This is a beautifully written account of Sun Shuyun's journey to retrace the steps of one of the most popular figures in Chinese history - the monk Xuanzang, who travelled to India searching for true Buddhism.
Xuanzang should be known as one of the world's great heroes. In the eighth century, he crossed 110 kingdoms in 18 years to reach India from China. On his return he brought true Buddhism to China. He opened up the east and west of Asia to each other - and to us. His own book provides a unique record of the history and culture of his time. Yet he is unknown to most of us and even to most Chinese, because of the suppression of Buddhism in China in the last 50 years.
Sun Shuyun, herself brought up in China, was determined to follow in his footsteps, discover more about Xuanzang and restore his fame. She retraced his journey from China to India and back. A man of great faith and determination, Xuanzang won the hearts of kings and robbers with his teaching, his charm and his indomitable will. Against all odds he persuaded the Confucian emperors to allow Buddhism to flourish in China.
At the heart of the book lies Sun Shuyun's own personal journey towards understanding the Buddhist faith of her grandmother, recognising also the passionate idealism of the communist beliefs of her own family and discovering her own beliefs.