The author of this is not known. Interestingly, while searching for the author, I found the name in the punchline actually belonged to a famous Chinese character.

Buddhism, as you probably know started with Siddhartha Gautama in about 600 B.C. at or around Varanasi, India. From there it drifted across the subcontinent, until it reached the Silk Road to the northwest. It traveled east from there and wound up in China and Japan, where it ran up against the Pacific Ocean and had to make an abrupt stop.

Well, religions are kind of slow creatures, and what should have been a month trip, maybe a year, took generations, and by the time it had reached China, it had aquired this massive pantheon it really didn’t need, and probably didn’t want.

An emperor of the T’ang dynasty somehow became aware of the fact that he was getting diluted Buddhism, and deputized a certain Mister Tsang, of the family Hsuan, to go back to India, find the original scriptures, and bring them (or reasonable facimilies) back.

Well, the priest went to India, got the scriptures, and came back, and, interestingly enough, he never appears in any document of Chinese history ever again.

It was, you see, his Hsuan Tsang.

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