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Southeast Asia is bordered to the north by East Asia, to the west by South Asia, the Indian Ocean, and the Bay of Bengal, to the south by Oceania. Southeast Asia consists of eleven countries that reach from eastern India to China, and is generally divided into “mainland” and “island” zones.

Southeast Asia – Wikipedia


Southeast Asia was in the Indian sphere of cultural influence from BCE to the 15th century CE, when Hindu – Buddhist influences were incorporated into local political systems.

Kingdoms in the southeast coast of the Indian Subcontinent had established trade, cultural and political relations with Southeast Asian kingdoms in Burma , Thailand , Indonesia , Malay Peninsula , Philippines , Cambodia and Champa. Indian culture itself arose from various distinct cultures and peoples, also including early Southeast Asian, specifically Austroasiatic influence onto early Indians. India is seen a melting pot of western, eastern and indigenous traditions.

This distinctly Indian cultural system was later adopted and assimilated into the indigenous social construct and statehood of Southeast Asian regional polity, which rulers gained power and stability, transforming small chieftains into regional powers. Unlike the other kingdoms which existed on the Indian subcontinent, the Pallava empire which ruled the southeastern coast of the Indian peninsula did not impose cultural restrictions on people who wished to cross the sea.

This impact led to more exchanges with Southeast Asia on the sea routes. Whereas Buddhism thrived and became the main religion in many countries of Southeast Asia, it became a minority religion in India. The peoples of maritime Southeast Asia — present-day Malaysia , Indonesia and the Philippines — are thought to have migrated southward from South China sometime between and BC.

The influence of the civilization which existed on the Indian Subcontinent gradually became predominant among them, and it also became predominant among the peoples which lived on the Southeast Asian mainland.

Southern Indian traders, adventurers, teachers and priests continued to be the dominating influences in Southeast Asia until about CE. Hinduism and Buddhism both spread to these states from India and for many centuries, they existed there with mutual toleration.

Eventually the states of the mainland mainly became Buddhist. The key drivers of the Indianisation of Southeast Asia were Indian maritime trade especially the Spice trade , the emissaries of Ashoka , the Buddhist missions of Emperor Ashoka – the Great ,. The first clear mention of a navy occurs in the mythological epic the Mahabharata.

In the Sri Lankan tradition, Moggaliputta-Tissa — who is patronised by Ashoka — sends out nine Buddhist missions to spread Buddhism in the “border areas” in c. This tradition does not credit Ashoka directly with sending these missions. Each mission comprises five monks, and is headed by an elder. The Sri Lankan tradition dates these missions to Ashoka’s 18th regnal year, naming the following missionaries: [8].

The tradition adds that during his 19th regnal year, Ashoka’s daughter Sanghamitta went to Sri Lanka to establish an order of nuns, taking a sapling of the sacred Bodhi Tree with her. Scholars, such as Erich Frauwallner and Richard Gombrich , believe that the missions mentioned in the Sri Lankan tradition are historical. These caskets have been dated to early 2nd century BCE, and the inscription states that the monks are of the Himalayan school.

According to Gombrich, the mission may have included representatives of other religions, and thus, Lamotte’s objection about “dhamma” is not valid. The Buddhist chroniclers may have decided not to mention these non-Buddhists, so as not to sideline Buddhism. The Sri Lankan chronicles, which belong to the Theravada school, exaggerate the role of the Theravadin monk Moggaliputta-Tissa in order to glorify their sect.

Some historians argue that Buddhism became a major religion because of Ashoka’s royal patronage. During this era, Hindu and Buddhist religious establishments of Southeast Asia came to be associated with economic activity and commerce as patrons entrusted large funds which would later be used to benefit local economy by estate management, craftsmanship and promotion of trading activities.

In Java and Borneo , the introduction of Indian culture created a demand for aromatics, and trading posts here later served Chinese and Arab markets. Maritime history of Odisha , known as Kalinga in ancient times, started before BC according to early sources. The people of this region of eastern India along the coast of the Bay of Bengal sailed up and down the Indian coast , and travelled to Indo China and throughout Maritime Southeast Asia , introducing elements of their culture to the people with whom they traded.

