Buddha Shakyamuni Sheltered by the Serpent-King

The Beginning: South and South East Asia

Today Buddhism is practised around the world. But how did it spread so far and wide? 

In this section, you will learn where it all began, and how the Buddhist teachings spread throughout South and South East Asia.

The Beginnings of Buddhism in India

Have a look at where the Buddha is said to have lived.

The Great Stupa of Sanchi, Sanchi, India

The Great Stupa of Sanchi

Located within the archaeological site at Sanchi, the Great Stupa of Sanchi is one of the most famous Buddhist structures in India.

It is said to have been built during the reign of Emperor Ashoka (ca 272–236 BCE), some 200 years after the death of the Buddha. It was enlarged over the centuries; today nothing remains of the original structure.

The sandstone stupa and its four gateways are elaborately carved. Reliefs and free-standing figures illustrate events in the life of the Buddha and his many rebirths.

The Invigoration of Buddhism under Emperor Ashoka

Learn about Emperor Ashoka’s role in the spread of the Buddhist teachings.

Ashoka Pillar, Lumbini, Nepal

Pillars of Ashoka

A number of pillars erected during the reign of Emperor Ashoka survive to this day, and are visited by Buddhist pilgrims.

Sri Lanka and South East Asia

Follow Buddhism from India to South East Asia.

The Rise and Fall of Buddhism in the Land of Its Birth

Follow the monk and scholar Xuanzang along the Silk Roads from China to India.

A monk addressed Master Fayuan: My name is Huchao. May I ask you a question? What is a buddha?

The Master replied: You are Huchao.

Well done

The Beginning: South and South East Asia

The Beginning: South and South East Asia