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The Han dynasty (Chinese: 漢朝; pinyin: Hàn cháo) was the second imperial dynasty of China (206 BC–220 AD), preceded by the Qin dynasty (221–206 BC) and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms period (220–280 AD). Spanning over four centuries, the Han period is considered a golden age in Chinese history. To this day, China's majority ethnic group refers to themselves as the "Han Chinese" and the Chinese script is referred to as "Han characters".
Buddhism first entered China during the Eastern Han and was first mentioned in 65 AD. Liu Ying (d. 71 AD), a half-brother to Emperor Ming of Han (r. 57–75 AD), was one of its earliest Chinese adherents, although Chinese Buddhism at this point was heavily associated with Huang-Lao Daoism. China's first known Buddhist temple, the White Horse Temple, was constructed outside the wall of the capital, Luoyang, during Emperor Ming's reign. Important Buddhist canons were translated into Chinese during the 2nd century AD, including the Sutra of Forty-two Chapters, Perfection of Wisdom, Shurangama Sutra, and Pratyutpanna Sutra.
- Zhou (2003), p. 34.
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- Demiéville (1986), pp. 821–822.
- Demiéville (1986), p. 823.
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