Read Ten Thousand Miles Without a Cloud by Sun Shuyun Online

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Ten Thousand Miles Without a Cloud 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. His travels across Asia to bring true Buddhism back to China are legendaryTen Thousand Miles Without a Cloud 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. His travels across Asia to bring true Buddhism back to China are legendary, and 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, whose knowledge of Buddhist history has been eradicated by decades of Communist rule.Sun Shuyun was determined to follow in his footsteps, to discover more about Xuanzang and restore his fame. She decided to retrace his journey from China to India and back, an adventure that in the 8th century took Xuanzang eighteen years and led him across 118 kingdoms, an adventure that 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...

Title : Ten Thousand Miles Without a Cloud
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780007129744
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 496 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Ten Thousand Miles Without a Cloud Reviews

  • Jan-Maat
    2018-11-18 00:00

    Did you grow up watching Monkey Magic? (view spoiler)[ and if not why not - answers in less that 100 words - protractors may be used(hide spoiler)] That was what the Japanese TV version, dubbed into English of the Chinese classic Journey to the West was called. Not that we knew it was a classic of Chinese literature - instead we valued this simple tale of a Buddhist monk's journey from China to India to fetch more Buddhist scriptures back to China for the Enlightenment of the people for its frequent battles between Monkey and various demons, typically these involved Monkey flying about on a small pink cloud, or shrinking himself, or growing to giant proportions, those at least are the bits I remembered rather than the explicitly Buddhist bits. In any case, rambling slowly towards the subject of this review, Journey to the West was a novelisation of the Buddhist monk Xuanzang's (view spoiler)[ or Hsüan-tsang(hide spoiler)] journey - mostly on foot - escaping from China (view spoiler)[permission to travel abroad having been denied - an incredible thing in to my mind for any one to seriously believe that they could do (hide spoiler)], then down the Silk Road across deserts, through oasis city states, the realm of the Turkish khan, over the ruins of Buddhist Afghanistan and Pakistan which to his surprise had been devastated by the White Huns a couple of hundred of years earlier (view spoiler)[ the news cycle in those days was a fair bit slower than 24 hours (hide spoiler)], before finally turning left into India where he was to remain for a long time seeking to learn more about Buddhism - having become uncertain in China about the amounts and quality of the translated sutras available and the limitations of the schools of Buddhism in his native land.In the novelisation horses were transformed into a dragon horse, a white elephant into a giant river swimming turtle, occasional companions into the Monkey God, bandits and the blandishments of foreign rulers keen - in Xuanzang's words at any rate - to keep this exotic monk to grace their own courts into terrible demons.This transformation shows something of the nature of Buddhism in China as Sun Shuyun experienced it growing up during the Cultural revolution. It was superstition, god ridden, an opiate for the people. At home Sun Shuyun's illiterate grandmother held to her faith, using beans to say her prayers, exercising compassion for her family, teaching on the sly as we do through stories her values and morality to her Granddaughter who none the less, sided invariably. with her Father to poke fun at her faith.Impermanence is the nature of the world and change allowed Sun Shuyun to study first at Beijing university and then at Oxford in the UK (view spoiler)[ and the famous one, not the one that Jeffrey Archer went to (hide spoiler)]. In Oxford, people recognised her as Chinese and the learned among them began to say things with big smiles like 'oh, you are from China studying history, you must know about the T'ang dynasty Buddhist monk Xuanzang!'. This being ancient times, before the rise of the internet and the smart phone, her only possible response was to say 'yeeeeesss, oh is that the time! Silly me, I am forgetting my urgent appointment at the library'. In which beautiful place - a stupa to the value of learning - she discovered Xuanzang's account of his journey to India and back written perhaps as a kind of intelligence report for the Emperor of China and a biography of him written after his death by one of his fellow monks translated into French and then English during the nineteenth century. And herewith begins the subject and adventure of Sun Shuyun's book.She decides to follow Xuanzang's journey, not on foot, but by train, car, aeroplane and without Steve Martin. She stops in China's far western frontier, visits the area around the Khyber Pass, flies to India(view spoiler)[ by conventional means rather than by using a personal pink cloud (hide spoiler)] and visits Bihar in the middle of election season. At the same time her journey takes in the variety of Buddhisms that Xuanzang encountered - he was terribly keen on learning about the Yogacara school - and revisits the famous Buddhist cave sites along the Silk Road all plundered by the likes of Sir Aureal Stein(view spoiler)[ a Hungarian who later became an Englishman, due to some alchemy or other (hide spoiler)].This allows her to examine her relationship with her Grandmother, and to consider China's recent past, the historical relationship between China and India, and the role of Xuanzang in the rediscovery of India's Buddhist past.She found her one experience of walking in the desert overwhelming, so I missed her not attempting more of the journey on foot. She kept fairly faithfully to the original itinerary, and achieves an interesting balance between the personal and issues on the scale of civilisations. Equally this isn't a mix, glancing at some of the other goodreads reviews, that works for all readers. But there is something to be said for a book that sees India and China as the two opposite poles of humanity, with everybody else arranged on a spectrum between them.Ah, a final comment, the book was written in English which isn't Sun Shuyun's native language and I did wonder about her finding her own idiom and in a way the whole book is about finding an idiom - a spiritual and intellectual one that both honours and expands upon her heritage. Maybe it was just a printing error, but one town was described as 'busty' rather than the more customary, in British English at least, 'bustling'. It would be a pity if this were a mere accident, a busty town would require an architecture, materials and methods of construction all of its own, and is the kind of challenge to familiar urban spaces that one might hope to find when journeying along the Silk Road - which remains a cultural squinch, the space one has to travel across to get from a square to a circle.

