The remarkable story of the world's oldest printed book begins in a meditation cave on the edge of the Gobi Desert. In 1900, a monk who guarded the sacred Caves of the Thousand Buddhas in western China discovered a hidden library that had been sealed for more than a thousand years. When explorer Aurel Stein arrived during a dangerous and secret journey in 1907, he persuaded the monk to part with some of the treasures, including a copy of the Diamond Sutra – dated AD868. Printed 500 years before Gutenberg's famous Bible, the discovery has illuminated the spread of Buddhism along the Silk Road and coincided with the growing appeal of this ancient tradition in the West. The Diamond Sutra, a key teaching of the Buddha, has influenced Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation and continues to inspire the Dalai Lama.
Written by respected journalists Joyce Morgan and Conrad Walters, Journeys on the Silk Road is an explorer's tale, a literary investigation, an evocation of the travelling power of the book and of the impact of a spiritual tradition that has resonated with the modern world.
Joyce Morgan has worked as a journalist for more than three decades in London, Sydney and Hong Kong. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Bangkok Post and The Dawn (Pakistan). She is a former arts editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and now a senior arts writer. She has also worked as a radio producer with ABC radio.
Conrad Walters has worked in the media for more than thirty years in the United States, where he won awards for investigative journalism, and in Australia, where he is a senior feature writer and book reviewer at The Sydney Morning Herald.