In T'ang China
By Edwin O. Reischauer
About the Book
This book, a reconstruction of daily life and ways of thought in China during the ninth century, is based on an extensive travel diary of that time. The diarist Ennin was a Japanese Buddhist monk who went to China in AD 838 in search of new Buddhist texts and further enlightenment in his faith. While journeying through North China, and living in Ch’ang-an, he recorded in detail what he saw and experienced.
Edwin O. Reischauer presents—often in Ennin’s own words—a series of vignettes of various aspects of life in the Far East in medieval times: embassies and the conduct of international relations, the hazards of sea travel, Ennin’s entanglements with the Chinese bureaucracy, life in the cities and the countryside, travel and economic conditions, commerce as carried on by Korean merchants, secular and religious festivals, Buddhism and its cults, rituals, and monastery life. The reader accompanies Ennin on a pilgrimage to the holy Mt. Wu-t’ai, and lives through China’s greatest religious persecution, which Ennin personally experienced from beginning to end, before he returned to Japan in 847.
The perfect companion for the reader of Ennin’s Diary, Ennin’s Travels serves as perhaps the most accurate and detailed account of the extraordinary civilization that flourished in China more than a thousand years ago. Unavailable for years, it is Angelico’s pleasure to bring this important work, with a new foreword by Valerie Hansen, to the modern reader.