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Xuanzang Travelled to the West to Seek Buddhist Dharma

Xuanzang(602-664) whose secular family name is Chen and given name is Hui,was ordained at the age of thirteen.In the process of learning Buddhism,he discovered discrepancies between the different doctrines advocated by different schools of thoughts.He was somewhat confused as to which one to follow.So he decided to go to the birthplace of Buddhism in ancient India(known as Tianzhu in ancient time) to learn the authentic doctrine.He set off from Chang’an in the 3rd year of the Zhenguan Period(629). He first traveled along the middle section of Silk Road,then to Wuwei in Gansu,and Dunhuang,from where he crossed the border to follow the Hexi Corridor.Then he proceeded further to the west,passing through Yiwu(resent-day Hami), Gaochang(present-day Turpan) and finally arrived in the ancient Rajgir of the ancient city Indian Kingdom Magadha two years later.Xuanzang studied Sanskirt and Buddhism in Nalanda Monastery.In the 10th year of the Zhenguan Period(636),Xuanzang traveled to kingdoms in ancient India as a visiting scholar.Then he returned to the Nalanda Monastery.In the 19th year of Zhenguan Period(645),Xuanzang returned to Chang’an via the southern routh of the Silk Road.On his extended trip of seventeen year,covering some twenty-five thousand kilometers,Xuanzang brought back more than six hundred Buddhist scriptures.A grand welcome was extended to Xuanzang by Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty together with monks and laymen in Chang’an.Since the Xuanzang settled down in Chang’an’s Hong Fu Monastery and Ci En Monastery where he translated Buddhist scriptures.He also wrote a book on his westbound entitled Buddhist of the Western World. The story of Xuanzang’s westbound journey was widely spread in post-Tang times. The famous Ming Dynasty ghost story Journey to the West was derived from his experience
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