Jan 15, 2015
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Buddhism in Central Asia

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Buddhism in Central Asia began with the syncretism between Western Classical Greek philosophy and Indian Buddhism in the Hellenistic successor kingdoms to Alexander the Great’s empire (Greco-Bactrian Kingdom 250 BC-125 BC and Indo-Greek Kingdom 180 BC – 10 CE), spanning modern Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. The later Kushan empire would adopt the Greek alphabet (Bactrian language), Greco-Buddhist art forms and coinage, and Greco-Buddhist religion of these Hellenistic kingdoms. The first anthropomorphic representations of the Buddha himself are often considered a result of the Greco-Buddhist interaction. Before this innovation, Buddhist art was “aniconic”: the Buddha was only represented through his symbols (an empty throne, the Bodhi tree, the Buddha’s footprints, the Dharma wheel)…

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