Eminent Buddhists 2, Xuan Zang and his Disciples

Eminent Buddhists 2, Xuan Zang and his Disciples

This is the second of four documentaries from Chinese Central Television’s Channel 9 in a series about Eminent Buddhists in Ancient Chang’an. This episode takes up the story of Xuan Zang and his translation project, looking at the Ci’en Temple that the Emperor built for him to carry out his work.

He had the help of 50 permanent staff, mainly monastic, and 200 others who lived elsewhere; later he asked the Emperor to build The Big Wild Goose Pagoda, which housed not only his texts and translations, but also Buddha statues brought from India, and Bodily Relics (sarīra) also.

Xuan Zang’s translation work lasted for 19 years, in which time he managed to supervise the translation of 75 sūtras, comprising more than 13 million characters. Later he retired to the Yuhua Palace in Shanxi province, where he lived out the last four years of his life.

We also hear something of the life stories and works of two of his most famous disciples: Kuiji and Yuan’ce, whose work contributed to the corpus of the great Master, and whose relics now lie close to the Master’s.

 

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