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Buddhism in Gandhara

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Chapter Summary

Gandhara is the ancient Sanskrit name of the region surrounding Peshawar which is now the northwestern frontier province of Pakistan. The first Buddhist missions to Central Asia must have started from the northwest of the Indian subcontinent. From the archaeological and epigraphic evidence we can assume that the first monasteries and stupas were built at the end of the third century BC. Greek influence on Buddhist practice may be seen in the adoption of the Greek calendar. In Buddhist dedicational inscriptions the Indian names of months are usually found, but there are many incidences where Greek or Macedonian names of months do appear. From various manuscript collections that were revealed to the public in recent years we can now infer which Buddhist schools must have been present in Gandhra until the seventh century AD.

Keywords: Buddhist missions; Gandhara; Greek calendar; manuscript; Pakistan; Peshawar; Sanskrit; stupas



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