Chasing the Monk's Shadow: A Journey in the Footsteps of Xuanzang

Chasing the Monk's Shadow: A Journey in the Footsteps of Xuanzang

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Item Code: IDE612
Author: Mishi Saran
Publisher: Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2018
ISBN: 0670058238
Pages: 456
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.8" X 6.2"
Weight 500 gm
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From the Jacket:

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. Traveling 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. Traveling seamlessly back and forth in time between the seventh century and the twenty-first. Saran uncovers the past with consummate skill even as the 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 Tibetan regime, just one month before 9/11. Running parallel to the account of her travels in 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.

About the Book

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.

About the Author

Mishi Saran was born in Allahabad in 1968, but has not lived in India since the age of ten. She graduated with a degree in Chinese studies from Wellesley College, USA, and spent two years in Beijing and Nanjing. In 1994 she moved to Hong Kong, where she worked as a news reporter until she became more interested in travel writing and fiction. She is currently working on her next book.

Contents

AUTHOR'S NOTEvii
THE ROAD TO INDIA1
JOURNEY TO THE WEST9
CITY OF THE FLYING HORSE31
THE JADE GATES38
RIVER OF SAND50
FIRE CITY61
TWIN CONVENTS68
WHITE WATER84
HEAVENL Y MOUNTAINS92
PERPETUAL SNOWS110
NINE LEPIOSHKAS124
SOGDIANA129
RIVER OF GOLD141
CROSSING THE RIVER153
LOCKING THE SEA IN A BOX164
UNHAPPY VALLEYS182
SIKANDER AND PORUS187
KINGDOM ENCLOSED BY PEAKS195
TREE NYMPHS205
TOO MANY WOMEN209
HOLY CONFLUENCE223
SCHISM IN THE SANGHA231
SARKARI INTEZAM235
WRONG KIND OF LOVE244
LABOUR PAl S255
FATAL MUSHROOMS261
DEER PARK265
BUDDHIST IVY LEAGUE271
VULTURE'S PEAK280
PEEPUL LEAF AND PERFECT WISDOM284
LAND OF THE EASTERN LIGHT292
REUNITED301
FLOWER MOUNTAIN304
OCEAN'S EDGE311
HIDDEN BUDDHAS318
STONE ELEPHANTS324
HILL OF RISHIS329
LIMBO335
PURE LAND337
CITY OF DRESSED STONE345
MOUND OF THE KING354
LOTUS CITY362
SILK ROAD GRAFFITI368
LISTENING POST375
INSHALLAH381
SACRIFICE COUNTR Y387
SAD SECRETS402
FLEA IN YOUR CLOTHES418
TOOTI-PHOOTI AFGHANISTAN425
AFTERWARDS431
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS432
NOTES434
BIBLIOGRAPHY440
INDEX443

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