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Fa Xian's Spiritual Journey, 1 & 2

This is a reconstruction of the life of one of the great Chinese monk-scholars who traveled to India in the 5th century. It is in four parts and two segments, the second of which will play out next week.

There are a lot of films about Xuan Zang, but hardly ever do we hear about the other monks who undertook this journey, so this is a very welcome addition.

In the first two parts we follow his birth and growing up and becoming a monk in his own province of Shanxi, his eventual move to the capital Chang'an, and the decision he made, at the age of 62, to travel to India in search particularly of the Vinaya texts (not sūtra texts, as is consistently said throughout the films).

In the second part he we see him start out on his journey, and cross through many central Asian kingdoms, which he later wrote about, in Records of the Buddhist Kingdoms, a very valuable memoir, giving us much needed information about the state of Buddhism at the time.

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