On behalf of our multi-disciplinary and multi-generational team from the University of Michigan's Humanities Collaboratory, I would like to announce the launch of our educational web resource, "Hyecho's Journey": http://hyecho-buddhist-pilgrim.asian.lsa.umich.edu/
In the year 721, a young Korean Buddhist monk named Hyecho set out on what would become one of the most extraordinary journeys in the history of Buddhism. Sailing first to China, Hyecho traveled by sea and over land to visit the many Buddhist holy sites of South Asia. He wandered as far west as Arabia before turning east on the Silk Road and finding his way back to northern China. Traveling farther than any known Buddhist pilgrim, Hyecho remarkably completed his pilgrimage in three years—and lived to tell the tale.
The website allows users to follow Hyecho’s journey across Asia and experience it in his own words. By exploring eleven of the places he visited, users can learn about the world of Buddhism he traversed, as well as the diversity of religions, cultures, landscapes, and artworks he encountered along the way. We have selected photographs to give life to Hyecho’s descriptions of landscapes and temples, and to allow the user to better visualize the physical world through which he traveled. We have also selected a variety of objects associated with these eleven places that are of the type Hyecho would have seen, touched, worshiped, used, or otherwise interacted with during his pilgrimage.
This website is the culmination of a two-year project dedicated to Hyecho’s journey that has been generously supported by the University of Michigan’s experimental Humanities Collaboratory, an innovative investment on the part of the university in collaborative, multi-generational humanities scholarship for the academy and the world beyond. As part of our grant, we have also collaboratively produced a book and an app, and contributed to the exhibition, Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice Across Asia, on view at the Freer|Sackler in Washington, DC through November 29, 2020.
We hope you find this new web resource, as well as the other products of our collaborative project, to be useful tools for teaching about the world of Buddhism.
PhD Candidate, Buddhist Studies, University of Michigan