Hyecho’s Journey Book Review!

University of Chicago Press

The following review appeared in the August 2018 issue of CHOICE. 

In 724, a teenage Korean monk named Hyecho sailed from China to India on a pilgrimage of almost the entire Buddhist world: from the “eight great” pilgrimage sites of India through present-day Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. When he returned to China in 727, Hyecho had traveled farther than any other Buddhist pilgrim of his time. Hyecho’s Journey comprises stand-alone chapters on the history and Buddhist significance of a dozen places in Hyecho’s world. Each chapter concludes with an analysis of two related artworks from the Smithsonian’s Sackler-Freer museums of Asian art, so the volume complements Encountering the Buddha,” the Sackler’s exhibit of Buddhist art (the exhibit runs until late 2020). However, Journey is not a simple catalogue, despite its glossy pages and color plates. Eminent scholar of Buddhism Donald Lopez (Buddhist and Tibetan studies, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor) collaborates with a team of art historians and archaeologists to produce an unusual, cross-disciplinary treatment of Buddhist doctrine, mythology, ritual, and history. Scholars of material religion and art history will especially welcome the expert synthesis of textual with visual sources and Buddhism scholars the detailed introduction to Hyecho’s life and fragmentary travel journal. Casual readers will enjoy retracing Hyecho’s steps with Lopez’s erudite yet engaging narrative as guide.

–L. Harrington, Boston University

Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers.
Lopez, Donald S., Jr. Hyecho's journey: the world of Buddhism, by Donald S. Lopez Jr. with Rebecca Bloom et al. Chicago, 2017. 245p bibl index ISBN 9780226517902, $35.00; ISBN 9780022651806 ebook, $35.00.ISBN 9780226517902, $35.00
Reprinted with permission from Choice Reviews. All rights reserved. Copyright by the American Library Association.