Chasing the Monk’s Shadow - A Journey in the Footsteps of Xuanzang

Chasing the Monk’s Shadow - A Journey in the Footsteps of Xuanzang

Product ID: 15385

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Author: Mishi Saran
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2005
Language: English
Pages: 446
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0670058238


In the seventh century AD, the Chinese monk Xuanzang (earlier spelt as Hiuen Tsang or Hsuan Tsang) set off on an epic journey to India to study Buddhist philosophy from the Indian masters. Travelling along the Silk Road, through the desolate wastes of the Gobi desert and the icy passes of Central Asia, braving brigands and blizzards, Xuanzang finally reached India, where his spiritual quest took him to Buddhist holy places and monasteries throughout the subcontinent. By the time he returned to china eighteen years later, carrying with him nearly 600 scriptures which he translated from Sanskrit into Chinese, Xuanzang had covered an astonishing 10, 000 miles. He also left a detailed record of his journey, which remains a valuable source of historical information on the regions he traversed.

Fourteen hundred years later, Mishi Saran follows in Xuanzang’s footsteps to the fabled oasis cities of China and central Asia, and the Buddhist sites and now-vanished kingdoms in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan that Xuanzang wrote about. Travelling seamlessly back and forth in time between the seventh century and the twenty-first, Saran uncovers the past with consummate skill even as she brings alive the present through her vivid and engaging descriptions of people and places. Her gripping chronicle includes an extraordinary eyewitness account of Kabul under the Taliban regime, just one month before 9/11. Running parallel to the account of her travels is the moving story of the author’s inner journey towards a new understanding of her roots and her identity.

With its riveting mix of lively reportage, high adventure, historical inquiry and personal memoir, this delightfully written book is a path-breaking travelogue. An Indian woman with a China Craze, A Chinese monk with an Indian obsession; we had the same schizophrenia, the monk and I. It seemed logical to take the same road.


Author’s Note

The Road To The West
Journey To The West
City of the Flying Horse
The Jade Gates
River of Sand
Fire City
Twin Convents
White Water
Heavenly Mountains
Perpetual Snows
Nine Lepioshkas
River of Gold
Crossing the River
Locking The Sea in a Box
Unhappy Valleys
Sikander and Porus
Kingdom Enclosed by Peaks
Tree Nymphs
Too Many Women
Holy Confluence
Schism in the Sangha
Sarkari Intezam
Wrong Kind of Love
Labour Pains
Fatal Mushrooms
Deer Park
Buddhist Ivy League
Vulture’s Peak
Peepul Leaf and Perfect Wisdom
Land of the Eastern Light
Flower Mountain
Ocean’s Edge
Hidden Buddhas
Stone Elephants
Hill of Rishis
Pure Land
City of Dressed Stone
Mound of the King
Lotus City
Silk Road Graffiti
Listening Post
Sacrifice Country
Sad Secrets
Flea in Your Clothes
Tooti-Phooti Afghanistan