Xuanzang was a famous Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator who described the interaction between China and India.
Xuanzang (c. 602 – 664) was a famous Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator who described the interaction between China and India in the early Tang period. Born in Henan province of China in 602 or 603, from boyhood he took to reading sacred books, including the Chinese Classics and the writings of the ancient sages.
While residing in the city of Luoyang, Xuanzang entered Buddhist monkhood at the age of thirteen. Due to the political and social unrest caused by the fall of the Sui dynasty, he went to Chengdu in Sichuan (Szechuan), where he was ordained at the age of twenty. From Xingdu, he travelled throughout China in search of sacred books of Buddhism. At length, he came to Chang'an, then under the peaceful rule of Emperor Taizong of Tang. Here Xuanzang developed the desire to visit India. He knew about Faxian's visit to India and, like him, was concerned about the incomplete and misinterpreted nature of the Buddhist scriptures that reached China.
He became famous for his seventeen year overland journey to India, which is recorded in detail in his autobiography and a biography, and which provided the inspiration for the epic novel Journey to the West.