Hsuan-tsang stands out as a pilgrim-scholar, master-translator, epic hero of Chinese narrative literature, and as the most outstanding source for the history and archaeology, philosophy and geography, of India, Central Asia and China. His 'Record' has been translated and annotated in full and several times. His 'Life' written by his direct disciples Hui-Li and Yen-ts'ung was summarised in French by S. Julien in 1853. Its first half was translated into English by Samuel Beal in 1888, but the second half was just summarised. As late as 1951, the famous British sinologist Arthur Waley regretted: "... almost everything European writers have said about him is taken, directly or indirectly, from an incomplete or very imperfect French translation of his biography by Stanislas Julien, published nearly a hundred years ago."
Mr. Li Yung-hsi was the first Chinese scholar to translate the complete ten chapters of the 'Life' of Hsuan-tsang into English. They were published in 1959 by The Chinese Buddhist Association, Peking. This translation presents the personality of the Master in vivid terms. It is a fresh and lively narrative that captures the ambience of the master and his disciple-biographers. It contains interesting correspondence between Hsuan-tsang and Indian teachers Jnanaprabha and Prajnadeva. It is reproduced in this volume by the gracious permission of Mrs. Zhang Hui Ji, the wife of late Mr. Li Yung-hsi. It differs in details from the renderings of Beal and is an important work to be compared with the earlier translation. The limpid flow of the language gives a flavour of the Chinese style and a first-hand account by the disciples of Hsuan-tsang who were witnesses to his strenuous efforts. This translation is a valuable addition to literature on Buddhism, Hsuan-tsang and the Silk Route. It will deepen our knowledge of the history of a seminal period.
This edition is published after fresh type-setting with Index.