Thursday, August 12, 2010

Buddhist doctrine of king Ashoka 260BC


Buddhist doctrine of king Ashoka 260BC[Proselytism]

Proselytism within Ashoka’s territories

Inside India proper, in the realm of Ashoka, many different populations were the object of the King’s proselytism:

“Here in the king’s domain among the Greeks, the Kambojas, the Nabhakas, the Nabhapamkits, the Bhojas, the Pitinikas, the Andhras and the Palidas, everywhere people are following Beloved-of-the-Gods’ instructions in Dhamma.” Rock Edict Nb13 (S. Dhammika)

Greek communities lived in the northwest of the Mauryan empire, in the region of Pakistan, notably ancient Gandhara near the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, and in southern Afghanistan in the region of Gedrosia, following the conquest and the colonization efforts of Alexander the Great around 323 BC. These communities therefore seem to have been still significant during the reign of Ashoka. A notable mention references aspects of Greek society.

There is no country, except among the Greeks, where these two groups, Brahmans and ascetics, are not found, and there is no country where people are not devoted to one or another religion” Rock Edict Nb13 (S. Dhammika)

Bilingual inscription (Greek and Aramaic) by king Ashoka, from Kandahar (Shar-i-kuna). Kabul Museum.

Two edicts in Afghanistan have been found with Greek inscriptions, one of these being a bilingual edict in Greek language and Aramaic. This edict, found in Kandahar, advocates the adoption of “Piety” (using the Greek term Eusebeia for Dharma) to the Greek community:

“Ten years (of reign) having been completed, King Piodasses (one of the titles of Ashoka: Piyadassi or Priyadarsi, “He who is the beloved of the Gods and who regards everyone amiably”) made known (the doctrine of) Piety (Greek:e?s?├če?a, Eusebeia) to men; and from this moment he has made men more pious, and everything thrives throughout the whole world. And the king abstains from (killing) living beings, and other men and those who (are) huntsmen and fishermen of the king have desisted from hunting. And if some (were) intemperate, they have ceased from their intemperance as was in their power; and obedient to their father and mother and to the elders, in opposition to the past also in the future, by so acting on every occasion, they will live better and more happily.” (Trans. by G.P. Carratelli

Kambojas are a people of Central Asian origin who had settled first in Arachosia and Drangiana (today’s southern Afghanistan), and then in the northwestern Indian subcontinent in Sindhu, Gujarat and Sauvira.
* The Nabhakas, the Nabhapamkits, the Bhojas, the Pitinikas, the Andhras and the Palidas are other people under Ashoka’s rule.
“]Buddhist doctrine of king Ashoka 260BC[Proselytism]

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