Yijing (635-713)Yijing (635-713) - Influential Buddhist monk, originally named Zhang Wen Ming, from the Tang Dynasty. He was sort of a Chinese Marco Polo (who pre-dated Polo by six centuries), traveling extensively for a quarter century to kingdoms as far away as Srivijaya (on the island of Sumatra). In fact, the earliest mention of Srivijaya comes from Yijing who kept a journal of his travels and likely introduced Buddhism there in 687. Another of his famous trips was to Bihar, India, which was home to a Buddhist school known as Nālandā. Here he learned Sanskrit, the language of the earliest Buddhist writings. His largest contribution to history is that he translated many Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit into Chinese. When he returned to China in 695, he was welcomed heartily in Luoyang by Empress Wu Zetian (see Wu Zetian). In all, he translated some 400 texts, and thus was instrumental in the spread of Buddhism throughout China.