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The Great Translation Master of Buddhist Texts: Xuanzang

2019-07-01


During the Sui Dynasty, twelve-year-old Xuanzang renounced in Luoyang. He was granted special permission to do so by the chief examiner, who was moved by his vows to promote Buddhism. When he found discrepancies among translated Buddhist texts and their interpretations, he was determined to travel to India in search of the original Sanskrit texts. At the age of 26, he began his long and arduous journey to the west. Along the way he visited sacred sites and studied various sutras and sastras under famous teachers.

After seventeen years, Xuanzang returned to China with numerous Buddhist texts. He then devoted himself to translation and became recognized as one of the Four Great Translators. As a great translation master of Buddhist texts, he proclaimed a theory of “Five Untranslatables.” This theory has a great influence on Buddhist scriptural translation, as well as the later multi-lingual translation.


The Eight Buddhist Patriarchs located along the front of the Main Hall symbolize propagation of the Eight Chinese Schools in Humanistic Buddhism. Xuanzang founded the Faxiang School and was known as the Tripitaka Master because of his profound understanding of sutras, vinayas, and sastras. As a Buddhist scholar, translator, diplomat, and geographer, Xuanzang is regarded as one of the most prominent Buddhist in Chinese history.

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