  • John
    2018-11-30 01:57

    I was a bit concerned that the history would overwhelm the modern travel narrative aspect, but that didn't really happen. Good book, but not great, unless you have a specific interest in Buddhism or ancient Chinese history.

  • Mai Đức
    2018-11-28 01:22

    Đọc một quyển sách như đi ngàn dặm đường. Cuộc hành trình khám phá chính mình đã bắt đầu. Mong sao như ngài Huyền Trang không tới đích không quay đầu.

  • P
    2018-12-04 23:07

    Dù là người Công giáo nhưng tôi vẫn rất thích đọc những chuyện và người liên quan đến Phật giáo. Quyển này, thiếu một chút phong vị cá nhân của tác giả để được 4 sao đối với tôi. Hơi đáng tiếc, dù vậy chuyến đi xa và nhiều gian nan này vẫn rất đáng nhớ.

  • Hock Tjoa
    2018-12-14 06:12

    Without drama, Sun tells of her journeys to the many places that Xuan Zang, the 7th century Chinese monk made to the "West"--Central Asia (the Silk Road) and India. His story was retold with much fantasy and "paranormal" incidents in the 15th century and is regarded as one of the Four great classic novels. It could rightly be called The Monkey King, after one of the superheroes that was chosen to protect the monk on his journey. "Ten thousand miles" is the sober and sensible but fascinating story of a Chinese woman who grew up with Red Guards for parents and a grandmother who had bound feet and was a devout Buddhist. The Silk Road sounds like the Orient Express; it is not. Peshawar is said to be the epicenter of "Islamofascists": well, it is the second most important site for Buddhists. Buddhism was born in India around 600 B.C. but was much forgotten by the 19th century until an English translation of Xuan Zang's Great Tang Records on the Western Regions (referred to in this book as the "Buddhist Records of the Western World") helped British and Indian archaeologists uncover the sacred sites to which Burmese, Thai and Ceylonese Buddhists had come but failed to find. You will learn much from this book, not least about your own preconceptions about the meaning of life.

  • Shantiwallah
    2018-12-14 00:22

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book although I think you need a real interest in Buddhism and/or historical Buddhist art to enjoy it completely. The most interesting information was on the presence of Buddhism in what we would now only know of as purely Muslim areas of the world (The bombing of the giant Buddha images at Bamiyan gave the world a clue about this)and also ways in which ancient Greek and Buddhist art have been connected. When my friend read this book she was disillusioned by the author's "easy" travelling, ie. taking taxi's, when she had proposed to follow in the footsteps of the ancient monk. This didn't bother me as such, because I suppose I read this more in "information gathering" mode rather than in "adventure traveller" mode. However, the fact that the author, a Chinese-American woman, decided to follow the path of a ancient monk gave the story an interesting angle. See if you can find the connection to the old TV series, "Monkey".

  • Valerie
    2018-12-14 23:13

    This book was a pleasure. Sun retraces Xuanjang's 16 c. journey along the Silk Road from China to India. A Buddhist monk, Xuanjang wished to return to the land of Buddha's origins to recover a felt-absence in then-Chinese Buddhist practice. By retracing his famous journey, Sun is also attemoting to recapture her family's --and China's, and very nearly India's-- lost legacy of Buddhism. It's a good travel story, too, as she ventures to places most of us won't reach, such as Kyrgyzstan. If the book is not well-known, it is only because the writing style is quite simple, though not unpleasantly so. Finally, the book's appeal to me rests with my interest in the political history of Buddhism in Asia, of which it furnished a surprising amount of info. The India section was full of surprises--such as the news that had it not been for Xuanjuang and a few Brits with a passion for archeaology, the history of Buddhism would have been lost to the world.