The 6th century Manjusrimulakalpa mentions the Bay of Bengal as ‘Kalingodra’ and historically the Bay of Bengal has been called ‘Kalinga Sagara’ both Kalingodra and Kalinga Sagara mean Kalinga Sea , indicating the importance of Kalinga in the maritime trade. The Chola dynasty — reached the peak of its influence and power during the medieval period. Quilon or Kollam in Kerala coast, once called Desinganadu, has had a high commercial reputation since the days of the Phoenicians and Romans.

The Indian commercial connection with Southeast Asia proved vital to the merchants of Arabia and Persia between the 7th and 8th centuries CE. The Cholas excelled in foreign trade and maritime activity, extending their influence overseas to China and Southeast Asia.

During the reign of Pandya Parantaka Nedumjadaiyan — , the Chera dynasty were a close ally of the Pallavas. Ma Huan —51 reached Cochin and noted that Indian coins , known as fanam , were issued in Cochin and weighed a total of one fen and one li according to the Chinese standards.

The maritime route overlaps with historic Southeast Asian maritime trade, Spice trade , Indian Ocean trade and after 8th century — the Arabian naval trade network. Richard Foltz , Xinru Liu , and others have described how trading activities along the Silk Road over many centuries facilitated the transmission not just of goods but also ideas and culture, notably in the area of religions.

Zoroastrianism , Judaism , Buddhism, Christianity, Manichaeism, and Islam all spread across Eurasia through trade networks that were tied to specific religious communities and their institutions. The spread of religions and cultural traditions along the Silk Roads, according to Jerry H. Bentley , also led to syncretism. One example was the encounter with the Chinese and Xiongnu nomads. These unlikely events of cross-cultural contact allowed both cultures to adapt to each other as an alternative.

The Xiongnu adopted Chinese agricultural techniques, dress style, and lifestyle, while the Chinese adopted Xiongnu military techniques, some dress style, music, and dance. Nomadic mobility played a key role in facilitating inter-regional contacts and cultural exchanges along the ancient Silk Roads. The transmission of Buddhism to China via the Silk Road began in the 1st century CE, according to a semi-legendary account of an ambassador sent to the West by the Chinese Emperor Ming 58— The Buddhist movement was the first large-scale missionary movement in the history of world religions.

Chinese missionaries were able to assimilate Buddhism, to an extent, to native Chinese Daoists, which brought the two beliefs together. These people moved through India and beyond to spread the ideas of Buddha. The first missionaries and translators of Buddhists scriptures into Chinese were either Parthian, Kushan, Sogdian , or Kuchean. One result of the spread of Buddhism along the Silk Road was displacement and conflict. The Greek Seleucids were exiled to Iran and Central Asia because of a new Iranian dynasty called the Parthians at the beginning of the 2nd century BCE, and as a result the Parthians became the new middle men for trade in a period when the Romans were major customers for silk.

Parthian scholars were involved in one of the first Buddhist text translations into the Chinese language. Its main trade centre on the Silk Road, the city of Merv , in due course and with the coming of age of Buddhism in China, became a major Buddhist centre by the middle of the 2nd century. From the 4th century CE onward, Chinese pilgrims also started to travel on the Silk Road to India to get improved access to the original Buddhist scriptures, with Fa-hsien ‘s pilgrimage to India — , and later Xuanzang — and Hyecho , who traveled from Korea to India.

There were many different schools of Buddhism travelling on the Silk Road. The Dharmaguptakas and the Sarvastivadins were two of the major Nikaya schools. These were both eventually displaced by the Mahayana, also known as “Great Vehicle”. This movement of Buddhism first gained influence in the Khotan region.

It formed during the 1st century BCE and was small at first, and the origins of this “Greater Vehicle” are not fully clear. Some Mahayana scripts were found in northern Pakistan, but the main texts are still believed to have been composed in Central Asia along the Silk Road.

