Crossing the river of flowing sands

a comparison of the journeys of Xuan Zang and Sir Aural Stein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This paper contrasts the journeys of two individuals: the seventh century Chinese Buddhist monk Xuan Zang (circa 596-664 CE), the pilgrim par excellence, who traveled from China through Central Asia and India to see the sacred traces and seek the dharma; and secondly, the nineteenth century Hungarian-British archaeologist-explorer Sir Aural Stein (1862-1943 CE) who passed, in the opposite direction to Xuan Zang, from British India into Chinese Central Asia on his own scholarly pilgrimage of scientific discovery. It is hoped that through the unlikely act of contrasting a famous and classic pilgrimage from one of the great traditions with the secular (but, as I will argue existentially significant and in no way mundane) journeying of a modern European scholar, that the limits of the idea of pilgrimage will be tested and some insight into the nature of the religious experience of pilgrims arrived at.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThrough a glass darkly
Subtitle of host publicationreflections on the sacred
EditorsFrances Di Lauro
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherSydney University Press
Pages165-185
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9781920898540
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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  • Cite this

    Droogan, J. (2006). Crossing the river of flowing sands: a comparison of the journeys of Xuan Zang and Sir Aural Stein. In F. Di Lauro (Ed.), Through a glass darkly: reflections on the sacred (pp. 165-185). Australia: Sydney University Press.