Eminent Buddhists 3-4, Yijing and the West Market

Eminent Buddhists 3, Yijing and the West Market

This is the third of four documentaries from Chinese Central Television’s Channel 9 in a series about Eminent Buddhists in Ancient Chang’an.

In this week’s episode we have two sections. The first is about the great pilgrim and translator Yijing, who was younger than Xuan Zang, and concentrated on Vinaya texts, which he brought back from India and Sri Lanka, almost at the cost of his life.

Once he had returned he was installed at Jianfu Temple, which is where he built the Small Wild Goose Pagoda to house the sacred texts he had brought with him from India. During his 17 active years of work, he translated 61 sūtras, including the Avatamsakasūtra, which is the basis for the advanced Huayan school of Buddhism.

The second part of the film looks at the West Market and how cosmopolitan Chang-an was during the Tang dynasty. The city at that time was very large, having up to 1 million residents, a third of which may have been foreigners.

 

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The last film in this series actually has nothing to do with Buddhism, but I append it here as it still has interest. The first section continues the story of the West Market and the financial technologies employed. The second and larger section tells the story of the arrival of Islam in Chang’an 30 years after its beginnings, and the development of the Great Mosque, which still flourishes today. It is an interesting story, and shows just how cosmopolitan China and its leaders were in those days, and is a good example for today.

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to see a set of stills click on the screenshot below

 

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