These different schools and movements of Buddhism were a result of the diverse and complex influences and beliefs on the Silk Road. This form of Buddhism highlighted, as stated by Xinru Liu, “the elusiveness of physical reality, including material wealth. During the 5th and 6th centuries CE, merchants played a large role in the spread of religion, in particular Buddhism.

Merchants found the moral and ethical teachings of Buddhism an appealing alternative to previous religions. As a result, merchants supported Buddhist monasteries along the Silk Road, and in return the Buddhists gave the merchants somewhere to stay as they traveled from city to city. As a result, merchants spread Buddhism to foreign encounters as they traveled. As a result, these communities became centers of literacy and culture with well-organized marketplaces, lodging, and storage.

The history of Brunei before the arrival of Magellan ‘s ships in CE is based on the interpretation of Chinese sources and local legends.

Historians believe that there was a forerunner Indianised Hindu-Buddhist state to the present day Brunei Sultanate. One predecessor state was called Vijayapura, which possibly existed in northwest Borneo in the 7th century. One predecessor state was called Po-ni pinyin: Boni. The book of Nagarakretagama , canto 14, written by Prapanca in mentioned Berune as a vassal state of Majahpahit. The Ming dynasty resumed communications with Po-ni in the s and the Po-ni ruler Ma-na-jih-chia-na visited the Ming capital Nanjing in and died there; his tomb was rediscovered in the 20th century, and is now a protected monument.

At the western end of the South East Asian mainland, Lower Burma was occupied by the Mon peoples who are thought to have come originally from western China.

In Lower Burma they supplanted an earlier people: the Pyu, of whom little is known except that they practised Hinduism. The Mons strongly influenced by their contacts with Indian traders during the 3rd century B. C adopted Indian literature and art and the Buddhist religion.

The Mons were the earliest known civilization in Southeast Asia. They consisted of several Mon kingdoms , spreading from Lower Burma into much of Thailand, where they founded the kingdom of Dvaravati. Their principal settlements in Burma were Thaton Kingdom and Pegu. From about the 9th century onward Tibeto-Burman tribes moved south from the hills east of Tibet into the Irrawaddy plain.

They founded their capital at Bagan in Upper Burma in the 10th century. They eventually absorbed the Mons, their cities and adopted the Mon civilization and Buddhism. The Bagan Kingdom united all Burma under one rule for years – from the 11th to 13th centuries. The zenith of its power occurred during the reign of King Anawratha — , who conquered the Mon kingdom of Thaton.

King Anawratha built many of the temples for which Bagan is famous. It is estimated that some 13, temples once existed within the city, which some 5, still stand. In the 14th century, the Delhi sultanate controlled nearly all the territory that comprises present-day India. However, invaders from Central Asia weakened and broke up the sultanate’s empire before it was swept aside by the Mughals in These local inhabitants were Khmer people.

Funan flourished for some years. It carried on a prosperous trade with India and China, and its engineers developed an extensive canal system. An elite practised statecraft, art and science, based on Indian culture. Vassal kingdoms spread to southern Vietnam in the east and to the Malay Peninsula in the west. In late 6th century CE, dynastic struggles caused the collapse of the Funan empire. It was succeeded by another Hindu-Khmer state, Chenla , which lasted until the 9th century. He founded a cult which identified the king with the Hindu God Shiva — one of the triad of Hindu gods, Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Shiva the god symbolising destruction and reproduction.


– South Asia – Wikipedia

18 hours ago · October 7, , AM. NEW DELHI — India’s government on Friday said it has rescued about Indian workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia after they were lured . 2 hours ago · Indian workers rescued from digital job scams in Southeast Asia. Minister says Indians who were forced to work in cyber- scams in Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia have been . Apr 04,  · The Southeast Asian continent consists of eleven countries, including eastern India and China. Aside from the mainland, island is generally the main area. Is India In .


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