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5. Why was Xuanzang’s journey to India so important?

This lesson builds on students’ knowledge of the religious nature of life under the Tang Dynasty.

Here focusing on the incredible, 17-year long journey undertaken by Chinese monk Xuanzang in the early 600s.

Xuanzang was keen to develop his understanding of ‘original’ Buddhist teachings, and journeyed across Asia – spending many years in India in particular – meeting Buddhists and non-Buddhists, and recording his observations in a series of diaries.

To help students conceptualise Xuanzang’s journey, they first plot the key stages of his trip on to a map – before delving more deeply into the importance of Xuanzang’s journey and the discoveries he made on it.

A final task challenges students to apply their knowledge, as they ‘relocate’ a Xuanzang memorial to a site on Xuanzang’s journey, justifying their decisions and designing a plaque to help outline Xuanzang’s importance.

A great enquiry for developing students’ understanding of significance, getting them to think really carefully about what makes a person or event important.

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  • Lesson presentation: PowerPoint
  • Lesson write-up: PDF
  • Worksheet 1 – 3: PDF

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