Hsüan-tsang ［玄奘］ (602–664) (PY Xuanzang; Genjō): A Chinese priest and a translator of Buddhist scriptures known for his travels through Central Asia and India. In 614 he entered the priesthood and studied Buddhism at Ching-t’u-ssu temple in Lo-yang. In 622 he was formally ordained and studied the vinaya, or the rules of monastic discipline, as well as Buddhist scriptures including the Nirvana Sutra and The Summary of the Mahayana under various teachers. Perplexed by the differences in their views, however, he left for India in 629 (627 according to another account) to study Buddhism in Sanskrit. He traveled throughout India visiting many teachers in search of greater understanding. At Nālandā Monastery, the greatest Buddhist monastery in India, he studied the Consciousness-Only doctrine under Shīlabhadra. Hsüan-tsang himself is said to have lectured on the Consciousness-Only doctrine before four thousand monks of the Mahayana and Hinayana traditions, and his fame spread throughout India.
In 645 Hsüan-tsang returned to China with Buddhist images and more than 650 Sanskrit Buddhist scriptures. He translated 75 Buddhist scriptures in 1,335 volumes into Chinese, including the 600-volume Great Wisdom Sutra. His work marked a new epoch in the history of the translation of sutras; and his translations and those produced thereafter are called the “new translations,” in contrast with the “old translations” done before him. He also recorded his seventeen-year journey through India and Central Asia in The Record of the Western Regions, the most comprehensive account of its kind ever written in the Orient. Hsüan-tsang, himself a follower of the Consciousness-Only school, is often regarded as the founder of the Dharma Characteristics (Fa-hsiang) and Dharma Analysis Treasury (Chü-she) schools in China. He had brought from India and translated principal texts of these two schools, including the Profound Secrets Sutra of the former and The Dharma Analysis Treasury of the latter. Among his three thousand disciples, Tz’u-en, who formally established the Dharma Characteristics school, was the most prominent and is regarded as his successor.