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Introduction: Road Map For Travelers

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Chapter Summary

This chapter clarifies geographical and chronological contexts for patterns and processes in the formation of Buddhism in ancient and early medieval South Asia and its transregional expansion outside of the Indian subcontinent, particularly in the northwesten frontiers of areas of modern Pakistan and Afghanistan. It then discusses initial phases of the establishment of Buddhist communities in early India, and presents legacy of the mauryans: Aśoka as Dharmarāja. The chapter outlines migrations, material exchanges, and intercultural interactions in Northwestern contact zones. It explains saka migrants and mediators between Central Asia and South Asia, and describes dynamics of mobility during the Kusạ̄ṇa period. The chapter outlines shifting networks of political power and institutional patronage during the Gupta period. Finally, cross-cultural transmission between South Asia and Central Asia, ca. 500-100 CE are discussed.

Keywords:Buddhism; cross-cultural transmission; historical contexts; South Asia



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