The Full Wiki

An Shigao: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Part of a series on


Dharma Wheel
Portal of Buddhism
Outline of Buddhism

History of Buddhism

Timeline - Buddhist councils

Major figures

Gautama Buddha
Disciples · Later Buddhists

Dharma or concepts

Four Noble Truths
Noble Eightfold Path
Three marks of existence
Dependent origination
Saṃsāra · Nirvāṇa
Skandha · Cosmology
Karma · Rebirth

Practices and attainment

Buddhahood · Bodhisattva
4 stages of enlightenment
Wisdom · Meditation
Smarana · Precepts · Pāramitās
Three Jewels · Monastics

Countries and regions


Theravāda · Mahāyāna


Chinese canon · Pali canon
Tibetan canon

Related topics

Comparative studies
Cultural elements

An Shigao (Chinese: 安世高) (in the Wade-Giles transcription system, 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 Shigao's name is an abbreviation of Anxi, the Chinese name given to the regions ruled by the Arsacids. Most visitors from that country who took a Chinese name received the An prefix to indicate their Anxi origin.

In 148, An Shigao arrived in China at the Han Dynasty capital of Luoyang, where he produced a substantial number of translations of Indian Buddhist texts and attracted a devoted community of followers. More than a dozen works by An Shigao are currently extant, including texts dealing with meditation, abhidharma, and basic Buddhist doctrines. An Shigao's corpus does not contain any Mahāyāna scriptures, though he himself is regularly referred to as a "bodhisattva" in early Chinese sources. Scholarly studies of his translations have shown that they are most closely affiliated with the Sarvāstivāda school.

An Shigao is the first Buddhist translator to be named in Chinese sources. Another Anxi translator, a layman named An Xuan, worked in Luoyang (together with a Chinese collaborator, Yan Fotiao) slightly after An Shigao's time, producing a translation of a Mahāyāna scripture, the Ugraparipṛcchā-sūtra (in Chinese, the Fajing jing, Taishō no. 322) c. 181 CE.

See also


  • E. Zurcher, The Buddhist Conquest of China. Leiden, 1959.
  • A. Cotterell, From Aristotle to Zoroaster. 1998.
  • R. C. Foltz, Spirituality in the Land of the Noble: How Iran Shaped the World's Religions. 2004.

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address