Lives of Great Monks and Nuns
268pp. May 2002
Lives of Great Monks and Nuns
Translator: Li Rongxi, excepting "Vasubandhu," trans. Albert A. Dalia;
Lives of Great Monks and Nuns is a collection of five translated texts on the lives of prominent monks and nuns. A brief description of each text follows.

The Life of Asvaghosa Bodhisattva gives a brief account of how Asvaghosa was converted from Brahmanism to Buddhism by Parsva. In the history of the development of Buddhism, Asvaghosa is considered one of the founders of Mahayana Buddhism. Besides being a Buddhist theorist with significant influence on the development of Mahayana Buddhism, he was also the initiator of Buddhist chanting and hymn singing.

The Life of Nagarjuna Bodhisattva is a legendary account of the life of Nagarjuna, the well-known Mahayana scholar and founder of the Madhyamika school of Buddhism in ancient India. A native of southern India who lived in the second half of the second century C. E., Nagarjuna exerted a profound influence on the development of Buddhism in his own time and in later ages.

The Biography of Dharma Master Vasubandhu, a central figure in the development of Indian Vijnanavada thought, introduced this great Indian Buddhist master in to the Chinese Buddhist tradition. In later periods, Vasubandhu was raised to the status of a bodhisattva because of the respect he engendered among the Chinese. This biography also provides information on the development of Indian Buddhism during a crucial juncture in its history.

Baochang's Biographies of Buddhist Nuns is the only compilation of biographies of Chinese Buddhist nuns collected in one volume. The text consists of narratives about sixty-five nuns, starting with Jingjian and ending with Faxuan, and spanning two hundred and three years, from 313 to 506 C.E.. This was during the Six Dynasties period (222-589), a time when Buddhism had firmly taken root in Chinese soil and was being disseminated widely among the Chinese people.

The Journey of the Eminent Monk Faxian, also known as A record of Buddhist Countries, is an account of the travels of Faxian, who began his journey to India by land in 399 C.E. and returned to China by sea in 414. Faxian's purpose was to acquire and bring back texts on the Buddhist monastic rules and precepts (Vinaya) for Chinese monks.

BDK English Tripitaka Translation Series
Distributed for BDK America
Translator: Li Rongxi, excepting "Vasubandhu," trans. Albert A. Dalia;
Li Rongxi as translator for The Life of Asvaghosa Bodhisattva, The Life of Nagarjuna Bodhisattva, Biographies of Buddhist Nuns and The Journey of the Eminent Monk Faxian.

Albert A. Dalia as translator for Biography of Dharma Master Vasubandhu.