TAXILA: A Korean scholar and historian reached Taxila on his 64-day road trip from China to Bangladesh via Pakistan to follow the footprints of famous Korean monk Hyecho who traversed the ancient Gandhara civilisation in the 8th century.
“I am following the footprint of Hyecho who in 724 boarded a ship in China and set off on a pilgrimage to the Buddhist holy land of India. The following years, he travelled farther by land and sea than any monk in the history of Buddhism. Sailing south to Indonesia, he traveled to India and the sacred sites of the life of the Buddha,” Prof D-ro SO Gilsu told newsmen at the Taxila Museum where he stopped to explore the ancient Buddhist civilisation.
Another Korean scholar and the general secretary of Gandhara Art and Culture Association Esther Park, Chairman Coming to Asia Association Han Young Yong and CEO of Hangsang Dream Organisation Kiho Kim were also present.
Prof Gilsu said: “I want to see what influenced Hyecho to travel such far land and I would write a book at the end of my journey.” He said he was eager to see the ancient Silk Route through which Buddhism had spread across the globe.
Responding a question, Prof Gilsu said he travelled over 104 countries and found Pakistan a peaceful, culturally rich and diverse and its people caring. He said Pakistan can fetch a large number of tourists from Buddhist countries by properly promoting its Buddhist heritage and relaxing visa for tourists.
“If the government of Pakistan wants to fetch tourists, it is time to properly promote and showcase its heritage. I have visited over 104 countries as a historian but the potential and cultural diversity of Pakistan are unique and significant.”
He was of the view that the spread of Buddhism and its art as well as culture from these regions to China along the Silk Route had a lasting impact on Asian and world history.
The chairman of Coming to Asia Association called for strengthening the existing relations between Pakistan and Korea by opening a highway of cultural cooperation between them.
He said in ancient times Buddhist monks and envoys used to visit these regions and brought back messages of peace, harmony and friendship as well as the Buddhist art which symbolised the purest values of that civilisation.
Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2018