The Sanskrit word Cina (चीन IPA: [tɕiːnɐ]), meaning China, was transcribed into various forms including 支那 (Zhīnà), 芝那 (Zhīnà), 脂那 (Zhīnà) and 至那 (Zhìnà). Thus, the term Shina was initially created as a transliteration of Cina, and this term was in turn brought to Japan with the spread of Chinese Buddhism. Traditional etymology holds that the Sanskrit name, like Middle Persian Čīn and Latin Sina, derives from the Qin state or dynasty (秦, Old Chinese: *dzin) which ruled China in 221–206 BC, and so Shina is a return of Qin to Chinese in a different form.
The Sanskrit term for China eventually spread into China, where its usage was closely related to Buddhism. A Tang Dynasty (618–907) poem titled Ti Fan Shu (literally "preface to a Sanskrit book") by Emperor Xuanzong of Tang uses the Chinese term Zhīnà (支那) to refer to China: