The Indic source I gave is a translation into English from a Chinese translation from Sanskrit. The Chinese story is from this very source. This was translated in 402. It's geographic origins are mainly NW india. This is where most of the Chinese get their sources from. But considering, as the footnotes show, that this story wasn't first presented in the text I cited, but is earlier, the story itself could quite likely have been there before hand. I could check the Chinese Avadana literature, but don't have the time. Likewise the Mahavastu.chownah wrote: In the original post gene attributed this to a Chinese Buddhist....hence the term "Chinese source"....
You did say that there are several versions around and somehow you picked the Indic one but you never gave time lines showing the various versions and except for the Indic version you do not give geographic origins.....clearly there is a Chinese version or else gene wouldn't have heard it from a Chinese Budhist I think...but maybe I'm wrong.
Do you have any information on when it was first declared that Lao Tzu was infact the Buddha and that the reports of his writing the Tao Te Ching is meant to mean that Buddha composed the Tao Te Ching while traveling through the mountains to China?
The Laozi was the Buddha story comes from the later Han and Wei periods, I believe. But it gets elaborated on much later, and even the whole connection between Laozi and the Daode Jing is only clarified later. It's all quite murky stuff. The "Laozi converts the Barbarians" text and story, the more detailed version, comes in just before the Tang (c. 600) and is developed after that.