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Gold coin of Kanishka. British Museum.

Kaniṣka (T. Ka ni ska; C. Jianisejia wang 迦膩色迦王) (c. 127–151 CE) was the third king of the Kushan Empire in the northwest of India and legendary patron of Buddhism.[1] According to the Princeton Dictionary, his patronage rivaled that of Ashoka, who lived some four centuries later.[1]

Kanishka is said to have convened the fourth Buddhist council, which led to the creation of the Abhidharma-mahavibhasa.[1]

The Kushan Empire was traditionally considered to have been an important conduit of Buddhism to China via the the Silk Road. More recent scholarship questions this narrative, suggesting that it might have been the Kushan's predecessors, the Sakas, who played an important role in the transmission of Buddhism.[1]

Further reading