II. Ancient and Classical Periods, 3500 B.C.E.–500 C.E. > A. Global and Comparative Dimensions > 4. The Spread of Religions, 300 B.C.E.–500 C.E. > b. Buddhism
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
b. Buddhism
 
Buddhism (See South India) spread both north and south from India. Official support from the Mauryan ruler Ashoka in the 3rd century B.C.E. and the active sending of missionaries encouraged the spread of Buddhism.  1
 
200 B.C.E.–500 C.E
 
THERAVADA BUDDHISM was the early Buddhist form, and it spread to southern India, Sri Lanka, and ultimately to the mainland territories and islands of Southeast Asia.  2
 
1st Century C.E
 
MAHAYANA BUDDHISM developed as a distinctive form of the faith in central Eurasia and later China (See 200). Buddhist merchants and teachers interacted with Greeks and Persians in central Asia and the Middle East, and Buddhism spread through diaspora communities of merchants in many regions along the Silk Roads. It was brought to China by the 1st century C.E., gradually winning converts and becoming very powerful following the collapse of the Han dynasty. By 500 C.E., Buddhism was an important force throughout more than half of the Eastern Hemisphere.  3
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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