Understanding the Roots of Chinese Religion Through a Western Journey, Essay Example

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Essay

Xuanzang is a known Chinese pilgrim who has specifically created a sense of journey that developed Chinese religions up to current years. In the record of his journey, his encounters were clearly defined in connection to how much these elements impacted the development of Chinese religions up to the present day picture of China. Some of these encounters were particularly not related to the Chinese culture but still had a strong impact on defining the principles of both Buddhism and Confucianism known to China today. Having the chance to travel the silk route which included Xianjing, Turkestan and Afghanistan towards going to India, Xuanzang had several encounters that were rather magical and at some point were unbelievable to the local eye.

His journey mostly involved both demons and humans trying to survive each other’s condition of survival. Relatively, these encounters hoped to create a sense of remarkable repatriations of what the Chinese beliefs have strongly been based upon. Meeting with three of the most prominent rulers in his journey was noted by critics to be the reason why he was able to provide focus on what he notes to be strongly relative to the development of the Chinese religions. The said rulers include Prajnakara, a Buddhist monk, Emperor Khan of Turkey and King Harsa of India. These three rulers were considerably in favor of Xuanzang as a pilgrim hence making it easier for them to give him his blessing for travelling their territories where he gained higher decrees of knowledge regarding Buddhism and the ancient Chinese Sanskrit which led him to becoming more involved in searching for the real foundations of the Buddhist belief.

Among the non-Chinese elements that he encountered along the way though is the oasis which is considered in the story as a remote area where Buddhism was said to be flourishing considering that it is situated in the western section of the cities that Xuanzang visited. Cave temples were among the elements that made up the oasis. These caves were described to be serene places for mediation and thinking among those who would like to attain a Buddhist-like way of becoming one with life. The Tarim Basin oasis is among the most famous oases that Xuanzang visited in the west, which is specifically mentioned in several Chinese Sanskrit at present.  Relatively, this particular oasis symbolized the expansive development of Buddhism in the west as it was being embraced by the people who at first did not know what the religion was about and how it was going to change their ways of living.

The Pagoda, which was used to carry the Sanskrit home, was a remarkable contribution of the Indian culture to the flourishing condition of the Chinese beliefs. Relatively, the pagoda is now a known and important figure in the Chinese culture which the people specifically give respect to.  To provide a picture of the said development, the pagoda that was brought home by Xuanzang has a form that is indebted to the Buddhism belief. The said pagoda was noted to  represent the condition by which the holy scrolls of the said religion has been transferred from one place to another to be able to affect the lives of those who would accept its principles as an important part of their lives. Relating back to his journeys, the encounters of Xuanzang with other people having their own forms of belief such as that of Zoroastrianism has also created a massive impact on how he personally developed the foundations of Buddhism as it applies some of the conditions of religious rituals that other remarkable religions from outside China specifically practice.

Reference:

Plaks, Andrew. The Four Masterworks of the Ming Novel. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1987. 183–276.

Miller, Barbara S. (ed.): Masterworks of Asian Literature in Comparative Perspective. New York – London: M.E. Sharpe, 1994. 272–284.

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