The interpretation of Buddhist doctrine discussed abovethat "suffering" is really more like unhappiness or dislocation, puts forward the notion that our understanding of Dependent Origination now often called "Interdependent Arising" enables us to adjust to the world and thus live a happy and normal life. The normal in this world, which necessarily includes birth, old age, and death, is what the Buddha wanted to avoid. Because there is no substance or duration in Buddhism, the Buddhist view of karma is different from that in Hinduism or Jainism. Reincarnation thus consists in our being caused by something in the past, and our karma is simply the effect now of past actions.
Introduction Rather than provide a comprehensive history of the area or its discovery and exploration by the west, the main purpose of this section is to provide an overview that ties together my books and reading on these topics.
It is as much for my own benefit as for any third party reader. It is a guide which is hopefully easier to navigate than a list of book titles.
If you want to go deeper into the history of exporation in China and Tibet, then I highly recommend the complementary pages of Matthias Claus on "Reisen und Abenteuer in China und Tibet. One page is a comprehensive annotated chronology of exploration of China and Tibet from -and the other covers the same material, but is organized alphabetically, by person.
These pages are in German. I also highly recommend spending time on the web site of the British Library. See for example the Aid for Researchers page and associated links on Afghanistan: Since the topic is so broad, it is difficult to recommend any single book that covers the literature or the scope of my interests.
One notable exception, however, is Cameron's volume, produced in association with the Royal Geographical Society: Mountains of the Gods: The Himalaya and the Mountains of Central Asia.
If you only buy one book to cover what follows and it is affordablethis might be it.
Chinese Travelers More than a thousand years before Younghusband made his famous overland trip from Beijing, over the Karakoram to India, Chinese travelers had made the trip, often with far fewer resources and knowledge. In the process, they laid the foundation for what was called by the German orientalist, Baron Ferdinand von Richthofen, "the Silk Road.
His travel established the first link between India and China. In 68 AD, Mingdi, the second Emperor of the Han Dynasty, reputedly dreamt of a golden god in the west, and as a result dispatched a delegation of 18 headed by Cai Yin, Qin Jing and Wang Zunwho returned 3 years later with images of the Buddha.
Through this process Buddhism was introduced to China. He returned by sea, via Ceylon and Sumatra, reaching China in He was a Buddhist monk who in went on a 10, mile pilgrimage from central China to India in order to study Buddhist manuscripts in their original form.
His trip is covered in books by Grousset and Wriggins. Shortly after, the diplomat Wang Xuan-ce traveled to India and Nepal, and established for the first time, the shorter but more difficult route of the passes into Nepal, rather than the longer route through the Pamirs.
And, on a larger scale, in the Chinese general Gao Xianzhi Kao Hsien-chih led an army from China into Yasin and Gilgit, where he defeated the Tibetans and checked the spread of Islam over the passes of the Pamirs.
One book which covers the culture and history of Buddhism in the 7th century is Grousset's, In the Footsteps of the Buddha. Another source for the history of the Silk Road, and travel from China, along the Silk Road, can be found in the various books by, and about, the archeaological explorations of the region.
Perhaps the best known archaeologist working in this area was Sir Aurial Stein. While I do not yet have any of his books, a list of some of the key ones can be found in the entry for him on my Dramatis Personae page.
As well, his activities are well covered in the two biographies of him that I have, one by Mirskythe other by Walker.THE BASIC TEACHINGS OF BUDDHISM. Ah, love, let us be true To one another!
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