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XUANZANG (HSUAN-TSANG; Chinese : 玄奘; pinyin : Xuánzàng) is a central character in the novel Journey to the West
Journey to the West
by Wu Cheng\'en . The character is based on the historical Buddhist monk Xuanzang
Xuanzang
.

He is mainly referred to as TANG SANZANG in the novel. The title Sanzang refers to his mission to seek the Sanzangjing, or the "Three Collections of (Buddhist) Scriptures". In some English translations of Journey to the West, the title is rendered as TRIPITAKA which is the original Sanskrit term for the Sanzangjing. He is also widely known as TANG SENG, which is a courtesy name that, like the former name, Tang Sanzang, reflects his status as an oath brother of Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
.

CHARACTER DESCRIPTION

In the novel, Xuanzang
Xuanzang
is a Chinese Buddhist monk who had renounced his family to join the Sangha from childhood. He is actually a reincarnation of Golden Cicada (simplified Chinese: 金蝉子; traditional Chinese: 金蟬子; pinyin: Jīn Chánzǐ), a disciple of the Buddha . He is sent on a mission to Tianzhu (an ancient Chinese name for India
India
) to fetch a set of Buddhist scriptures back to China for the purpose of spreading Buddhism in his native land. He becomes sworn brothers with Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
, and the emperor sees him off from the capital Chang\'an and orders two escorts to accompany him.

Xuanzang
Xuanzang
is helpless in defending himself and his two escorts are killed during his first encounter with demons after his departure from Chang'an. The bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara
Avalokiteśvara
( Guanyin
Guanyin
) helps Xuanzang find three powerful supernatural beings – Sun Wukong
Sun Wukong
, Zhu Bajie
Zhu Bajie
and Sha Wujing
Sha Wujing
– to aid and protect him on his journey. The three become Xuanzang's disciples and will receive enlightenment and redemption for their past sins once the pilgrimage is complete. Along the journey, Xuanzang
Xuanzang
is constantly terrorised by monsters and demons because of a legend which says that one can attain immortality by consuming his flesh because he is a reincarnation of a holy being.

At the end of the novel, Xuanzang
Xuanzang
is appointed as the Buddha of Sandalwood Merit (Chinese : 旃檀功德佛; pinyin : Zhāntán Gōngdé Fú).

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Xuanzang
Xuanzang
is modeled after the historical Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
Buddhist monk of the same name , whose life was the book's inspiration; the real Xuanzang
Xuanzang
made a perilous journey on foot from China to India
India
(and back) to obtain Buddhist sutras .

In contrast to the historical Xuanzang, a wise and learned scholar (he was in his late 20s when he left for India), the fictional Xuanzang
Xuanzang
is presented as a young monk who is extremely naive, showing idealistic compassion without wisdom. Xuanzang
Xuanzang
is usually quick to fall for the facades of demons who have disguised themselves as innocent humans, whereas Sun Wukong
Sun Wukong
can see through them with his magic powers (specifically fire eyes that can see through the said disguises). This frequently leads to tension when Sun Wukong
Sun Wukong
attacks and kills apparently innocent humans when the demon has in fact simply abandoned the corpse and run away. One such popular instance was when the White Bone Demon (白骨夫人, Chinese: Bai Gu Fu Ren) disguised three times as family members — first, a young woman. After Wukong "killed" the woman, the demon escaped, but Wukong was punished by Xuanzang
Xuanzang
for it. The second was the young woman's elderly mother, looking for her daughter. The third was the young woman's elderly father, searching for his wife and child. Upon the "death" of the father by Wukong's hands, Wukong finally killed the demon before she got away. Xuanzang, convinced that Wukong had actually killed three innocent people, sent him away, despite protests. Xuanzang
Xuanzang
usually punishes him by chanting the words of the headache spell (緊箍咒) given to Xuanzang
Xuanzang
by the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara
Avalokiteśvara
( Guanyin
Guanyin
) to control Wukong, which causes the latter's headband to contract and give him acute headaches.

As Sun Wukong
Sun Wukong
is often worshiped as a protector god, so is Xuanzang. Ksitigarbha
Ksitigarbha
, a highly revered bodhisattva in East Asian Buddhism , is occasionally mistaken for Xuanzang
Xuanzang
because the former is often portrayed like Xuanzang
Xuanzang
- dressed in a similarly-patterned kasaya , wearing a Buddhist crown, and wielding a khakkhara .

REFERENCES

* v * t * e

Wu Cheng\'en 's Journey to the West
Journey to the West

CHARACTERS

* Sun Wukong
Sun Wukong
* Xuanzang * Zhu Bajie
Zhu Bajie
* Sha Wujing
Sha Wujing
* Red Boy
Red Boy
* Baigujing
Baigujing
* Princess Iron Fan
Princess Iron Fan
* Others

FILMS

* The Cave of the Silken Web (1927) * Princess Iron Fan
Princess Iron Fan
(1941) * Alakazam the Great
Alakazam the Great
(1960) * Havoc in Heaven (1961) * Princess Iron Fan
Princess Iron Fan
(1966) * The Cave of the Silken Web (1967) * Doraemon: Nobita\'s Parallel "Journey to the West" (1988) * A Chinese Odyssey
A Chinese Odyssey
(1995) * A Chinese Tall Story
A Chinese Tall Story
(2005) * Saiyūki (2007) * Monkey King vs. Er Lang Shen
Monkey King vs. Er Lang Shen
(2007) * The Forbidden Kingdom
The Forbidden Kingdom
(2008) * Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons (2013) * The Monkey King (2014) * Monkey
Monkey
King: Hero Is Back (2015) * The Monkey King 2 (2016) * A Chinese Odyssey
A Chinese Odyssey
Part Three (2016) * Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back (2017) * Wu Kong
Wu Kong
(2017) * The Monkey King 3 (2018) * Journey to the West
Journey to the West
(TBA)

SEQUELS

* A Supplement to the Journey to the West
Journey to the West
(c. 1640)

TV

* Gokū no Daibōken (1967) * Monkey
Monkey
(1978) * Science Fiction Saiyuki Starzinger
Starzinger
(1978) * Journey to the West
Journey to the West
(1986 and 1999) * Journey to the West
Journey to the West
(1996) * Journey to the West
Journey to the West
II (1996) * Monkey
Monkey
Magic (1998) * Journey to the West
Journey to the West
– Legends of the Monkey King (1999) * Shinzo (2000) * Sunny Piggy
Sunny Piggy
(2000) * The Monkey King (2001) * The Monkey
Monkey
King: Quest for the Sutra
Sutra
(2002) * Saiyūki (2006) * Wu Cheng\'en and Journey to the West
Journey to the West
(2010) * Journey to the West
Journey to the West
(2010) * Journey to the West
Journey to the West
(2011) * Hwayugi (2017) * The Legend of Monkey (2018)

STAGE

* Monkey: Journey to the West
Journey to the West
(play)

MANGA AND COMICS

* Dragon Ball
Dragon Ball
* Saiyūki * Patalliro Saiyuki * Monkey
Monkey
Typhoon * Saint * The Monkey King * Xin * American Born Chinese
American Born Chinese

GAMES

* Ether Saga Online * Enslaved: Odyssey to the West * Fantasy Westward Journey * Ganso Saiyūki: Super Monkey
Monkey
Daibōken * Legend of Wukong * Monkey
Monkey
Hero * Monkey
Monkey
Magic * Saiyuki: Journey West * SonSon
SonSon
* Westward Journey Online II * Whomp \'Em * Yūyūki
Yūyūki

LITERATURE

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