Ennin's Diary: The Record of A Pilgrimage To China in Search of The Law

The Record of a Pilgrimage to China in Search of the Law (入唐求法巡禮行記, nittō guhō junreikōki?) is a four volume diary written by Ennin, a Japanese Buddhist monk in China during the ninth century. He was one of eight Japanese Buddhists who studied in China at that time. He wrote his diary while he went on a Buddhist pilgrimage to China for nine and a half years (838-847). The books are translated into English as two volumes by Professor Edwin O. Reischauer of Harvard University under the title Ennin's Diary: The Record of a Pilgrimage to China in Search of the Law (Ronald Press, New York: 1955) and Ennin's Travels in T'ang China. The first volume is a translation of Ennin’s Diary. The second volume, a discussion of Ennin's travels, includes materials from other sources.

Ennin's travel books are precious as historical sources, although they have some errors. His book was the first written document about China and its life by a foreigner. He did not write an evaluation of what he saw, but rather wrote about religious matters and Chinese life under the Tang Dynasty. His diary is a good source on the practice of popular Buddhism in China. He described ceremonies as well. He brought back many sutras and mandalas to Japan. He struggled in his travel during the Tang’s persecution of Buddhism (842-846).

Another contribution on his books was about Korea, which records details of Korea's active trade with Northeastern China. Korean had a dominant role in trade between East China, Korea, and Japan.

Famous quotes containing the words search, law, china, record and/or pilgrimage:

    So often has my judgment deceived me in my life, that I always suspect it, right or wrong,—at least I am seldom hot upon cold subjects. For all this, I reverence truth as much as any body; and ... if a man will but take me by the hand, and go quietly and search for it ... I’ll go to the world’s end with him:MBut I hate disputes.
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    Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve, I’ve dreamed of havin’ my own things about me. My spinet over there and a table here. My own chairs to rest upon and a dresser over there in that corner, and my own china and pewter shinin’ about me.
    Frank S. Nugent (1908–1965)

    A wellborn mind that is practiced in dealing with people makes itself thoroughly agreeable by itself. Art is nothing else but the list and record of the productions of such minds.
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    “Come hither, Son,” I heard Death say;
    “I did not will a grave
    Should end thy pilgrimage today,
    But I, too, am a slave!”
    Thomas Hardy (1840–1928)