What was the reason for King Asoka’s promulgation of Buddhism?

发布日期:2019-03-11   字体大小:   


Magadha was the base area where Sakyamuni proclaimed by the kings of Magadha and its neighboring countries, Asoka’s grand-father Chandragupta being one of them. This was a reflection of conflict between the Ksatriyas (P. Khattiya) (kings) and Brahmanas (priests) in India at that time. In my opinion, it also reflected the confrontation of the newly emerging landlords and merchants with the rule of the local lords in the new-born nations of the Ganges Valley at the time. Some schdars suggest that the kings of Maurya Dynasty were themselves great merchants skilled in the conduct of business. The rule of the hereditary local lords supported by the Brahmin theocracy and the caste system seriously hindered the construction of the irritation system in agricultural areas and the smooth running of domestic and foreign trade. Therefore, Buddhism which stood against theocracy and the caste system and stood for the equality of all sentient beings was supported by the masses of people, and especially favorably received by the newly-emerging landlords and merchants. On the other hand, the rulers of the Magadha Empire viewed the Buddhist tenets of compassion and forbearance as helpful, not harmful, to the consolidation of unity at home and the development of friendly relations with other nations. When he saw the consequences of Alexander’s militarism and the stubborn resistance he experienced during his conquests, King Asoka learned that he had to change his military campaign into a more moderate one, so he decided on the Wheel of Dhamma (Dhammacakka) as his political weapon. (From Essentials of Buddhism: Questions and Answers)


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