Tarim Basin ［タリム盆地］ ( Tarimu-bonchi): A broad geological depression in Eastern Turkestan. Now part of the Sinkiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China, it is surrounded on the north and south by the Tien Shan and Kunlun mountain ranges, respectively. The greater part of the Tarim Basin consists of the Takla Makan Desert. From ancient times, the Chinese referred to the area of the Tarim Basin as the “Western Regions.” Buddhism was transmitted eastward to China through the Tarim Basin, while Chinese priests went westward through this vast basin, seeking Buddhist scriptures. At the eastern rim of the Tarim Basin, the road from China divided into two branches and ran westward along the northern and southern edges of the Takla Makan Desert. These constituted the northern and southern branches of the caravan route known as the Silk Road that connected East and West and served as a passageway of commerce and culture. Moving west on the northern road, one encountered such oasis cities as Turfan, Karashar, Kucha, and Kashgar; and going west on the southern road, one passed through the oasis cities of Lou-lan, Miran, and Khotan. These cities fostered unique cultures merging aspects of Eastern and Western civilizations. There are a large number of Buddhist remains along the northern and southern roads. In recent years, numerous manuscripts of Buddhist scriptures and other ancient texts in various languages have been excavated there.