Earliest Mahāyāna sūtras
Some scholars have traditionally considered the earliest Mahāyāna sūtras to include the very first versions of the Prajñāpāramitā series, along with texts concerning Akṣobhya Buddha, which were probably written down in the 1st century BCE in the south of India. Some early Mahāyāna sūtras were translated by the Kuṣāṇa monk Lokakṣema, who came to China from the kingdom of Gandhāra. His first translations to Chinese were made in the Chinese capital of Luoyang between 178 and 189 CE. Some Mahāyāna sūtras translated during the 2nd century CE include the following
Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra
Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra
Larger Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra
Śūraṅgama Samādhi Sūtra
An early sūtra connected to the Avataṃsaka Sūtra
Some of these were probably composed in the north of India in the 1st century CE. Thus scholars generally think that the earliest Mahāyāna sūtras were mainly composed in the south of India, and later the activity of writing additional scriptures was continued in the north. However, the assumption that the presence of an evolving body of Mahāyāna scriptures implies the contemporaneous existence of distinct religious movement called "Mahāyāna", may be a serious misstep.