  • Michael Bafford
    2018-12-08 00:03

    I got this from a friend who enjoyed it. I found myself wading through the beginning hoping; "when she gets to India it will get better". And it did. In China Ms. Sun had too many memories of family and of growing up during the cultural revolution. I am not really interested in modern history. Also I was disappointed that there was very little walking in Xuanzang's footsteps. A lot more travelling by train, plane and taxi. Travelling by bus was apparently gruelling. One place was unreachable as there were not enough people to form a tour group. The author's apparent sincerity is buffeted by these failures and occasionally I thought she lost her footing. Still, the ancient history is interesting as was learning of the rediscovery of Buddhism in India in the 19th Century. I had no idea it had been lost. I have wondered how it could have been so totally eradicated as to be invisible today. I got part of an answer to that. And I have to agree that Mr. Xuanzang was a wonder!

  • Marianne
    2018-12-08 00:10

    Ten Thousand Miles Without A Cloud is the first book by Sun Shuyun. It details Sun’s experience as she tries to follow in the footsteps on Xuanzang, a Buddhist monk who, in the 7th century, made a pilgrimage through Central Asia and into India, to find the original sutras of the Buddha. Xuanzang made his trip during a time of political unrest, as does Sun; both confront obstacles and both come to understand Buddhism and themselves better for their encounters with others on the way. I found myself checking how many pages left and eyeing my next read with increasing frequency as the book progressed: never a good sign! Readers interested in Buddhism would find this book informative and enjoyable; readers with less of a fascination might find it somewhat repetitive and a bit slow. All those Chinese and Indian gods and historical figures had my eyes glazing over, but I did learn a few noteworthy facts. This was not my first choice of Sun’s books: I still hope to read A Year in Tibet.

  • [Shai] The Bibliophage
    2018-11-16 23:01

    This is my first time to read a book dedicated to Buddhism. I am always fascinated on the tradition of Buddhism so I could say that it was luck or destiny when I found this book in the bookstore. I was totally clueless on Buddhism's beginning and this book enlightened me on as much as everything I want to know about it. Prior to this, I was not aware that there are different forms of Buddhism and this novel open my mind about them. The journey of Xuanzang is truly remarkable and he's really a great inspiration to Buddhist devotees to follow his devotion to the tradition and teachings. I learnt a lot from reading his biography. I truly admired his astounding perseverance and endurance on all the obstacles he faced. This incredible man in the history of Buddhism contributes a lot on compiling, fetching, transporting, translating and propagating some of the sutras. Hopefully that more Buddhists will be aware and appreciate his huge contribution.

  • planetkimi
    2018-12-10 05:11

    I picked up Ten Thousand Miles Without a Cloud looking for a perspective on the 16th century Chinese Novel Journey to the West, but I learned so much more from this fascinating book. I learned that Xuanzang was pretty much the opposite of his character in the novel, which was written nearly a thousand years after his actual journey to the West. I learned about what it was like to grow up in communist China. I learned about oases on the Silk Road both currently and in the 7th century BCE. I learned why Xuanzang is considered a hero in India, and perhaps why he's not considered to be such a big deal in modern China. I also learned that Buddhism itself can be seen as pretty subversive, which helps explain why it's fallen in and out of favor with various political units through the centuries. I loved reading every page of this thought-provoking book.

  • Nancy 'hedge'
    2018-11-29 06:16

    what a journey the Chinese have had. This may seem at times a bit tedious, but is worth the read if nothing else to understand what has happened in the recent past to form this country as it is today.

  • Princessrandom24
    2018-11-21 06:26

    If you like ancient history and/or Asian culture, this book is great! It has vivid discriptions that will make you feel like you are seeing it with your own eyes. Maybe I just say that because I have actually seen many of the places she talks about... :)

  • Briana
    2018-11-18 05:21

    A Chinese-American woman's journey to find herself - following the path of a seventh century monk along the Silk Road (China, India...)

  • Ayla
    2018-12-12 00:17

    Very engaging and intimate. I read it twice. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Chinese history and culture, Buddhism, or in just a plain good read!

  • Katie
    2018-12-09 04:13

    Great to read after having read 'Chasing the monk's shadow.' Interesting how she wove in her own search for her identity.

  • Praveen Peethambaran
    2018-11-22 21:58

    Started reading 'Ten thousand Miles without a Cloud', a interesting journey into the journey of Buddhist monk Xangzung...

  • Huy
    2018-12-13 02:14

    Đọc được vài chương và quyết định để dàng mang theo chuyến du lịch sắp tới, có lẽ rất là hợp :D13/09: Ngừng đọc vì có lẽ lúc này chưa phải lúc thích hợp để đọc, đọc mà chẳng thấy vô gì cả.

  • Nina
    2018-11-25 06:23

    Fascinating insight into the relationships between China and India over millennia as well as absorbing reflections upon spiritual beliefs, politics, and economics over generations.

  • Ann Balmforth
    2018-11-18 05:00

    Not sufficiently well written or interesting.

  • Nipun Cp
    2018-12-05 23:14

    Great Book if you want to know about history of china from a common woman's perspective. An eye opener to an Indian who is blinded by pride of nationalism

  • Savita Sharma
    2018-11-30 00:05

    Good book