Tang Seng, often referred to in English by his Sanskrit name, Tripitaka (唐三藏 táng sān zàng)1, is one of the main characters from the Journey to the West (西游记 xī yóu jì). The story revolves around Tang Seng and his pilgrimage to India to bring a set of Buddhist scriptures back to China to spread Buddhist teachings across his native land. On his journey he is accompanied by three "bodyguards", each of which is on their own personal journey of enlightenment; the Monkey King (孙悟空 sūn wù kōng); Zhu Ba Jie (猪八戒 zhū bā jiè); and Sha Wu Jing (沙悟净 shā wù jìng).
1 Tripitaka means "Three Collections of (Buddhist) Scriptures", and is one of Tang Seng's courtesy names (字 zì)2.
2 A courtesy name, is a name that is bestowed upon an adult in addition to their given name. In Chinese tradition, such a name may be given by parents or a teacher, though oftentimes the name can be self-chosen.
The story is based on a real monk named Xuan Zang (玄奘 xuán zàng) who, whilst studying Buddhist scripture in China, grew impatient with the inconsistencies he came across in his learning. He decided to travel to India in search of the original texts, a journey that would take him 16 years to complete (from 628 to 643).
Upon return to China, Xuan Zang had achieved his original goal. He had learnt Sanskrit and translated everything he could get his hands on in India then brought his findings back to China where he began preaching True Buddhism.