Despite the deadpan ferocity of the satire, this warning was not enough to save me from succumbing to the totalitarian temptation in my early 20s, that dangerous age when youthful idealism so often gives rise to self-righteous zealotry; but if the early exposure failed to preserve me from subsequent infection, it perhaps ensured that I recovered from the condition fairly rapidly and remained immune to the virus thereafter.
His family was noted for its erudition for generations, and Xuanzang was the youngest of four children. Along with his brothers and sister, he received an early education from his father, who instructed him in classical works on filial piety and several other canonical treatises of orthodox Confucianism.
Inthe Sui Dynasty collapsed and Xuanzang and his brother fled to Chang'anwhich had been proclaimed as the capital of the Tang dynastyand thence southward to ChengduSichuan.
When Xuanzang requested to take Buddhist orders at the age of thirteen, the abbot Zheng Shanguo made an exception in his case because of his precocious knowledge. He subsequently left his brother and returned to Chang'an to study foreign languages and to continue his study of Buddhism.
He began his mastery of Sanskrit in ,[ citation needed ] and probably also studied Tocharian. InXuanzang reportedly had a dream that convinced him to journey to India.
Xuanzang persuaded some Buddhist guards at Yumen Pass and slipped out of the empire through Liangzhou Gansu and Qinghai in He arrived in Turpan in Here he met the king of Turpan, a Buddhist who equipped him further for his travels with letters of introduction and valuables to serve as funds.
The hottest mountain in China, the Flaming Mountainsis located in Turpan and was depicted in the Journey to the West. Moving further westward, Xuanzang escaped robbers to reach Karasahrthen toured the non-Mahayana monasteries of Kucha.
After a feast, Xuanzang continued west then southwest to Tashkentcapital of modern Uzbekistan. From here, he crossed the desert further west to Samarkand.
In Samarkand, which was under Persian influence, the party came across some abandoned Buddhist temples and Xuanzang impressed the local king with his preaching. Setting out again to the south, Xuanzang crossed a spur of the Pamirs and passed through the famous Iron Gates.
Continuing southward, he reached the Amu Darya and Termezwhere he encountered a community of more than a thousand Buddhist monks. Further east he passed through Kunduzwhere he stayed for some time to witness the funeral rites of Prince Tardu,  who had been poisoned.
Here he met the monk Dharmasimhaand on the advice of the late Tardu made the trip westward to Balkh modern Afghanistanto see the Buddhist sites and relics, especially the Nava Viharawhich he described as the westernmost vihara in the world.
This was part of the fabled old land of Gandhara.
Xuanzang took part in a religious debate here, and demonstrated his knowledge of many Buddhist schools. Here he also met the first Jains and Hindu of his journey.
He pushed on to Adinapur  later named Jalalabad and Laghmanwhere he considered himself to have reached India. The year was This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.Textbook Solutions Master the problems in your textbooks.
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