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    eBUDDHANET'SBOOK LIBRARYE-mail: bdea@buddhanet.netWeb site: www.buddhanet.net

    Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc.

    Edited by Anuradha Seneviratna

    King Asoka and BuddhismHistorical & Literary StudiesKing Asoka and BuddhismHistorical & Literary Studies

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    King Aoka and Buddhism

    HISTORICALAND LITERARY STUDIES

    EDITEDBY

    ANURADHA SENEVIRATNA

    BUDDHIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY

    KANDY SRI LANKA

    PUBLISHEDIN 1994

    BUDDHIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY

    P.O. BOX 61

    54, SANGHARAJA MAWATHA

    KANDY, SRI LANKA

    COPYRIGHT 1994 BY ANURADHA SENEVIRATNA

    ISBN 9552400652.

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    iv

    Buddhism / Indian History / Asian Studies

    King Aoka and Buddhism

    King Aoka, the third monarch of the Mauryan dynasty in thethird century B.C., was the first ruler of a unified India and oneof the greatest political figures of all time. After he embracedthe teachings of the Buddha, he transformed his polity fromone of military conquest to one of Dharmavijaya victory byrighteousness and truth. By providing royal patronage for the

    propagation of Buddhism both within and beyond his empire,he helped promote the metamorphosis of Buddhism into aworld religion that spread peacefully across the face of Asia.

    The present collection of essays by leading Indologicalscholars draws upon both the inscriptions and the literary tra-ditions to explore the relationship between King Aoka andthe religion he embraced. In highlighting the ways in which

    Aoka tapped the ethical and spiritual potentials of rulership,these papers deliver a message highly relevant to our owntime, when politics and spirituality often seem pitted againstone another in irreconcilable opposition.

    Contents: Richard Gombrich: Aoka-The Great Upsaka; RomilaThapar: Aoka and Buddhism as Reflected in the Aokan Edicts;Ananda W.P. Guruge: Unresolved Discrepancies between BuddhistTradition and Aokan Inscriptions; N.A.Jayawickrama: AokasEdicts and the Third Buddhist Council; Anuradha Seneviratna:

    Aoka and the Emergence of a Sinhala Buddhist State in Sri Lanka;John S. Strong: Images of Aoka; Ananda W.P. Guruge: EmperorAokas Place in History.

    Cover design by Mahinda Jeevananda

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    v

    The Editor

    Anuradha Seneviratna is Professor of Sinhala at the Univer-sity of Peradeniya. His prior publications include The Springs

    of Sinhala Civilization; Buddhist Monastic Architecture in Sri Lanka;Mahintale: Dawn of a Civilization; and a two-volume work on theTemple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.

    The Buddhist Publication SocietyThe BPS is an approved charity dedicated to making knownthe Teaching of the Buddha, which has a vital message forpeople of all creeds. Founded in 1958, the BPS has publisheda wide variety of hooks and booklets covering a great rangeof topics. Its publications include accurate annotated transla-

    tions of the Buddhas discourses, standard reference works, aswell as original contemporary expositions of Buddhist thoughtand practice. These works present Buddhism as it truly is adynamic force which has influenced receptive minds for thepast 2,500 years and is still as relevant today as it was whenit first arose. A full list of our publications will be sent uponrequest with an enclosure of U.S. $1.50 or its equivalent to cover

    air mail postage. Write to:

    The Hony. SecretaryBuddhist Publication Society

    P.O. Box 614 Sangharaja, Mawatha,

    Kandy, Sri Lanka.

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    vi

    The Contributors

    Richard Gombrich is Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford

    University and Fellow of Balliol College. He is also theHonorary Secretary and Treasurer of the Pali Text Society.His previous publications include Precept and Practice:Traditional Buddhism in the Rural Highlands of Ceylon (1971),The World of Buddhism (with Heinz Bechert, 1984), TheravdaBuddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to ModernColombo (1988), and Buddhism Transformed (with GananathObeyesekere, 1990).

    Ananda W.P. Guruge has served as Sri Lankas Ambassador toFrance and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO in Paris. He ispresently the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States.He holds a Ph.D. and D. Litt. (Hon.) and is the author of

    The Society of the Ramayana (1960), From the Living Fountainsof Buddhism (1984), Buddhism The Religion and its Culture(2nd ed. 1984), and The Mahvasa An Annotated NewTranslation with Prolegomena (1989).

    N.A. Jayawickrama was Professor and Head of the Departmentof Pali of the University of Peradeniya and later Professor andHead of the Department of Pali and Buddhist Civilizationat the University of Kelaniya. He is at present EditorialAdviser to the Encyclopaedia of Buddhism and ProfessorEmeritus of the University of Peradeniya. His publicationsinclude The Inception of Discipline and the Vinayanidna (1962),The Epochs of the Conqueror (1968), and The Story of Gotama

    Buddha (1990).

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    vii

    Anuradha Seneviratna is Professor of Sinhala at the Universityof Peradeniya. His publications include The Springs of SinhalaCivilization (1989), Buddhist Monastic Architecture in Sri Lanka(1992), Mahintale: Dawn of a Civilization (1993), and a two-

    volume work on the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (1987,1990).

    John S. Strong is Associate Professor of Religion at Bates College,U.S.A., and author ofThe Legend of King Aoka (1983) andThe Legend and Cult of Upagupta.

    Romila Thapar is Professor of Ancient Indian History at theCentre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru Universityin New Delhi. Her publications includeAoka and the Declineof the Mauryas (1961),A History of India, Vol. I (1984),andFrom Lineage to State (1984).

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    viii

    Contents

    The Contributors .......................................................................................................................vi

    Editors Preface ..........................................................................................................................xi

    Editors Note .............................................................................................................................xii

    Acknowledgements ...............................................................................................................xiii

    1 Aoka The Great Upsaka

    RICHARD GOMBRICH ................................................................................................. 1

    1. Aokas Inscriptions ........................................................................................ 2

    2. Aoka in Buddhist Tradition ..................................................................... 6

    3. The Missions: Interpreting the Evidence ......................................... 10

    Notes ........................................................................................................................... 13

    2 Aoka and Buddhism as Reflected in the Aokan Edicts

    ROMILATHAPAR ......................................................................................................... 15

    3 Emperor Aoka and Buddhism:Unresolved Discrepancies betweenBuddhist Tradition & Aokan Inscriptions

    ANANDAW.P. GURUGE ......................................................................................... 37

    1. Introduction ........................................................................................................ 37

    2. Conversion of Aoka to Buddhism ..................................................... 42

    3. When, How and by Whom? ................................................................... 46

    4. Major Discrepancies in Events and Dates ....................................... 49

    5. Historical Reliability of Rock Edict XIII ........................................... 54

    6. Aokas Role in the

    Propagation of Buddhism in his Empire ........................................ 63

    7. Foreign Missions of Aoka ......................................................................... 70

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    ix

    8. Conclusions ......................................................................................................... 79

    Notes .......................................................................................................................... 84

    4 Aokas Edicts and the Third Buddhist Council

    N.A. JAYAWICKRAMA ............................................................................................... 92

    Notes ........................................................................................................................ 106

    5 Aoka and the Emergenceof a Sinhala Buddhist State in Sri Lanka

    ANURADHASENEVIRATNA.................................................................................. 111

    1. Introduction .................................................................................................... 1112. Sources .............................................................................................................. 112

    3. The Mission to Sri Lanka: Brief Account....................................... 115

    4. The Political Background ...................................................................... 118

    5. The Sri Lanka-Kalinga Tie ..................................................................... 122

    6. Aoka and Tissa ........................................................................................... 125