An Shigao

From Buddha World

An Shigao or An Shih-kao (?-~168) was a prince of Parthia, nicknamed the "Parthian Marquis", who renounced his prospect as a contender for the royal throne of Parthia in order to serve as a Buddhist missionary monk. The prefix An in An Shih-kao's name is an abbreviation of Anxi, meaning Parthia in ancient Chinese: Anxi is a transcription of "Arsaces", the founder of the Arsacid Dynasty of Parthia. Most Parthian visitors who took a Chinese name received the An prefix to indicate their Parthian origin. In 148, An Shih-kao arrived in China at the Han Dynasty capital of Luoyang, where he set up a centre for the translation of Buddhist texts. He translated thirty-five texts from the Theravada and Mahayana schools of Buddhism, including works on meditation, psychology, and techniques of breath control. An Shih-kao is the first Buddhist missionary to China to be named in Chinese sources. Another Parthian monk named An Xuan is also said to have followed An Shih-kao to Loyang around 181 CE, where he took charge of translating Mahayana texts.

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