Wednesday, February 11, 2009

adam primary source

Fa-hsien (also Fa-hien), which means "illustrious master of the 1aw was Chinese Buddhist monk. Orphaned at an early age, Fa-hsien decided to continue the religious life planned for him by his father rather than to be incorporated into the family of his uncle. Little is known of his novitiate, though one legend tells of how he shamed a band of thieves from stealing the grain of his monastery. At the age of 25 Fa-hsien began a quest to learn about Buddist traditions in India and to discover authentic Buddhist writings. His travels, in Sumatra, Ceylon, India, and Tibet, coincided with a general curiosity of Chinese Buddhists about the practice of their religion abroad. Fa-hsien recovered a large quantity of Buddhist writings and returned to China where he devoted the rest of his life to translating them from Sanskrit. It is recorded that he died at the age of 88.

A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms (394-414CE) is an account of the journey Fa-hsien and his companions, mostly in India. They visited as many of the Buddhist sacred shrines as they could, especially those associated with the presence of the Buddha. The selections presented here show the reasons for the estblishment of these shrines, the legends that surrounded them, and the ways in which they were maintained.

where did fa-hsien learn about Buddist traditions?

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