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The spread of buddhism in Serindia—Buddhism among iranians, tocharians and turks before the 13th century

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Chapter Summary

The term Serindia", coined by Aurel Stein, combines Northwestern Afghanistan, and the former Soviet and Chinese Turkestans. In all Serindian countries Buddhism coexisted with other religions: Iranian Mazdeism, Turkic tärism", and also Nestorian Christianity and Manichaeism. The manuscripts found around Termez date from the Hepthalite period and the Great Buddhas of Bamiyan were erected under the Hephthalites. The first datable reference to Buddhism in Sogdiana might be the name tamsc (wt'ms'c) Venerator of Gotam" in the third Ancient Letter (313 AD). The Manichaean propaganda in Sogdian addressed Buddhists, since it mimicked the Buddhist terminology In the spread of Buddhism in Central Asia, we can distinguish two periods: a Bactrian one (1st-6th century) and a Chinese one (6th-14th century). The earliest Buddhist texts translated in Chinese were in fact doctrinally crude.

Keywords: Buddhism; hepthalite period; Iranians; Termez date; Tocharians; Turks



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