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The king Ashoka and Buddhism

Updated on February 14, 2016

King Ashoka

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Buddha Statue

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Buddha preaches

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Ashoka and Buddhism

Ashoka's empire embraced the major part of India, including the North Western Frontier Province, but excluding the Indian peninsula to the south of approximately 14 degrees latitude. His empire covered an extensive territory from Kashmir and the Himalayas in the north to the river Pennar (north Mysore) in the south; from the Hindu Kush in the north – west to the Brahmaputra in the east. It also included Kabul, Kandahar, Herat and some parts of Nepal. The find – spots of Ashoka's inscriptions, from Kandahar in the north – west to Orissa in the east and from Kalsi (Dehradun district) and Lumbini (Nepal) in the north to central Karnataka In the south, confirm this estimate of the extent of his empire.

Results of the Kalinga war

From a material point of view the Kalinga war was only a continuation of the policy of expansion pursued by Ashoka's predecessors. It rounded off the Mauryan empire. But the change it produced in the mind of Ashoka led to far – reaching consequences. From this point of view, the Kalinga war may be regarded as one of the decisive events in the history of India. The sword was sheathed, the war – drums. Were silenced and missionaries and soldiers sent far wide to conquer men's hearts and not their homes. He gave up the policy of digvijay (conquest of territories) and adopted the policy of Dharmavijaya (conquest of Dharma).

Ashoka and Buddhism

The Buddhist tradition does not refer to Ashoka's conquest of Kalinga, but states that he was converted to the faith in the seventh year of his regin. After the shock of the Kalinga war, he devoted himself with greater energy to the propagation of Buddhism. Ashoka visited many of the important places associated with the life to the Buddha. He visited Lumbini Garden in the Nepal Tarai where the Buddha was born; Kapilavastu, the scene of the Buddha's childhood, Bodhgaya where the Buddha obtained enlightenment, Sarnath, where the Master had delivered his first sermon; Sravasti where the Buddha lived for many years, and Kushinagar, where the Buddha had breathed his last. He erected stone pillars at these places and also at a number of other places which the Buddhist tradition associated with some mythical Buddha. He also erected stupas or memorial mounds which contained the cremated remains of Buddha.

The life of Buddha

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The satisfy the necessities of life is not evil

The first sermon of Buddha in Varanasi he addressed the Bhikkhus about the Middle path. He is given the importance about of this in his teaching.` Tathagata does not seek salvation in austerities, but for that reason you must not think that he indulges in worldly pleasures, nor does he live in abundance. The Tathagata has found the Middle path'.

The Lord Buddha told with a low voice to his followers. The middle path which keeps aloof from both extremes. By suffering, the emaciated devotee produces confusion and sickly and sickly thoughts in his mind. Mortification is not conductive even to worldly knowledge, how much less to triumph over the senses!

And he explained well about life. What is life? Howe, who fills his lamp with water will not dispel darkness, and he who tries to light a fire with rotten wood will fail.'

Said the Lord Buddha, how a man behaves and live wells, and why the neatness of man. All mortification is vain so long as the self remains, so long as self continues to lust after either worldly or heavenly pleasures. But he in whom self has become extinct is free from lust; he will desire neither worldly nor heavenly pleasures, and the satisfaction of his natural wants will not defile him. Let him eat and drink according to the needs of the body. To satisfy the necessities of life is not evil. To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom and keep our mind strong and clear.

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