What kind of man was King Asoka?

发布日期:2019-03-11   字体大小:   


Asoka (meaning Sorrow-free) was the King of Magadha in the 3rd century BC. His grandfather, Chandragupata, was a national hero in ancient India (on the basis of his name, some suggest that he was of the Chandra Caste. King Asoka was also known as Chandrasoka). Changdragupata, who lived in Magadha in the 3rd century BC, was exiled to Northwest India. At that time, Alexander the Great invaded India, occupied the region of the Five Rivers (Punjab), and threatened the Granges plain. Chandragupta rose in opposition, rallying the northwestern people to drive the Greek invaders out. Returning to Magadha he overthrew the Nanda Dynasty to become the first monarch of the Maurya Dynasty of Magadha. During his reign he unified Central, West and North India, and made Magadaha a mighty empire. In 273 BC, the talented and bold strategist Asoka succeeded his father Bindusara to the throne. He carried forward his ancestors’ aspirations and feats, and accomplished the unification of the whole of India for the first time in Indian history. Yet, when he witnessed the tragic scenes of the war in his conquest of the Kallinga Kingdom he repented greatly and decided to undertake no further military campaigns, becoming a staunch follower of Buddhism. On the one hand, he carried out the political ideal of Raja Cakkavattin (universal king), set up huge irrigation projects, built the international road from Magadha to Iran, and developed the domestic economy and international trade. On the other hand, he vigorously disseminated Buddhism. He established a high official post, entitled “Saddhamma Minister”, to be in charge of religious affairs and charity. He dispatched these officials together with missionaries to propagate Buddhism in various places. Both his son Mahinda and daughter in turn to the State of Lion (now Sri Lanka). In his lifetime Buddhism expanded as far as Myanmar in the east, Sri Lanka in the south, and Syria, Egypt and Greece in the west. (From Essentials of Buddhism: Questions and Answers)