Bridge school map night asia

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  • In 627, during the Tang Dynasty, the Dharma Master Hsuan Tsang started his westward journey by foot from Xian toward remote India to seek Buddhist scriptures. He crossed the Takla Makan Desert and climbed the Pamir Plateau that was covered with snow year round. Overcoming many natural dangers, he finally arrived in India. (At that time, the Indian territory included the area from what is present day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Kashmir, down to the south of the Hindu Kush Mountains). http://www.tzuchi.org/global/silkroad/Route%20Story/S1_prelude.htm
  • Traditional Capital of Han China and Tang China Bell Tower – traditional start of the Silk Road During the Sui and Tang Dynasties when the development of Buddhism was at its peak, an event of great historical significance occurred: the journey westward by Hsuan Tsang. In order to research and study the true meaning of the Buddhist teachings, Hsuan Tsang departed from Changan (now Xian in Shaanxi province) in 627 AD to travel to India to obtain the Buddhist scriptures. However, as the Chinese government did not grant permission for his intended journey, he had to leave the country secretly and make the long and dangerous journey alone, "a lonely journey accompanied only by a long staff". We stand on the verdant land of the outskirts of Xi'an. The Tang Dynasty Kai Yuan Gate once stood at this site, which represents the Eastern departure point for travelers on the Silk Road. Even today, people traveling westward from Xian must pass this place. Ever since Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty sent Zhang Qian to the western regions of China and beyond, exchanges between China and the western world have increased continuously. From the distant western regions and the Middle East, over icy mountains, vast deserts and hazardous winding roads, countless foreigners traveled to Changan, China, and Han people journeyed to foreign lands. For over 2000 years, countless numbers of valiant, fiery-spirited businessmen, monks, government officials, and soldiers uprooted themselves to start on their journey west from the land now under your feet. Among them was Master Hsuan Tsang who took advantage of local turmoil and chaos from severe hail storms and famine and fled the city of Changan along with many refugees. (Adapted from http://www.tzuchi.org/global/silkroad/Route%20Story/S2_determine.htm)
  • Dunhuang is located between Urumgi and Yumen. It was an oasis town irrigated by the Tang River and began to serve as an important way station on the main trade route between China and Central Asia since the first century B.C. when Emperor Han Wu-ti started to expand the empire westwards. This was a town that Hsuan Tsang would have This was an area where many races lived together. Chinese (in the ethnic sense), Mongols, Uighurs, Tibetans, Hsia, and others resided here. In the mountains nearby, Buddhist cave-shrines began to be constructed from 366 A.D., in which scriptures were stored, and wall paintings and sculptures were created and maintained. Hsuan Tsang would have stopped here and perhaps meditated for some time in several of the caves, awed by the many caves and grottoes that held paintings and sculptures devoted to Buddha and his teachings.
  • Local children ride camels and enjoy themselves in the Fire Flame Mountain range. Turpan is also called the fire state. It is the lowest, driest, and hottest area of China. (Photograph by Michael Siu) http://www.tzuchi.org/global/silkroad/Photos/pp4.htm The ancient Silk Road town of Turfan is located in the Xinjiang, China's westernmost province bordering Mongolia to the north, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the west, and Tibet to the south. Turfan is an oasis town located in the east of the province, and on the northern border of the Taklamakan Desert to the south of the Tian Shan Mountains. It lies in the great Turpan Depression, the lowest and hottest place in China at 154 meters below sea level. It is a strange mix of sand dunes and salt lakes and is also called the “fire state.” One of the ranges is called the “Fire Flame Mountain” range, perhaps the inspiration for the episode with the “Flaming Mountain.” Hsuan Tsang must have marveled at the strange terrain as he traveled through this region.
  • Chinese (Pinyin)   Tulufan Pendi   or  (Wade-Giles romanization)   T'u-lu-f'an P'en-ti,  also called   Turpan Basin   deep mountain basin in the Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang , northwestern China . The Turfan Depression is a fault trough, descending ultimately to 508 feet (155 metres) below sea level (the lowest point in China), whereas the neighbouring Tarim River and Lop Nur areas are between 2,000 and 3,000 feet (600 and 900 metres) above sea level. The basin has an area of some 20,000 square miles (50,000 square km).
