Silk Road and Buddhism in Central Asia
The Silk Route is the ‘Ancient International Trade Road’ that spread from China to Italy existed from second century BC to fifteenth century AD. Although it was known for trade which carried silk, paper and other goods between East and West through India, China and Central Asia. It also became a channel of transmission of art, architecture, culture, religion, philosophy, literature, technology etc to different countries in Asia and beyond. One of the important religions that transmitted through Silk Road was Buddhism which developed in India. It is interesting to note that Silk Road turned as the springboard of Buddhism to spread it from India to Central Asia. The Buddhist Religion originated in India. Through Buddha’s enlightenment and with his teachings, it became one of the most important “World Religions” in past. It was the first religious philosophy which transmitted along this trade route from India to China through Gandhara which is recognized in modern time northern Pakistan and southern Afghanistan. After long Centuries Islam began and it followed the same Silk route and replace Buddhism from some places. Judaism and Christianity also followed the Silk route for spread their ideology & philosophy. The proposed Article intends to examine the role of Silk Road in the spread of Buddhism from India to Central Asia. The transmission of culture as a soft power has great significance for maintaining peace and stability in the region, as it happened in the past. Besides culture is a tool for strengthening cooperation and international relations. Therefore, this article tries to explore the transmission of Buddhism to Central Asia, the significance of Silk Road in this process and the influence of Buddhism in the Central Asian Societies.
Keywords- Silk route, Buddhism, Transmission, Enlightenment, Spread.