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Buddhism in Orissa (ancient Kalinga) is as old as the religion itself. Pali texts refer to Buddha's association with Tapasu and Bhallika, two businessmen from Kalianga, who are said to be the first disciples of the Buddha. While Kapilvastu, Bodhgaya and Saranath are places associated with Lord Buddha's life, Orissa was more associated with his teachings. The Chinese Traveller Hieun T'sang records to have seen more than one hundred Buddist monasteries including excellent centers of learning :Pu-si-po-ki-li and Po-lo-mo-lo-ki-li during his visit to Kalinga in 7th century AD. After the bloody Kalinga war in 261 B.C in Orissa (ancient Kalinga), Buddhism was virtually reborn and history took a u-turn as Emperor Ashoka became instrumental in spreading the message of peace across the globe and Buddhism was exported to Sri Lanka, Far-Eastern and South East Asian countries. Buddhism in all its forms and schools like Hinayana, Mahayana, Vajrayana, Kalachakrayana and Sahajayana flourished in Orissa in different periods almost unhindered from 3rd century B.C to 15th century AD. During the reign of Bhaumakara dynasty in Orissa (8th to 10th Century AD), Buddhism reached its zenith.

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