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Ultimate Journey: Retracing the Path of an Ancient Buddhist Monk Who Crossed Asia in Search of Enlightenment

by Bernstein, Richard

  • ISBN: 9780375400094
  • ISBN10: 0375400095

Ultimate Journey: Retracing the Path of an Ancient Buddhist Monk Who Crossed Asia in Search of Enlightenment

by Bernstein, Richard

  • List Price: $26.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
  • Publish date: 01/01/2001
  • ISBN: 9780375400094
  • ISBN10: 0375400095
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Description: In the tradition of Peter Matthiessen's The Snow Leopard, a riveting book that is at once a travel adventure, a journal of historical discovery, and a spiritual quest.

In the year 629, a Buddhist monk named Hsuan Tsang, one of the most storied figures of Chinese history, set out across Asia in search of the Buddhist Truth. Nearly a millennium and a half later, Richard Bernstein retraced the monk's steps: from the T'ang dynasty capital at Xi'an through ancient Silk Road oases, over the world's most forbidding mountain passes to Tashkent, Samarkand, and the Amu Darya River, across Pakistan to the holiest cities of India -- and back. Juxtaposing his experiences with those of Hsuan Tsang, Bernstein reconstructs the hazards and glories of this long and sinuous route, comparing present and past, encountering its inhabitants -- from modern-day adventurers and monks to a down-and-out maharaja and a supposed reincarnation of Lord Shiva. But Bernstein also follows Hsuan Tsang in more contemplative ways, as he reflects on the mysteries and paradoxes of Buddhist philosophy and on the nature of the Ultimate Truth that was Hsuan Tsang's goal.

A vivid, deeply felt account of two great adventures, one of ancient and one of modern times.

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