Sunday, May 8, 2016

Snippets from my forthcoming book (1), A Journey Impossible, Book I, Destination India

When Ch’en Yi was at a tender age of four (in year 604 CE), he lost his mother and became devoid of maternal love. Within another five years (in year 609), his father also died, making him and his brothers orphans. We can imagine a forlorn nine year old child, absolutely clueless about his future. Though his father has been a conservative Confucian, his mother has been a Buddhist. It is possible that at bed time, she might have told him Buddhist Jataka tales at his tender young age. It is likely that this might have created certain liking or softness in his mind for the new religion.
In the meantime, Ch’en Yi’s second eldest brother Ch’en-tsi had already joined the Buddhist faith and was ordained in a monastery in Luoyang. We can therefore imagine the 9 year old Ch’en Yi, in his confused and bewildered state of mind after loss of his father, deciding that following his brother’s footsteps, was the only choice left for him. A monastery would provide him safety, security and good education. We may never know the commotion and emotional turbulence, this child must have gone through, but it appears that finally he decided to follow his elder brother, who considering Ch’en Yi’s willingness, took him to his convent in Luoyang and initiated him in the method and practice of the sacred Books of Buddhism
Like any other new entrant, Ch’en Yi must have been then asked to discard his old clothes, given a new robe and asked to kneel down so that an elderly monk could shave his head. After all this was over, he was ordained as a novice to Buddhist fold and was given a new name with which he would start his life as a monk.
His new name was Xuan Zhang, a name that would remain immortal, forever in human history.

8th May 2016

No comments:

Post a Comment