I-Tsing, Chinese Buddhist Monk in Indonesian Historiography


INDEPHEDIA.com - I-Tsing (Yijing or I Ching) is one of the figures who played a major role in Indonesian historiography. I-Tsing, one of the three famous pilgrims from China. His predecessors Fa Xian and Xuan Zang.

His legendary travel notes have become a source for researchers in uncovering the Srivijaya Kingdom and the development of Buddhism in the archipelago in the 7th century AD.

I-Tsing monk from China who is known as an explorer and translator of Buddhist texts. He traveled by sea to India via the Silk Road to obtain Buddhist texts in Sanskrit.

In 671 AD, Yi Jing departed from Guangzhou. After sailing for 20 days, he landed at Fo-shi (Sriwijaya). He stayed for six months to study Sabdavidya or Sanskrit grammar.

After getting what he was looking for, I-Tsing then brought the Buddhist texts in Sanskrit back to China and translated them into Chinese. He lived at the Xi Ming Temple for some time in Chang'an, the capital of the Tang Dynasty.

Records of his travels in the 7th century are an important source for the history of medieval kingdoms along the sea route between China and India.

During his voyage from China to India to deepen Buddhism, I-Tsing had lived in the Sriwijaya Kingdom for quite a long time.

On his first trip, he spent six months in Srivijaya and two months in Malayu on his way to India in 671. Then, on his second trip he spent ten years in Srivijaya (685-695).

Not only in Sumatra, I-Tsing also spent three years on the island of Java (664/5 – 667/8). It was here on the island of Java that he translated a sutra, probably from the Hinayana school, on the great Nirvana. The translation was assisted by a Javanese expert named Jnabhadra.

Throughout his life, I-Tsing is thought to have translated tens or even hundreds of Buddhist texts from Sanskrit into Mandarin.

Several Buddhist texts have been translated by I-Tsing (Yijing or I Ching), including Avadana (Stories of Virtue), Saravanabhava Vinaya and Suvarnaprabhascottamaraja-sutra, (The Sutra of the Most Exalted King). (*)

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