Journeys on the Silk Road: A Desert Explorer, Buddha's Secret Library, and the Unearthing of the World's Oldest Printed Book

Journeys on the Silk Road A Desert Explorer Buddha s Secret Library and the Unearthing of the World s Oldest Printed Book When a Chinese monk broke into a hidden cave in he uncovered one of the world s great literary secrets a time capsule from the ancient Silk Road Inside scrolls were piled from floor to ceiling

  • Title: Journeys on the Silk Road: A Desert Explorer, Buddha's Secret Library, and the Unearthing of the World's Oldest Printed Book
  • Author: Joyce Morgan Conrad Walters
  • ISBN: 9780762782970
  • Page: 144
  • Format: Hardcover
  • When a Chinese monk broke into a hidden cave in 1900, he uncovered one of the world s great literary secrets a time capsule from the ancient Silk Road Inside, scrolls were piled from floor to ceiling, undisturbed for a thousand years The gem within was the Diamond Sutra of AD 868 This key Buddhist teaching, made 500 years before Gutenberg inked his press, is the world When a Chinese monk broke into a hidden cave in 1900, he uncovered one of the world s great literary secrets a time capsule from the ancient Silk Road Inside, scrolls were piled from floor to ceiling, undisturbed for a thousand years The gem within was the Diamond Sutra of AD 868 This key Buddhist teaching, made 500 years before Gutenberg inked his press, is the world s oldest printed book The Silk Road once linked China with the Mediterranean It conveyed merchants, pilgrims and ideas But its cultures and oases were swallowed by shifting sands Central to the Silk Road s rediscovery was a man named Aurel Stein, a Hungarian born scholar and archaeologist employed by the British service Undaunted by the vast Gobi Desert, Stein crossed thousands of desolate miles with his fox terrier Dash Stein met the Chinese monk and secured the Diamond Sutra and much The scroll s journey by camel through arid desert, by boat to London s curious scholars, by train to evade the bombs of World War II merges an explorer s adventures, political intrigue, and continued controversy The Diamond Sutra has inspired Jack Kerouac and the Dalai Lama Its journey has coincided with the growing appeal of Buddhism in the West As the Gutenberg Age cedes to the Google Age, the survival of the Silk Road s greatest treasure is testament to the endurance of the written word.

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    One thought on “Journeys on the Silk Road: A Desert Explorer, Buddha's Secret Library, and the Unearthing of the World's Oldest Printed Book”

    1. We look askance today at what was done in the 19th century in the name of empire and world-wide dominion. The European powers engaged in the Great Game of colonial expansion felt free to wander the globe appropriating whole countries, peoples and natural resources to enhance their political and economic power. By the same token, they swallowed up whole cultural heritages, plundering, crating up, and shipping artifacts back to the great museums in Paris, St. Petersburg, Berlin, London, and other [...]

    2. Description: When a Chinese monk broke into a hidden cave in 1900, he uncovered one of the world’s great literary secrets: a time capsule from the ancient Silk Road. Inside, scrolls were piled from floor to ceiling, undisturbed for a thousand years. The gem within was the Diamond Sutra of AD 868. This key Buddhist teaching, made 500 years before Gutenberg inked his press, is the world’s oldest printed book.The Silk Road once linked China with the Mediterranean. It conveyed merchants, pilgrim [...]

    3. 3.5 I am not very familiar with Buddhism, but my son recently went on a ten day Buddhist retreat, and no he is not becoming a Buddhist but he wanted to get deeper into the practice of meditation. So when I saw this book I thought it would provide me with some history and some interesting idioms of their practice. This journey made by Aurel Stein, was a major success, uncovering a library cave that was filled with scripts 10 ft. high. The cave and others were under the protection of a monk, so th [...]

    4. Here is the account about Aurel Stein, the archaeologist, and his dog, Dash, and their astounding journey across what is known as the Silk Road, a journey traversing China, Tibet, India and more lands. Funded by the British government, Stein's job was to look for valuable pieces that would add to Great Britain's museum collection; but Stein's interests lay in a different direction. So he found no difficulty finding enough "gems," figuratively speaking to make his funders happy. But the rest of t [...]

    5. "When a Chinese monk broke into a hidden cave in 1900, he uncovered one of the world’s great literary secrets: a time capsule from the ancient Silk Road. Inside, scrolls were piled from floor to ceiling, undisturbed for a thousand years. The gem within was the Diamond Sutra of AD 868. This key Buddhist teaching, made 500 years before Gutenberg inked his press, is the world’s oldest printed book."The above excerpt is the promo piece from , and if that definitely sparked my interest in this [...]

