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An Arab Merchant Visits TAng China  

Ibn Wahab

Ibn Wahab was an Arab merchant from Basra (Iraq) who sailed to China via the Indian Ocean around 872 CE. His travel account includes a description of his interview with the Chinese emperor. ... More

The Disposition of Error  

Mou Tzu

When Buddhism reached China it encountered an already established civilization with deeply rooted literary and intellectual traditions. In addition, the scholarly elite of China was ... More

From the Hanshu: Han Chinese Descriptions Of The Xiongnu  


The Chinese had to deal with nomadic neighbors on their northwestern frontier from an early date, and many of the patterns of that relationship were established, or at least explored, under ... More

Haedong kosŭng chŏn, on Buddhism in Korea  


The Lives of Eminent Korean Monks is a compilation of biographies of Buddhist monks from the Three Kingdoms period of Korean history (first century BCE through the tenth century CE). It ... More

Han Shu (History Of The Former Han Dynasty)  

Ban Biao and Ban Gu

This dynastic history was a continuation of the Records of the Grand Historian (Shiji), originally compiled by Sima Qian (ca. 145–86 BCE), and it repeats many of the phrases and situations ... More

Lessons For Women (Nujie)  

Ban Zhao

Ban Zhao (45–ca. 116 CE) was by far the most educated woman of her day, and she trained many important male scholars. The Han Shu (the continuation of Sima Qian’s Shiji) was originally ... More

The Lotus Sutra  


Buddhism had begun to spread widely within India after the conversion of Asoka in the third century BCE, and his promotion of the religion as part of a syncretic (a combination of elements ... More

Memorial on the Burning of Books, From The Shiji  

Li Si

Virtually no records have survived from the period between the unification of China in 221 BCE and the collapse of the Qin Empire 15 years later. Accordingly, historians are forced to rely ... More

On Effective Government  

Tang Taizong

Tang Taizong (d. 649), a founder of the Tang dynasty, was determined to create an empire that expanded upon the consolidation achieved under the Sui dynasty. The result was a large empire ... More

The Platform Scripture of The Sixth Patriarch  


This source represents an alternative path that Chinese Buddhists took in trying to establish the compatibility of their faith with the existing body of Chinese literature and culture. ... More

A Record of Buddhist Countries  


Faxien (circa 334-415 CE) was a Chinese monk who, with several companions, traveled the Silk Road to India and returned via the Indian Ocean trade route between 399 and 413 CE. Their ... More

Records of the Grand HIstorian  

Sima Qian

Sima Qian (c. 145 to after 91 BCE) is to Chinese history writing what Herodotus and Thucydides combined are to Western historical writing. A scholar and official under the Han, he began ... More

The Taika Reform Edicts  


The “Taika Reform Edicts” were issued in 645 to promote Buddhism and to clearly establish that the imperial family supported this relatively new religion. Korean missionaries officially ... More

Two Poems  

Li Bo

Tang China is known as the “golden age” of Chinese poetry and Li Bo (701-762) was one of its greatest poets. Li Bo brought an unparalleled grace and eloquence to his treatment of the ... More