A Journey on the path of Xuanzang
Thursday, 9 March 2006
Hong Kong Football Club, Causeway Bay Drinks 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm
We are delighted to welcome to Hong Kong Mishi Saran to lecture on her extraordinary journey following the path of Xuanzang from Xian to western China's Xinjiang, across Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia, through what used to be called "Gandhara" in Pakistan and around India. In the seventh century AD, the Chinese monk Xuanzang embarked on an epic journey to India to study Buddhist philosophy from the Indian masters. Travelling along the Silk Road, through the desolate wastes of the Gobi desert and the icy passes of Central Asia, braving brigands and blizzards, Xuanzang finally reached India, where his spiritual quest took him to Buddhist holy places and monasteries throughout the subcontinent.
By the time he returned to China eighteen years later, carrying with him nearly 600 scriptures which he translated from Sanskrit into Chinese, Xuanzang had covered an astonishing 10,000 miles. He also left a detailed record of his journey, which remains a valuable source of historical information on the regions he traversed. Fifteen hundred years later, Mishi Saran followed Xuanzang's route to the fabled oasis cities of China and Central Asia, and the Buddhist sites and now-vanished kingdoms in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan that Xuanzang wrote about.
Travelling seamlessly back and forth in time between the seventh century and the twenty-first, Ms Saran's lecture uncovers the past with consummate skill and describes the present through vivid and engaging descriptions of people and places. Her gripping chronicle of the journey, from May 2000 to August 2001, includes an extraordinary eyewitness account of Kabul under the Taliban regime, just one month before 11/9/01. The lecture is an interesting mix of lively reportage, high adventure and historical inquiry.
Ms Saran is a freelance journalist who has written for the Far Eastern Economic Review, International Herald Tribune, the Asian Wall Street Journal, Time, Reuters News Agency, Knight-Ridder Financial News, Asiaweek, the London School of Economics and the Kyodo News Agency. She has won awards from Wellesley College, the Hong Kong Government Arts Development Council, Johns Hopkins University, Nanjing, and the South China Morning Post. She was educated at Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Centre for Chinese and American Studies, Columbia University, School of Journalism, Wellesley College and Jakarta International School.
Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this lecture, which is HK$50 for Members, HK$100 for Members' guests and HK$150 for others.