    6. Though the beginning is a bit slow, once you get into the midst of discovery, things really draw you in. I had been under the impression that the first book coincided with the first printing press, but oh no-- the Diamond Sutra is indeed the first book. A very good read for anyone interested in archeology, anthropology, or who want to understand just what early twentieth century scholars were up against. And the Germans, man! I thought Indiana Jones was just making them into twisty-mustache vill [...]

    7. Books like this should replace history text books – this makes history oh so interesting. At least, excerpts from books like this should be included in the stuffy history books.This book follows Aurel Stein on his greatest expedition – his adventurous journey across the famed, ancient, unknown Silk Road – in his quest for the past. Each chapter of this wonderful book relates an adventure, a story further into history, or a peek into the Stein’s future after the momentous discovery of the [...]

    8. I absolutely loved this book that I randomly picked up in the new nonfiction section at the library! It was a narrative nonfiction about Hungarian/British explorer Sir Aurel Stein and his now famous discovery of the Diamond Sutra (the world's oldest printed book - a woodblock printed source from the 8th century) and a secret library of Buddhist texts that he discovered in Dunhuang, China in 1911. The story is set in Chinese Turkestan and charts his journey to the Cave of the Thousand Buddhas, an [...]

    9. For those who like Central Asian or Great Game history, I recommend this book. It's a bit hard to describe--it's part Buddhist History, part Great Game History, part museum collection descriptions. The story centers on the 1907 expedition of Sir Aurel Stein into Chinese controlled Central Asia and his discovery of a cache of ancient Buddhist manuscripts, one of which is the oldest printed book int he world (the Diamond Sutra). You not only learn about his journey, which is told in a very readabl [...]

    10. I was a bit concerned on starting this book that, although there appeared to be lots of quotes, there was little referencing. However, on investigation, the authors had opted for endnotes, rather than footnotes. Relax of scholarly outrage!Part biography, part history, part travel/journeys/exploration, this book centres on the discovery of the oldest, dated, printed 'book' - the Diamond Sutra. Starting with Aurel Stein's preparations for his exploration into the Taklamakan and Gobi deserts, the a [...]

    11. Interesting and engaging, but the western-centrism throughout the books becomes increasingly depressing in its final chapters.

    12. I liked it well enough. It took a few years to finish it, but kept putting it down. Well worth the effort of reading it though. I'd like to learn more about the Silk Road - this was a good introduction.

    13. Journeys on the Silk Road recounts the rediscovery of a printed copy of The Diamond Sutra – a revered Zen Buddhist text – in a hidden chamber at the Mogao Caves in China’s Taklamakan Desert at the turn of the 20th century. Printed in 868CE, this copy of The Diamond Sutra is the oldest known printed and dated book in the world, predating the Gutenberg Bible by 600 years and any wooden block printing in Europe by 500 years. It was also printed on paper 300 years before paper was ever used in [...]

    14. The description of this book on is misleading. This book is primarily the story of Sir Marc Aurel Stein and his explorations to places along the Silk Road in the early 1900's, during which he was able to get the monk who was the keeper of a secret library, located in a cave, to sell him hundreds of scrolls, weavings, and paintings. Among the ancient scrolls was a printed copy of the Diamond Sutra that, to date, is the oldest ever discovered printed book. It dates to the mid-800sAD. We travel wi [...]

    15. Journeys on the Silk Road tells the story of the Diamond Sutra's discovery by Aurel Stein in 1907. It starts by giving a background on Aurel Stein and how he became captivated by Alexander the Great at a young age, eventually developing a keen interest in Central Asia.Then it goes on to detailing how Stein set up the expedition to Chinese Turkestan to excavate an area where, by all accounts, some interesting scrolls had been found. Stein thought those scrolls could help him to prove that before [...]

    16. A cleanly written, well-structured tale that needed no sensationalist embellishment due to its inherently incredible nature. The real-life actors of this seemingly made-for-movie story, from the austere and introverted Stein to his loyal and many-talented assistant Chiang to the various incarnations of the indomitable fox terrier Dash are brought to life with just the right balance between detail and scene. Morgan doesn't bog down her text with florid descriptions, long-winded excerpts from docu [...]

    17. I really enjoyed this book - excellent story telling. The first part of the book focuses on Aurel Stein's work and working relationships, which I find fascinating. The authors add to Stein’s story by discussing the politics and ethics related to aggressively removing antiquities from the countries in which they were found, as Stein did. They touch on many more points related to Stein's trophy, the Diamond Sutra: it's meaning(s), it’s security & exhibition history, contemporary religious [...]

