Ten Thousand Miles without a Cloud

Ten Thousand Miles without a Cloud

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Xuanzang should be known as one of the world's great heroes. His travels are legendary. He brought true Buddhism to China. 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. Sun Shuyun, herself brought up in China, was determined to follow in his footsteps, discover more about Xuanzang and restore his fame. So she retraced his journey from China to India and back. In the 8th century, crossing 110 kingdoms, he took 18 years. He opened up the east and west of Asia to each other - and to us. 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 this book lies Sun Shuyun's own personal journey towards understanding the Buddhist faith of her grandmother, recognizing also the passionate idealism of the communist beliefs of her own family and discovering her own beliefs.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 150 x 236 x 44mm | 762.05g
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Reinforced binding Reinforced binding 8
  • 0007129645
  • 9780007129645

Review Text

'10,000 miles without a cloud,' is a Buddhist saying. It signifies the search for a mind clear of doubts: a perfect title for this remarkable book on a journey of discovery and faith. Son Shuyun grew up in China during the dark night of the Cultural Revolution, when it was more important to learn the right attitudes than to study. Her father was an ardent communist and a veteran of the Long March, her grandmother (with whom she shared a room) a Buddhist. By the time Sun Shuyun reached university, she had witnessed the bitter disillusionment of both her father - for whom Mao's brand of communism had failed to deliver on its promises - and her classmates. Scarcely surprising then, given the influence of her grandmother, that she turned to Buddhism for inspiration, and specifically to Xuanzang, a true Chinese hero waiting to be rediscovered. Xuanzang lived in the seventh century AD - a golden period in Chinese history. He was a man of extraordinary qualities, who travelled from China through Central Asia to India in search of enlightenment. Sun Shuyun set out to discover what gave Xuanzang such phenomenal strength and purpose and, above all, to find a faith for herself, a faith that could replace the false god of communism. In retracing Xuanzang's steps, Sun Shuyun makes a journey, both literal and metaphorical, through four landscapes - historical, cultural, spiritual and personal. In so doing, she presents us with a vivid and fascinating insight into China and its people, past and present. Though sparsely illustrated, this is a book whose rich, descriptive language is marvellously evocative. Moving and original, it is both a fine introduction to Chinese Buddhism, and an extraordinary voyage of the soul. (Kirkus UK)show more