Kumarajiva

(redirected from Kumaarajiiva)
Kumārajīva
BirthplaceKashmir, India
Occupation
Buddhist monk, scholar, and translator
Known for Translation of Buddhist texts written in Sanskrit to Chinese.

Kumarajiva

(ko͞omär`əjĭvə), 344–413, Buddhist scholar and missionary, b. Kucha, in what is now Xinjiang, China. When his mother, a Kuchean princess, became a nun, he followed her into monastic life at the age of seven. He grew up in centers of Hinayana BuddhismBuddhism
, religion and philosophy founded in India c.525 B.C. by Siddhartha Gautama, called the Buddha. There are over 300 million Buddhists worldwide. One of the great world religions, it is divided into two main schools: the Theravada or Hinayana in Sri Lanka and SE Asia, and
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, but he was converted to Mahayana Buddhism in his teens and became a specialist in MadhyamikaMadhyamika
[Skt.,=of the middle], philosophical school of Mahayana Buddhism, based on the teaching of "emptiness" (see sunyata) and named for its adherence to the "middle path" between the views of existence or eternalism and nonexistence or nihilism.
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 philosophy. In 383, Chinese forces seized Kucha and carried Kumarajiva off to China. From 401 he was at the Ch'in court in the capital Chang'an (the modern Xi'an), where he taught and translated Buddhist scriptures into Chinese. More than 100 translations are attributed to him. Of these only about 24 can be authenticated, but they include some of the most important titles in the Chinese Buddhist canon. Kumarajiva's career had an epoch-making influence on Chinese Buddhist thought, not only because he made available important texts that were previously unknown, but also because he did much to clarify Buddhist terminology and philosophical concepts. He and his disciples established the Chinese branch of the Madhyamika, known as the San-lun, or "Three Treatises" school.

Kumarajiva

 

Born circa A.D. 344; died circa A.D. 413. Commentator and translator of Buddhist books into Chinese.

Kumarajiva was born in eastern Turkestan. He studied in India under the famous Buddhists of the time, learing Old Indian literature, astronomy, and mathematics. From 383 to 413 he lived in China, where he preached Buddhism. Kumarajiva’s literary legacy numbers several hundred works, including translations into Chinese of Buddhist religious and philosophical books, commentaries on the works, translations of Old Indian literature, original treatises on Buddhism, and biographies of Old Indian poets.

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