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In the 1st century BCE-1st century CE, Buddhism became an iconic religion (see ), and one of the earliest representations of the anthropomorphic Buddha is found on a gold token or temple coin from the Tillya-Tepe necropolis in Bactria (Fussman, 1987, pp. Buddhist Gandhāran art spread not only to Afghanistan but also to the south of Central Asia and Xinjiang and created several schools across this vast territory.Gandhāran art, in individual works and cycles of works, functioned as an organic part of Buddhist constructions.

Over 150 Indian inscriptions in scripts were recovered.

Construction started in the 1st-2nd centuries CE, and the complex reached its peak in the 3rd-4th centuries before declining in the 5th-6th (Staviskiǐ, pp. The Fayaz Tepe monastery, 1 km away from Kara Tepe, consists of three adjacent parts with courts and surrounding rooms.

The underground part contained in the center a massive stone pillar (or two pillars), surrounded by a corridor and frequently with an inner chamber.

In front of the platform at the entrance to the underground part, there was a surface construction in the form of a square court with colonnade, a , a water tank, and pedestals and niches for sculptures.

Buddhism came very early (according to a legend, during Aśoka’s life) to southern Xinjiang, in particular to Khotan, whose inhabitants used the Iranian Khotanese language. A 1st-2nd-century CE manuscript of the Buddhist canonical text, the , was found in Khotan, and so it is likely that other canonical works would have been in circulation there in that period (Brough, p. It also follows that Buddhism must have arrived early in some other eastern Iranian areas besides Khotan, such as Nagarahāra, Arachosia, Kapiśa, Bactria, Parthia, and Sogdiana (see (1st-3rd centuries). 1st century CE), the most famous Kushan ruler, as a zealous Buddhist who took an active part in religious activities and built numerous Buddhist religious structures.

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The date for the arrival of Buddhism there is given by a Tibetan chronicle as 84 BCE and appears probable (Emmerick, 1967, p. His coinage carries images of Iranian and Hellenistic-Roman deities and—rarely—the Buddha.

An active proponent of Buddhism, he sent out religious missions and stated some of the Buddhist principles in inscriptions.

In his Edict XIII he wrote that he had dispatched missionaries to other peoples, in particular to the Kambojas, an Iranian people, and to the Yonas, that is, the Greeks (see ).

According to the Pali lay on the eastern frontier of Parthia—in Margiana or a Parthian subject state in Afghanistan (Litvinsky, 1967, pp. Evidence provided by the Greek philosopher, geographer, and historian Alexander Polyhistor (105-35 BCE) about the ) Bactrians shows that, as early as the 1st century BCE, Buddhism was already widespread in Bactria (Lévi, 1891, p. A Buddhist preacher, , who came from one of the Parthian possessions (probably Margiana), reached China in 148 CE and began translating Buddhist books into Chinese.

We know about several generations of translators who reached China from the west; they included Yüeh-chi (that is, Bactrians), Sogdians, and Parthians.

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