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Information Digest
Volume 2
January 2001

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Lalla-Ded Educational Trust
Project Zaan
Information Digest - Vol. 2

Har-van

Kashmiri Missionaries in China

Among numerous Kashmiri scholars and Buddhist monks, who carried the message of Buddhism across the difficult mountain passes to China, as stated in the Chinese texts, the following may briefly be mentioned:

1. Kumarajiva: Born at Kucha, a distant corner of Asia, educated in Buddhist scriptures in Kashmir by the Buddhist scholar Bhandhadatta, Kumarajiva, with the help of a large number of Kashmiri scholars translated Sanskrit Buddhist texts into Chinese at Kucha.  He was taken as a captive by a conquering general Lu-Kuang to the capital of a southern state called Liang. He with the assistance of Kashmiri scholars, continued to add to his fame by his missionary work. At the request of the emperor of China, he agreed to go to the capital in 401 A.D. Accompanied by a large number of Kashmiri monks and scholars, he carried on with his mission till his death in 413 A.D. Two well known Kashmiri scholars Yasa and Vimalaksha collaborated with him in his missionary work. This is believed to have started spread of Buddhism in China. He was the central figure in the missionary work till he died.

2. Sanghabuti: A Kashmiri monk reached the northern capital of China in 381 A.D. He translated some Buddhist texts like Vinayapitaka.

3. Gutamsanga: He was a great Buddhist scholar. He went from Kashmir to northern capital Chang-ngan in China in 384 A.D. He preached Buddhism there and translated a number of Sanskrit texts on Buddhism into Chinese. In 391 A.D., he went on his mission to Lu-Shan in south China. Therefrom, he went along with his other Kashmirian collaborators to Nanking.

4. Punyatrat and his pupil Dh.mp3ayasa are mentioned in the Chinese texts as great Kashmiri scholars who were associated with Kumarajiva in his work.

5. Vudhayasas was a monk of high moral sense and a scholar. He worked in collaboration with Kumarajiva and translated many Buddhist texts in Sanskrit to Chinese, including Dhirghagama and Dh.mp3aguptaka-Vinya,  two celebrated works.

6. Budhajiva: Collaborator and companion of Fa-Hien, the Chinese traveller reached south China by sea in 423 A.D. He translated some of the Sanskrit manuscripts which Fa-Hien had collected in Central Asia and India.

7. Gunav.mp3an: A prince of royal family of Kashmir, was responsible for introducing and preaching Buddhism in Java. At the invitation of the emperor of China, Gunav.mp3an travelled to Nanking, converting to Buddhism, nearly all the islands en-route. The emperor of China went out of his capital to receive him. He also built a monastery named Jalavan-Vihara for him.
 

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