Buddhism in Central Asia is a saga of peaceful pursuit by Buddhist scholars from Kashmir and Kabul to propagate the message of the Buddha. This vast region between the Tien-Shan and the Kunlun ranges was the centre of activities of these Buddhist savants.
Here people of different races and professions, speaking many languages, were finally blended into a cosmopolitan culture. This created an intellectual climate of high order. In this context, the famous silk trade route was helpful in adding to the material prosperity of the people in this region.
The present study, therefore, is not one of Buddhism in isolation. It equally provides an account of the political forces confronting each other during the course of history of this region for well over a thousand years.
For centuries the drifting desert sand of Central Asia enveloped this civilization and the religion connected with it. The late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century explorers and archaeologists successfully uncovered it at different centres along the old Silk Route. This has been helpful for a comprehensive study of Buddhism with its literature and art. The finds of hundreds of inscriptions have added to the cultural dimensions of the study.
... Buddhism in Central Asia is a work packed with information representing great labours among the source material. It describes and summarizes a complex period of momentous import for the development of Buddhism beyond its Indian homeland. - Eric Cheetham, The Middle Way, Vol.63, No.3, 1988
...Dr. Puri has focused on this area (Buddhism) and has brought together a wealth of material in a condensed ad compact form. - Buddhist Studies Review 9, 1, 1992
About the Author(s)
Dr. Baijnath Puri, the Professor Emeritus, was one of the leading Indian historians, a widely traveled man and was often invited to deliver lectures at many universities in Europe. He was for more than five years Professor and Head of the Department of Ancient Indian History and Archaeology at the Lucknow University.
His two works 'India in the Time of Patanjali' and 'The History of the Gurjara Pratiharas' earned him the two research degrees of M. Litt. and D. Phil. from the Oxford University. He has more than 25 published works to his credit.