Hiuen Tsang Memorial

By Sanjeev Nayyar [email protected] | 2012

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We present Nalanda in two parts. 1 is the memorial and 2 is Nalanda University. The memorial is about a 5 minutes drive from Nalanda monastery gate. Enroute is a big lake where you can go boating although boat condition did not seem good. Memorial is to commemorate Hieun Tsang''s visit to Bharat. He was here from 630 to 644 A.D.

A close up of the Hiuen Tsang image. He studied philosophy, logic, grammar, medicine and Atharvadeda at Nalanda. He was given the name Moshadeva here. He stayed in Kashmir for 2 years and in Nalanda, on different occasions, for 2 years and learnt the Yogacharya system from Silabhadra, the monk who presided over Nalanda. He left India with a large number of books and images.

There is a huge hall in the memorial structure. You see an image of Buddha placed in the centre of the hall. Tsang''s book Si-yu-ki forms an invaluable source of ancient Indian history. On his return to China he received a royal ovation that was usually reserved for kings and generals. That Tsang was thought worthy of this speaks volumes not only for the great veneration that the Chinese had for Buddhism but also for India.

Hall ceiling very impressive, for you. Chinese texts have preserved biographies of 60 monks who visited India during the latter half of the 7th century A.D. the greatest being I-tsing. The 7th century also witnessed visits of many noted Indian Buddhists to China the earliest was Prabhakara-mitra, a famous scholar of Nalanda.

Hall ceiling very impressive, taken from another end of the hall. Walls had paintings. Tsang''s visit was responsible for the T''ang emperors to adopt a pro-Buddhist policy. Numerous Buddhists texts were translated into Chinese. This voluminous body of Sanskrit Buddhist literature, now almost lost in India has been preserved in Chinese translation.

Just above the hall entrance are these images of Buddha. Wish someone can help with a description. An authoritative catalogue of the Buddhist canon prepared in the T''ang period mentions 2487 works in 8476 fasciculi and in the 2nd, 799 works in 3364 fasciculi.

On the back side of the structure is a MAP that gives you the route by which Hiuen Tsang came to India and returned. Blue line is route from China to India and within India while Red line is route for return to China. Note the names of various places. In the map the countries of S.E. Asia seem so close to India no wonder Indian Culture went there. Yet today the area is home to so many countries.

Earlier pic showed lower part of map this has the upper part. Tsang was instrumental in establishing 2 new schools of Buddhism ie Yogacharya or the Vijnanavada and the Sarvastivada school. The former belonged to the Mahayana and the latter to Hinayana sect.

Huge bell in the garden. The memorial attracts lots of Chinese tourists. We know names of atleast 3 Indian painters-Sakyabuddha, Buddhakirti n Kumarabodhi who worked in China in Wei period. Different schools of Indian sculture such as Gandhara, Mathura and Gupta are all represented in Chinese art. The best statues of Wei period have been inspired by the elegant Buddha images of Ajanta and Sarnath. Other pictures have details of ancient India relations with China.

This is the tonga that I used to cover the smaller places of tourist attraction in Nalanda. Paid Rs 100/ for one hour, loved it. A musical party went direct from India to China in 581. According to traditions in Japan, 2 principal types of music called Bodhisatva and Bhairo were taken from China to Japan by an Indian Brahmana named Bodhi in the T''ang period.

This is a Jain temple on the way to Suraj Kund. The Indian system of 9 planets was adopted in China and the translation of a Sanskrit astro-nomical work, Navagraha-siddhanta, is still found in the collection of the T''ang period.

This is Surya Kund where the Chaat Puja is annually held. Very popular place. A numer of medical texsts are found in the Chinese Buddhist collection and Ravana-Kumara-charita, a Sanskrit treatise on the method of treatment of children diseases, was translated in the 11th century.

Another view of the kund. U see a local lady taking her buffaloo to the field. Chinese emperors and nobles were fond of Indian thau-maturges who professed to possess the secrets of longevity. Sometimes they sent an official to India to collect these rare medicines.

Close by is the Surya Mandir or temple dedicated to Sun God. It has various Hindu and Buddhist deities. U see a 5 feet image of Parvati.

Image of Buddha in the Surya Mandir. Detailed narrations taken from History and Culture of Indian People published by the Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan.

Close to the main Nalanda ruins is a small temple with a black image of Buddha. It is a must visit for the devout.