Xuanzang was a Chinese Buddhist monk and scholar who lived during the Tang dynasty. He was born in 602 CE in Henan province, China, and entered a Buddhist monastery at the age of thirteen. He became interested in the study of Buddhist scriptures and decided to undertake a pilgrimage to India to obtain more authentic Buddhist texts and teachings.
In 629 CE, Xuanzang set out on his journey, which would take him over seventeen years to complete. He traveled along the Silk Road, through Central Asia and Afghanistan, and finally reached India in 630 CE. There, he studied under the guidance of various Buddhist masters and learned Sanskrit, the language in which the Buddhist scriptures were written.
Xuanzang spent many years in India, visiting important Buddhist sites and collecting valuable Buddhist texts. He also became familiar with various Buddhist schools of thought and debated with their adherents. He gained a reputation as a scholar and teacher, and many people sought his advice and teachings.
In 645 CE, Xuanzang returned to China with a large collection of Buddhist texts, including many that had never been seen in China before. He also brought back images of the Buddha and other sacred objects. Upon his return, he was greeted as a hero, and the emperor bestowed upon him the title of “Great Master.”
Xuanzang spent the rest of his life translating the Buddhist texts he had brought back from India into Chinese. He established a translation bureau at his monastery and trained many monks in the art of translation. His translations are known for their accuracy and are still used by scholars and practitioners of Buddhism today.
Xuanzang’s journey to India and back was a remarkable feat of endurance and scholarship. He faced many hardships on his journey, including attacks by bandits and harsh weather conditions. He also had to navigate the complex political landscape of the regions he traveled through.
Xuanzang’s legacy is immense. His translations of Buddhist texts helped to spread Buddhism throughout China and beyond. His writings and teachings also influenced many scholars and practitioners of Buddhism in China and other countries. He is remembered as a great Buddhist master and a pioneer in the study of Buddhism in China.