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Yijing(635 - 713)

Yijing. (J. Gijō; K. Ǔijǒng 義淨) (635-713). Chinese Buddhist monk and pilgrim. Ordained at the age of twenty, Yijing dreamed of following in the footsteps of the renowned pilgrims Faxian and Xuanzang. He eventually set out for India in 671 via the Southern maritime route. After visiting the major Indian pilgrimage sites (see mahāsthāna), Yijing traveled to the monastic university at Nālandā, where he remained for the next ten years. On his return trip to China, Yijing stopped at Śrīvijaya (Palembang in Sumatra) to continue his studies. He praised the monks there for their high level of learning, describing them as primarily Hīnayāna in affiliation. It was in Śrīvijaya that he began to compose his record of his travels, the Nanhai jigui neifa zhuan, which remains an important source on the practice of Buddhism in the many regions where he traveled and for understanding the various nikāya affiliations of the period. It was also during his time in Śrīvijaya that Yijing began his translation of the massive Mūlasarvāstivāda vinaya. When he ran out of paper and ink, he made a brief trip back to China in 689 to retrieve more writing supplies and then returned to Śrīvijaya. After a thirty=year sojourn overseas, Yijing finally returned to China in 695 with some four hundred Sanskrit texts and three hundred grains of the Buddha's relics (śarīra). Yijing was warmly welcomed in the capital of Luoyang by Empress Wu Zetian, who appointed him to the monastery of Foshoujisi. Later, from 695 to 699, Yijing participated in Śikṣānanda's new translation of the Avataṃsakasūtra and devoted the next decade or so to the translation of the scriptures that he had brought back with him from India. In addition to the Mūlasarvāstivāda vinaya, his translations also include several important Yogācāra treatises and tantras. His writings also include a collection of the biographies of renowned East Asian Buddhist pilgrims to India, the Da Tang xiyu qiufa gaoseng zhuan. (Source: "Yijing." In The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, 1028. Princeton University Press, 2014. http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt46n41q.27.)

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  • Zhang Wenming · other names