Venerable Xuanzang: Essence Of An Exemplary Explorer & Monk

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Venerable Xuanzang” I will rather die going to the west than living in the east”

” A country which knows its true history, is a country which stays together” Nish The Dude

Sometime in 7th Century BC 

A monk with oriental features was walking with alacrity through extreme harsh conditions. Calm and serenity on his handsome face beguiling a true grit determination to find the answers he was looking for…a journey of truth which he had undertaken which will take him through Afghanistan, Pakistan to India..The land of Lord Buddha. He had decided to take this impossible journey to find out the true teaching of Lord Buddha and find answer to many questions which still remained unanswered. He was deeply motivated by the travels of the great Chinese monk Faxian and motivated by Emperor of Taizong of Tang Dynasty in China. It would be a long journey and he knew the probability of reaching India would be minimal, but it was worth taking. Little did he know that his journey would prove to be the most important journey for humanity for he would not only complete his journey but leave an eternal legacy few people could match. No storm or obstacle could move him while he remained fearless of any wild animals who ventured in his path. He had a purpose in his life and it shone through his eyes. All the devas in heaven were guiding and protecting him and he had the blessings of beings from the Brahmic world. He walked with discipline and consistency instilled in him of Confucius teachings and would conquer everyone wherever he went with his intelligence, demeanor, and compassion. Who was he ? Why is he so great? What did he do?

Xuanzang also was known as Hiuen Tsang was a Chinese traveler of sublime talent and intellect. Xuanzang was born in China and became a samanera (novice monk) at a young age and came to India to learn more about Lord Buddha’s teachings. Xuanzang was a par excellence Buddhist Scholar, Writer, Monk, Traveller & Explorer and A GREAT Humanitarian.  

PictureMapRoutes(Source: silkroutes.net) During the time of Xuanzang’s visit to India, China had one of the most powerful dynasties in power known as the Tang Dynasty. Xuanzang took the silk route to reach India, an ancient route started by Han empire to help trade in Asia, Europe, and Africa. The primary purpose of the Silk route was to trade in Chinese Silk but it would prove fundamental in establishing great civilizations around the world. He arrived in India around the 7th century and stayed in India for about 17 years spending most of the time in Nalanda and traveling to Buddhist places in India. He traveled around India especially to all the places important for anyone following words of Buddha-like Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath And Kushinagar. By the time Xuanzang arrived in India, Buddhism was already in decline due to the inculcation of rites and rituals in Lord Buddha’s teachings which is so ironic considering Buddha all his life preached abstinence from any rites and rituals for liberation. Xuanzang, brought in a very strong Confucian philosophy which played a fundamental role in his success in India.

12193693_666536986822713_6646871275760050555_nXuanzang studied philosophy, logic, medicine, and Atharvaveda at Nalanda University according to Nalanda Guide Book. There were other monks from China who also stayed in Nalanda like I-Tsing and monks from other nationalities but Xuanzang who prove to be truly exceptional. Xuanzang is also known as King of  Tripitaka (Tipitaka is writing of words of Lord Buddha in Pali which took place approx 454 years after Lord Buddha took his Parinirvana and followed in Theravada part of Buddhism. It is known as Pali canon. During the time of Buddha, both Sanskrit and Pali were spoken in India. Pali was the common language while Brahmins and Royal class spoke Sanskrit. Lord Buddha choose to preach in Pali so everyone could understand his teachings. The oldest collection of recordings of Lord Buddha are in Pali.  For Tripitaka please refer to www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tripiṭaka)

Nalanda at that point of time focused on both Hinayana (also known as Theravada Buddhism which relies on words of Lord Buddha) and Mahayana Buddhism. He had very high praise for the monks & students and has described in detail how discussions based on logic were the foundation of discussion among the pupils of Nalanda. The great part of Xuanzang was that he easily molded into the society present at that point in time, excelled at all the teachings and became the favorite of everyone in Nalanda. When Xuanzang came to Nalanda, Nalanda was headed by Silabhadra who himself was very impressed by Xuanzang which is the highest accolade anyone could have desired in India at that point of time.

