(Chapter 1) From ancient Silk Road to Prosperity of Suvarnabhumi in China

(Chapter 1) From ancient Silk Road to Prosperity of Suvarnabhumi in China

Connection of ancient silk road in China (Xi’an to Dunhuang) Xi’an

There are evidences about exchanges of books, religions, and cultures in Xi’an such as bell tower and drum tower which are the symbols of Xi’an’s prosperity. These are the biggest bell tower and drum tower of ancient China well maintained until present, serving as the hub of Arabian and Persian merchants and Islam propagation in the past.

The uniqueness of Muslim road is apparent, with various merchants trading with China through ancient Silk Road, in which the city is the origin of Silk Road, from China to Europe or Western world.

Along the route are major ancient sites for commerce and Buddhism, for instance, Maijichan Cave in Tianshui, Buddhism sculpture lasting for 1,600 years since Tang Dynasty, and then renovated during Sung Dynasty and Qing Dynasty. The location is the center of 3 Buddhism doctrines which are Hanzhen, Mahayana, Hinayana. The, route is referred in Chinese legendary literature, Xī yóu jì, the journey from Mainland China to Jambudvīpa (India) to find Buddhism inscription of Chinese Monk, Monk Xuanzang (referred to real people in history). Based on mural painting in Dunhuang, Monk Xuanzang travels by carrying baggage and bringing tiger. Evidences show that travel route is similar to commercial route from China to Europe and Africa. Monument of Monk Xuanzang is currently established in Lanzhou.

Researchers found evidences of religion propagation from India to Chang’an at Kumarajiva Temple, Zhangye City. This temple is influenced by Buddhist missionaries travelling through Silk .Road. Monk Kumarajiva has studied Chinese language extensively and translated Dhamma inscription. He was invited to Chang’an and designated as “Guasu” or “Chief Lecturer“, the leader of Dhamma inscription translator. Key symbol of this temple is Kumarajiva Pagoda, octagon shape, 12-storey, 32-meter height, with Relic of Monk Kumarajiva on its pinnacle.

(To be continue)