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Wu Cheng’en wrote his novel, A Journey to the West, in the Ming Dynasty, in the 1500s AD. It’s a fictionalized version of the true story of the Buddhist monk Xuanzang. Xuanzang broke Chinese law and traveled to India to find out more about Buddhism. He studied at the great university at Nalanda in the T’ang Dynasty, in the 600s AD.

Like other books written at this time, the Journey to the West (also known as Monkey) reflects the enormous influence of Central Asia and India on medieval and early modern China.

Learn by doing: visit a Buddhist gathering or temple
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