  • Travelers on the Silk Road had to cross the Taklamakan Desert, a bleak region of drifting sand dunes in northwestern China. Most caravans, using camels like these for transport, traveled along the edges of the desert, at the base of the mountain ranges that surround it. "Go in and never come out", the literal translation of the Taklamakan Desert, is an apt description of the dangers caravan traders and travelers on the Silk Road once faced. This may have been the most difficult leg of Hsuan Tsang’s journey. That Buddhism initially reached China through this region is amazing.
  • Travelers on the Silk Road had to cross the Taklamakan Desert, a bleak region of drifting sand dunes in northwestern China. Most caravans, using camels like these for transport, traveled along the edges of the desert, at the base of the mountain ranges that surround it. "Go in and never come out", the literal translation of the Taklamakan Desert, is an apt description of the dangers caravan traders and travelers on the Silk Road once faced. This may have been the most difficult leg of Hsuan Tsang’s journey. That Buddhism initially reached China through this region is amazing.
  • Travelers on the Silk Road had to cross the Taklamakan Desert, a bleak region of drifting sand dunes in northwestern China. Most caravans, using camels like these for transport, traveled along the edges of the desert, at the base of the mountain ranges that surround it. "Go in and never come out", the literal translation of the Taklamakan Desert, is an apt description of the dangers caravan traders and travelers on the Silk Road once faced. This may have been the most difficult leg of Hsuan Tsang’s journey. That Buddhism initially reached China through this region is amazing.
  • At the foot of the Heavenly Mountain, by the lake of the Great Ching (Lake Issyk Kul), the Silk Road bids farewell to the Gobi Desert and enters the fertile and lush prairie of Central Asia. In ancient times, ambassadors, merchants, monks and soldiers have all traveled this way. They climbed over the Heavenly Mountain, bid farewell to the dangerous peaks along the Pamir Highland, and then traveled along the banks of the River Chu. After Hsuan Tsang set off, he encountered his first great danger while climbing what he called Mount Ling (today called Mt. Bogda), a precipitous mountain covered with glaciers. Mount Ling is the highest peak in the Tianshan Mountain Range, located between Xinjiang and Kyrgyzstan. For seven days and nights, Hsuan Tsang and his entourage trekked perilous mountain trails. The wind was icy and biting, One third of his entourage froze to death. He then chose to cross the peak on the south west called Bedel. During the Sui and Tang dynasties, Bedel was a major crossing point of the western Turks. Today Bedel is no longer part of the Heavenly Mountain ranges. It belongs to the Pamir Highland and is the only point that connects China to the capital of Kyrgyztan, Bishkek. http://www.tzuchi.org/global/silkroad/Background/2_central.htm http://www.tzuchi.org/global/silkroad/Route%20Story/S3_asia.htm
  • At the foot of the Heavenly Mountain, by the lake of the Great Ching (Lake Issyk Kul), the Silk Road bids farewell to the Gobi Desert and enters the fertile and lush prairie of Central Asia. In ancient times, ambassadors, merchants, monks and soldiers have all traveled this way. They climbed over the Heavenly Mountain, bid farewell to the dangerous peaks along the Pamir Highland, and then traveled along the banks of the River Chu. After Hsuan Tsang set off, he encountered his first great danger while climbing what he called Mount Ling (today called Mt. Bogda), a precipitous mountain covered with glaciers. Mount Ling is the highest peak in the Tianshan Mountain Range, located between Xinjiang and Kyrgyzstan. For seven days and nights, Hsuan Tsang and his entourage trekked perilous mountain trails. The wind was icy and biting, One third of his entourage froze to death. He then chose to cross the peak on the south west called Bedel. During the Sui and Tang dynasties, Bedel was a major crossing point of the western Turks. Today Bedel is no longer part of the Heavenly Mountain ranges. It belongs to the Pamir Highland and is the only point that connects China to the capital of Kyrgyztan, Bishkek. http://www.tzuchi.org/global/silkroad/Background/2_central.htm http://www.tzuchi.org/global/silkroad/Route%20Story/S3_asia.htm
  • Tashkent is the current day capital of Tashkent region and of Uzbekistan, in the foothills of the Tian Shan Mountains. The largest and one of the oldest cities of Central Asia, it is the economic heart and cultural center of the region. The city lies in a great oasis along the Chirchik River. This is probably the first city that Xuan Zang had seen since he left Chang’an. Here he would have found a busy marketplace, being one of the major trading centers along the Silk Roads, and he would have seen silks, spices and other luxury items from China being traded. Tashkent (tăshkĕnt`, –kĕnd`) or Toshkent (tŏsh–), city (1992 pop. 2,133,000), capital of Tashkent region and of Uzbekistan, in the foothills of the Tian Shan mts.; the name is also spelled Dashkent. The largest and one of the oldest cities of Central Asia, it is the economic heart of the region. It is also a major cultural center, a rail and highway junction, and an important air terminal. The city lies in a great oasis along the Chirchik River and on the Trans-Caspian RR Trans-Caspian Railroad, transportation line linking the countries of Central Asia to one another and with the nations to the west. Built in the late 19th cent. ..... Click the link for more information. . There is extensive trade in grain and raw cotton. Tashkent has one of the largest cotton textile mills in Asia. Other industries include railroad workshops, food- and tobacco-processing plants, and factories that manufacture agricultural machinery and consumer goods. The Tashkent oasis produces cotton and fruit. Irrigation canals on the Chirchik River supply power for several hydroelectric plants.