12190790_666536926822719_3474882937920612565_nXuanzang Memorial Center near Nalanda

His writings are today one of the most authentic remaining texts on workings of Nalanda and the prevailing sociopolitical environment of India at that point of time. India owes to Xuanzang & Emperor Taizong for encouraging Venerable Xuanzang on his spiritual path. This article cannot alone suffice to cover the exploits of Great Xuanzang. He would be covered in detail in the upcoming book by The Dude.

To wrap up what would history and the world say about Xuanzang 

He Came, He Learnt, He Wrote, He Won and He Conquered. EVERYONE through his ethics, his intelligence, his character, his compassion and his demeanor (helped in the lot due to his upbringing in Confucian and Lao Tao spiritual influence).

It’s great that China and India are jointly making a movie on his life. This would be the first effort by Indo Sino film chamber to produce a movie together and nothing could have been a more worthy and better than Venerable Xuanzang.

The Dude and Nishworld salute Xuanzang and The Dude will do 1000 push-ups in his honor (The Dude is not well now but will tape the push ups in multiple sets as and when he is fine and upload the video).

quote-i-would-rather-die-going-to-the-west-than-live-by-staying-in-the-east-xuanzang-80-49-97Below a small video of Xuanzang.

Memorial Center near Nalanda, Bodhgaya, Bihar, India. The Dude got unwell during this time (The Dude traveled to Nalanda especially to tape the video which was to form an part of his tribute to Xuanzang and got unwell on the way back).

Any disrespect to Xuanzang to be considered an insult to Sino Indian culture and going forward to be seriously dealt with. Xuanzang should be declared as an Indian cultural & spiritual icon and from now on should be addressed as Venerable Xuanzang in India. Exploits of Venerable Xuanzang to be prominently featured in Indian textbooks including prominence to be given to Chinese history since India & China had a great favorable relationship for the last 8000 years. India to re-look at history syllabus, check if any British bias is present in the history textbooks if so needs to be addressed too, amended and rectified.

IMG_20151028_160156Special thanks to Mr. Modi And President Xi for the wonderful effort in highlighting Xuanzang’s life through the joint cooperative Indo Sino film-making. The Dude bows down in respect and honor. Thank You..Thank You for your efforts in highlighting the best of Indo-Sino relationship and Culture…Going forward lot has to be done in this direction…

To wrap up it is very troubling that everyone in Nalanda requested Xuanzang to settle in India suggesting that China was a frontier country. How ironic for Indians to call China frontier country since China will go on to make arguably the greatest man-made architecture The Great Wall of China and cement their civilization for a long time while Indian civilization will soon disintegrate. Why did this happen? Who was the monkey king who accompanied Xuanzang in his journey according to Chinese folklore? Did Xuanzang’s help in cementing Chinese legacy for a  long time? Why is Xuanzang’s journey so important to humanity…

Answer coming up in the book…

19989_666537043489374_6379853406553822865_nThis article is written in the memory of a great man who dared to walk 6000 km to visit India from China in search of  Lord Buddha’s teachings and had deep for Indian civilization and mankind…His ordeal of suffering the treacherous terrain, his great legacy in leaving behind the account of his travels including bringing teachings of Lord Buddha to Tang China, his vivid description of Nalanda and of Indian political socio-environment which is one the most authentic portrayal of ancient India.

41v2fw8yT4LVenerable Xuanzang WILL REMAIN A GIANT OF A MAN…He defines the essence of an exemplary explorer, monk, a humanitarian and set a benchmark for others to emulate for generations to come.

Venerable Xuanzang you are an eternal hero…Thank You Venerable Xuanzang Thank You Tang & Ming Dynasty 

Thank You, Emperor Taizong…Thank You…Thank You…

Book by Venerable Xuanzang: Great Tang Records on the Western Regions