twentieth century--in an attempt to better understand the relationships between social, cultural, and political change and the development of religious doctrines and practices. He is the author of Patrons and Patriarchs: Regional Rulers and Chan Monks during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms and numerous scholarly articles.

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Product Details

Publisher
Shambhala Publications Inc
Published
19th October 2021
Pages
288
ISBN
9781611807226
$40.16
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