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Embassy of India
Press release

Kumarajiva Sutra Yatra & Seminar

Shri Tarun Vijay, former Member of Parliament & Chairman, National Monuments Authority, Ministry of Culture, Government of India and Shri Tejasvi Surya, Member of Parliament, have in collaboration with Sichuan University recently undertaken a ‘Kumarajiva Sutra Yatra’ (Kumarajiva’s Scripture Journey) retracing the footsteps of the great Buddhist Monk Kumarajiva in China. During the course of the Yatra, they visited important places in China connected with Kumarajiva, including the Kumarajiva Temple at Dunhuang, Wuwei in Gansu and Caotang Temple in Xi’an.

Kumarajiva, a Buddhist monk and scholar of Indian heritage who lived during the 4th - 5th centuries AD, is known as one of the greatest translators of Buddhist Sutras (scriptures) in ancient China.  Famed for his encyclopedic knowledge of Vedantic and Buddhist learning, Kumarajiva translated many Buddhist scriptures from Indian languages including Sanskrit into Chinese. This enabled the spread of Buddhist ideas in China and the rest of East Asia. Kumarajiva personified the cultural connect which runs deep between the two ancient civilizations of India and China, and served as a bridge of friendship and knowledge between the two nations.

Taking place as India and China approach the 70th Anniversary of diplomatic relations, the Kumarajiva Sutra Yatra culminated with a seminar on 17 November 2019 organized by Embassy of India, Beijing. The theme of the seminar was Kumarajiva and his contribution to India and China friendship. The seminar centred around remarks by Shri Tarun Vijay and Prof Yan Shijing of Sichuan University. 

During the seminar Shri Tarun Vijay spoke about the contribution of Kumarajiva in spreading Buddha’s message of compassion and brotherhood in China, and also the ancient roots of scholarly interaction between the two countries. In this context, he referred to another famous Buddhist monk from India, Bodhidarma, who travelled to China from Tamil Nadu in the 6th century AD.  Prof. Yan Shijing and research scholar Ge Weijun, (formerly of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences) also spoke on the life and contribution of Kumarajiva to Buddhist learning in China.