Seng-chao was born in a poor family and had to earn his living by squiring and copying books. This enabled him to read extensively in literrature and history, and he took a special liking to Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu. However, after he read the translation of the Vimalakirtinirdesa Sutra (Scripture Spoken by Vimalakirti), he was convinced of the superiority of Buddhism, and became a monk. His name spread over the Shensi area even when he was still a young boy. Around 398, when he was hardly fifteen years old, having heard of the fame of Kumarajiva, he went far west to become his pupil and later returned Ch'ang-an. Besides helping his master in the translations, he wrote a number of treatises of his own. When he died he was barely thirty-one.
Source : Wing-Tsit Chan, in Chinese Philosophy