Hsuan-Tsang (596-664) (Xuan Zang) : One of the foremost translators of Chinese Buddhist texts and a great enlightened master in his own right. He lived during the early Tang Dynasty, a golden age for Buddhism in China. During his early years as a monk in China he became aware of a number of doctrinal controversies concerning the Mahayana teachings, particularly those of the Yogachara. He then decided to journey to India to resolve his own doubts and to bring back authoritative texts that would help establish the correct teachings in China.
After his fourteen (or according to some, seventeen) year journey, he established a translation bureau under imperial patronage. He succeeded in translating the major Yogachara texts as well as many others. His teachings and translations served as the foundation for what was considered the orthodox Consciousness-Only School in China. His most famous work is the Treatise on Consciousness-Only which is a commentary on Vasubandhu's Thirty Verses on Consciousness Only (Trimsika), a commentary on his half-brother Asanga's Treatise on the Stages of Yogic Practice (Yogachara Bhumi Shastra). Hsuan-tsang's travels to India became the basis for the Chinese classic Journey to the West.
A famous translator in Chinese Buddhism, next to Kumarajiva. He translated more scriptures than any other translators, such as:
Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra, i.e. Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra ( ), 600 fasicles translated in 660-663 A.D.
Vijnaptimatratasiddhi-shastra (Treatise on the Establishment of the Doctrine of Mere Consciousness) ( ), 10 fasciles translated in 659 A.D.
Mahayanabhidharma-samucchaya (collection of the Mahaya Abhidharma) ( ), 7 fasciles in 652 A.D.
Mahayanabhidharma-samucchaya-vyakhya (Exeglsis on the collection of the Mahayana Abhidhin), 16 fasciles in 646 A.D.
Mahayanasamgraha (comprehensive Treatise on Mahayana Buddhism) ( ), 3 fasciles in 648-649 A.D.
Hsuan-tsang was born into a family of scholars near Loyang ( ), but his father did not want to serve the new king, then became poor. In order to make a living, Tsuan-tsang followed the step of his elder brother to become ordained monk when he was a child.
However, when he was eleven, he was able to read the Vimalakirti Sutra, the Lotus Sutra, etc. He was brought up at Hui-jih Temple in Loyang. Later, he went to Chuang-yen Temple in Chang-an in search of better teachers, but in vain. Because of famine, Tsuan-tsang settled in Szechuan Province and continued his study in Buddhism. He kept on seeking for better teachers, but found no more outstanding scholars.
see also; Xuanzang