The Silk Road Journey
The Silk Road is one of the oldest and longest trade routes known in the ancient world. Xuan Zang is the only person in history known to have made the whole journey from the Tang capital of Chang’an all the way to India and then back. However, his sixteen years, ten thousand mile journey is a huge sacrifice that brought culture, religion, ideas, and various commodities together and connected China to the rest of the kingdoms to the west.
Xuan Zang, unsatisfied with the Chinese translations of the Buddhist text, decided to travel to India, to the origins of the Buddhist text. He went against the wishes of the Chinese emperor Taizong, and escaped by night to wild. Xuan Zang’s determination to seek the truth kept him alive throughout his sixteen year journey. On his journey to India, Xuan Zang visited numerous kingdoms, and was welcomed by the kings there. One specific king, the King of Turfan is so intrigued by Xuan Zang’s teaching that he tried to force Xuan Zang to stay, only relenting after Xuan Zang’s firm decision to leave or die from his hunger strike. He is given clothing, gold, servants, and horses for his journey by the King.
It is not just the King of Turfan who gives him clothing, gold, servants, and persuade him to stay. All the kingdoms that Xuan Zang encountered seem to take to Xuan Zang maybe because of his good looks, or his teachings. Each king sent him off with enough food, clothing, and servants to last him until his next stop. This is evidence of the exchange of ideas, commodities, and technologies that Xuan Zang will bring back to China and share with the Chinese emperor Taizong. You can tell that Xuan Zang made a pretty huge impact on the kingdoms that he visited and the kings and people he met by the way the people treated him. In one instance, he was escorted to the Nalanda community by monks and greeted “with banners, with parasols, with flowers and incense, they...