    18. It kind of felt like wondering in the desert to read this book.I've often thought that historical movies can either be entertaining or accurate but it is a rare thing for them to be both. Upon completing this book I find the same to be true for books. This book mostly covers the experiences of Marc Aurel Stein as he explored the Gobi and Takalaman deserts in search of antiquities. The authors do a good job of keeping things historically accurate by referencing many of Stein's letters to friends [...]

    19. I didn't really know what to expect from this book. Basically it's about the journey of the Diamond Sutra scroll -- the oldest dated book on record -- from its unearthing in 1908 until the present, with a good chunk describing the 1908 trek across the Taklamakan & Gobi deserts that led to its unearthing. This seems to be a book of tangents, in a way. They all loosely surround the Sutra: glimpses into the lives of Silk Road inhabitants 1200 years ago, the Westernization of Buddha as seen thro [...]

    20. THe subject matter is fascinating and the writing style is crisp and clear. The authors tell the story of Aurel Stein, a Hungarian born naturalized Brit who explored Turkestan and Sinkiang at the turn of the 20th century. He found and recovered, or looted if you prefer, a fantastic Buddhist cave library at the edge of the Taklamakan desert. This was part of a major race with German, French, Japanese and Russian looters to open up the lost history of the place. Among other treasures, Stein made o [...]

    21. I have to admit, I had never heard of the Diamond Sutra until I picked up Journeys on the Silk Road. To be honest, it kind of reminded me a bit of Dan Brown's writing and the Indiana Jones movies. It had that adventurous feel, as well as, the intrigue of discovering an important piece of history.Morgan and Walters have definitely done their research -the details in this book are astounding and will keep you thoroughly absorbed. It did get a bit dry, in certain parts, but it was all relevant to t [...]

    22. Aurel Stein has nearly slipped from memory, but his adventures and achievements are worth reading and celebrating. Though some claim his recovery of Chinese relics is just classic colonialism, what's true, and to my mind more important, is that his finds remain with us today. Given the political climate of the time and region in which they were found, it seems likely that destruction or misplacement would have seen many of the documents lost had they remained in their country of origin.Enjoy the [...]

    23. Fascinating! This involved mystery, adventure, drama, religion, culture. And it's a true story. I never knew of the story behind the discovery of the long-hidden Diamond Sutra and associated artifacts. Most of the story deals with how they came to be discovered and taken, but the authors don't end there and go on to show the influence of these materials, what has happened to them and how they are being preserved. I liked that they took the time to paint a larger picture of the historical influen [...]

    24. The story of Aurel Stein, an explorer and archaeologist, who in 1907 travelled to the sacred Caves of the Thousand Buddhas in western China where a hidden library that had been sealed for more than a thousand years had just been rediscovered. Amongst the manuscripts which Stein took from the hidden room was a wood block copy of the 'Diamond Sutra' - dated AD868, 500 years before Gutenberg's Bible. , the discovery has illuminated the spread of Buddhism along the Silk Road. Stein’s personal stor [...]

    25. One of the greatest adventurers of the English nation, comparable to Marco Polo and Huen Tsang now lies unsung in a grave in Kabul. Sir Marc Aurel Stein discovered the 'Diamond Sutra' the world's oldest printed scripture in the Mogao caves, crossing the Taklamakan desert in what is today, China's Ughyur Province. Joyce Morgan takes the reader through the conditions in the early 1900s, when expeditions survived more on persistence and passion than on modern administrative back=up. We live Stein's [...]

    26. Fascinating story of how Aurel Stein kept trekking through the deserts and backwaters of China and India to find evidence of early Buddhism. Conditions were unbelievably horrible and apparently he thrived on it. Unfortunately most of the items he brought back to the British Museum are no longer even on display, but you can find digital photos online of the oldest printed book still in existence, The Diamond Sutra.

    27. totally enjoyed this factual account of the recovery of the diamond sutra by a british explorer in the early 1900s. this version of the diamond sutra is considered the oldest printed book in human history. stein's retrieval of it is an adventure worth telling and certainly worth reading about. years in the journey, challenged by other explorers, and crossing the highest mountains in the world as well as the driest most brutal deserts all come together to make this a fine read.

    28. "Still, the book is not most importantly an adventure story, or an explication of a vital Buddhist text, although it is these things, too. Rather, it seems to me an inspired musing on and demonstration of the centrality of the written word to global history and culture and the importance of its ongoing existence." - Carolyn Bliss, University of UtahThis book was reviewed in the May 2013 issue of World Literature Today. Read the full review by visiting our site: bit/12z8ejw

    29. I thoroughly enjoyed the topics covered in this book, but found the organization of information a bit disconcerting. Would appreciate more photos, also. The story of Stein's adventures touched on so many locales and events that are still in the front pages today. Art, archeology,adventure,religion, politics,travel, war, competition, friendship it's all in this book.

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