  • In pre-Islamic times the city was known as “Chach”. After the 16th century, the name steadily evolved to Tashkand. The modern spelling of Tashkent reflects Russian influence. In fact, in the centuries past, Tashkent, has been called Chach, Shash, and Binkent. On April 26 1966, Tashkent was destroyed by an earthquake and the city has had to rebuild. Today the city is known for its tree lined streets, many fountains and nice parks. In 2007, Tashkent was named the cultural capital of the Islamic World. It is home to numerous historic mosques and Islamic religious establishments. Picture of Central Mosque
  • The 53-meter tall Buddha statue at Bamiyan has become a pile of debris in the empty altar. A great number of refugees use the caves on the precipice as shelters. http://www.tzuchi.org/global/silkroad/Photos/pp12.htm Compared to the size and beauty of the famous Caves of the Thousand Buddhas in Dunhuang, this place must have been at least 10 times greater at the peak of its glory. In addition to these two large Buddha statues and the thousands of caves hewn out of the cliffs that house smaller stone Buddha statues, there is also the mysterious natural beauty and the grand view of the Hindu Kush mountain range. It is no wonder that they have name this place 'The Valley of Gods' In the past, remnants of colorful paints could be seen at the top of a 55 meter altar. Now they no longer exist. Some familiar people still occupy the nearby caves, though others are new. Currently 89 households live there. We slowly walk 400 meters away to where there had been a smaller Buddha statue. It was the Shakyamuni Buddha statue described by Hsuan Tsang in his "Journey to the West". There is nothing left. We ascend the steps surrounding the statue, a difficult task because of the narrow, 60 centimeter path. Originally, people could walk up to the head of the Buddha statue. Imagine Hsuan Tsang climbing these steps 1,400 years ago. Now, one can only reach shoulder-height. The shape of the statue can be imagined from the remains one sees looking out from a little platform. Above, the observation decks that flanked the head of the statue no longer exist. http://www.tzuchi.org/global/silkroad/Route%20Story/S4_bywar.htm
  • The 53-meter tall Buddha statue at Bamiyan has become a pile of debris in the empty altar. A great number of refugees use the caves on the precipice as shelters. http://www.tzuchi.org/global/silkroad/Photos/pp12.htm Compared to the size and beauty of the famous Caves of the Thousand Buddhas in Dunhuang, this place must have been at least 10 times greater at the peak of its glory. In addition to these two large Buddha statues and the thousands of caves hewn out of the cliffs that house smaller stone Buddha statues, there is also the mysterious natural beauty and the grand view of the Hindu Kush mountain range. It is no wonder that they have name this place 'The Valley of Gods' In the past, remnants of colorful paints could be seen at the top of a 55 meter altar. Now they no longer exist. Some familiar people still occupy the nearby caves, though others are new. Currently 89 households live there. We slowly walk 400 meters away to where there had been a smaller Buddha statue. It was the Shakyamuni Buddha statue described by Hsuan Tsang in his "Journey to the West". There is nothing left. We ascend the steps surrounding the statue, a difficult task because of the narrow, 60 centimeter path. Originally, people could walk up to the head of the Buddha statue. Imagine Hsuan Tsang climbing these steps 1,400 years ago. Now, one can only reach shoulder-height. The shape of the statue can be imagined from the remains one sees looking out from a little platform. Above, the observation decks that flanked the head of the statue no longer exist. http://www.tzuchi.org/global/silkroad/Route%20Story/S4_bywar.htm
