Whats the earliest recorded instance of Buddhist thought in a European context - say a translation. I know that Schopenhauer (1788-1860) read the Bhagavad Gita - but this is a Hindu text and not a Buddhist one.
However we also have,
In Understanding Buddhism, by Jacobson:
A more ambiguous example is found in the remark of the sinologue, Joseph Needham, that in Liebniz's monadology we have "the first appearance of organisms upon the stage of occidental theorizing. That things should not react upon one another but all work together by a harmony of wills was no new idea for the Chinese; it was the foundation of their correlative thinking."
A discourse of over 14,000 words on the "natural theology of the Chinese" by Leibniz [1646-1716] was translated from the original French [...] in 1966, [...]
which possibly explains this claim:
First, in recent years, Japanese Buddhist scholars have repeatedly called our attention to the similarity between the teachings of Fa-tsang and Leibniz.
and which is affirmed in Jacobson, who writes:
The metaphor of mirroring the universe [in the Monadology] reproduces Fa-tsang's interpretation of Buddhism to the Empress Wu.