  • Hsuan Tsang crossed the Khyber Pass (bordering present day Afghanistan and Pakistan) and entered the country of Gandhara, which is now an area north of present day Pakistan. At that time it was part of northern India. It is said that before the British broadened the roads in that part of the world, the entryway to the mountain was only wide enough to allow two horses carrying cargo to go by. It was a location where bandits often appeared. Perhaps it was with the Buddha's blessings that Hsuan Tsang eventually traveled this passage without harm. When Hsuan Tsang arrived on the outskirts of India, Buddhism had already declined and Hinduism had replaced it. That was why Hsuang Tsang came across many non-Buddhists in the caves. Hsuan Tsang made his way from the Khyber Pass to the capital city of Gandhara (currently the city of Peshawar). Gandhara had been destroyed by the Hephthalites before Hsuan Tsang's arrival. Even though more than one hundred years lay between the invasion and his arrival, Hsuan Tsang could only see scenes of destruction and suffering everywhere-"the royalty relinquished emptied townships with very few residents." http://www.tzuchi.org/global/silkroad/Route%20Story/S5_india.htm
  • The pilgrims soak themselves in the Ganges River and pray to the sun in the east. Hindus believe that the river is very sacred and pure; if one can bathe in it, one will be cleansed of all crimes. If the ashes of the deceased can be cast into the river, the deceased can ascend to heaven. (Photograph by Wang Jia-fei) http://www.tzuchi.org/global/silkroad/Photos/pp16.htm After leaving the kingdom of Kasmira, modern day Kashmir, Hsuan Tsang came to the heart of Northern India, the Ganges Plain, after crossing Kulu Valley. The Ganges River began from the mountains in northwestern India. It flows southeastward and nurtures many open lands on its route that support approximately one third of India's population. Tens of millions of Hindus rely on the Ganges River as part of their religious belief. They believe that the Ganges River is the Goddess Ganga flowing from the God Shiva's hair. Hsuan Tsang traveled through the land where the Ganges River and its tributaries flowed. What he cared about the most were the various holy sites of the Buddha on the Ganges River plain and the final destination he had been longing for: Nalanda University. What Hsuan Tsang saw was a beautiful and colorful new world: People had long noses with big eyes. The men wrapped cloth around their waists and their right shoulders were left uncovered. The women wore bright dresses, or Sari, with garlands on their heads and precious jewelry on their bodies. There were members of heretical groups, who wore strange garments such as peacock feathers, those who wore skeleton necklaces, and those who were naked. People there lived in a frugal style, seldom wore shoes, brushed teeth with willow twigs, and liked to apply fragrances to their bodies. Most people farmed and grew rice, wheat vegetables and fruit. They depended mainly on cheese, sugar and all kinds of pastries and bran. Whoever ate beef or the flesh of donkeys, elephants, dogs, monkeys, or other animals, would be expelled from the city. Hsuan Tsang also mentioned that Indians paid particular attention to manners, and cared a great deal about learning and cultivation. Even people of rich families would keep traveling and become beggars in order to find the truth. They did not mind being poor. If there were people dying of old age, their family would send them to the Ganges River to drown in order to reach heaven. http://www.tzuchi.org/global/silkroad/Route%20Story/S8_arrive.htm
  • The pilgrims soak themselves in the Ganges River and pray to the sun in the east. Hindus believe that the river is very sacred and pure; if one can bathe in it, one will be cleansed of all crimes. If the ashes of the deceased can be cast into the river, the deceased can ascend to heaven. (Photograph by Wang Jia-fei) http://www.tzuchi.org/global/silkroad/Photos/pp16.htm After leaving the kingdom of Kasmira, modern day Kashmir, Hsuan Tsang came to the heart of Northern India, the Ganges Plain, after crossing Kulu Valley. The Ganges River began from the mountains in northwestern India. It flows southeastward and nurtures many open lands on its route that support approximately one third of India's population. Tens of millions of Hindus rely on the Ganges River as part of their religious belief. They believe that the Ganges River is the Goddess Ganga flowing from the God Shiva's hair. Hsuan Tsang traveled through the land where the Ganges River and its tributaries flowed. What he cared about the most were the various holy sites of the Buddha on the Ganges River plain and the final destination he had been longing for: Nalanda University. What Hsuan Tsang saw was a beautiful and colorful new world: People had long noses with big eyes. The men wrapped cloth around their waists and their right shoulders were left uncovered. The women wore bright dresses, or Sari, with garlands on their heads and precious jewelry on their bodies. There were members of heretical groups, who wore strange garments such as peacock feathers, those who wore skeleton necklaces, and those who were naked. People there lived in a frugal style, seldom wore shoes, brushed teeth with willow twigs, and liked to apply fragrances to their bodies. Most people farmed and grew rice, wheat vegetables and fruit. They depended mainly on cheese, sugar and all kinds of pastries and bran. Whoever ate beef or the flesh of donkeys, elephants, dogs, monkeys, or other animals, would be expelled from the city. Hsuan Tsang also mentioned that Indians paid particular attention to manners, and cared a great deal about learning and cultivation. Even people of rich families would keep traveling and become beggars in order to find the truth. They did not mind being poor. If there were people dying of old age, their family would send them to the Ganges River to drown in order to reach heaven. http://www.tzuchi.org/global/silkroad/Route%20Story/S8_arrive.htm
  • Hsuan Tsang, then 32 years old, finally arrived at Nalanda Temple, the best university in India. Built in the fifth century B.C., it is also considered the world's earliest university. While Hsuan Tsang was still in Bodhgaya, the monks in Nalanda Temple somehow learned that he would be arriving soon, and four monks were dispatched to receive him. When the four monks and Hsuan Tsang reached the gate of Nalanda Temple, around 200 monks and 1,000 laypeople with flags, flowers, and incense were there to welcome him. The famous Chinese monk then entered the temple with people clustering around him. Hsuan Tsang immediately went to see Abbot, who was also the president of the university. When the abbot heard that Hsuan Tsang had come from China to learn about Buddhism he was moved to tears. Nalanda was the largest of all the temples in India. Even in later periods, no other temples were built on the same scale. Nalanda gathered not only the best Buddhist monks in India, but also foreign students like Hsuan Tsang, so it was the primary center for Buddhist studies in India. We can imagine that in the 7th century, Hsuan Tsang must have walked with his gown flying in the breeze on this huge campus. His pale skin surely set him off from the Indian students. Hsuan Tsang spent five years here and became one of the top students in the temple, well-versed in over 50 sutras and commentaries. He loved to learn from his studies and to travel, so he decided to travel throughout India and seek out other famous Buddhist masters and visit many more Buddhist cities. Furthermore, he was determined to continue collecting more original Sanskrit Buddhist documents.
  • Bridge school map night asia

    1. 1. Traveling with Tripitaka along the Silk Road Bridge School Asia Map Night 2011
    2. 3. Physical Geography of China
    3. 5. Chang’an (current day Xi’an)
    4. 6. Chang’an (current day Xi’an)
    5. 7. Chang’an (current day Xi’an)
    6. 8. Jiayuguan
    7. 9. Jiayuguan
    8. 10. Jiayuguan
    9. 11. Jiayuguan
    10. 12. Dunhuang
    11. 13. Dunhuang
    12. 14. Dunhuang
    13. 15. Dunhuang
    14. 17. Turpan/Turfan
    15. 18. Turpan Depression
    16. 20. Taklamakan Desert
    17. 21. Taklamakan Desert
    18. 22. Taklamakan Desert
    19. 24. Tian Shan Mountain Range
    20. 25. Tian Shan Mountain Range
    21. 27. Tashkand (Tashkent)
    22. 28. Tashkand (Tashkent)
    23. 30. Bamiyana
    24. 31. Bamiyana
    25. 32. Khyber Pass
    26. 33. Khyber Pass
    27. 35. Ganges River
    28. 36. Ganges River
    29. 38. Nalanda
    30. 39. Nalanda
    31. 40. Works Cited <ul><li>“ Journey to the West along the Silk Road.” Tzu Chi Foundation, USA. http://www.tzuchi.org/global/silkroad/purpose.htm </li></ul>

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