King Asoka and Buddhism — Anuradha Seneviratna

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<p>King Asoka and BuddhismHistorical &amp; Literary StudiesEdited by Anuradha Seneviratna</p> <p>eDHANET ' UDBO</p> <p>B</p> <p>O K LIB R A R</p> <p>E-mail: bdea@buddhanet.net Web site: www.buddhanet.net</p> <p>Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc.</p> <p>SY</p> <p>King Aoka and BuddhismHISTORICAL AND LITERARY STUDIESEDITED BY ANURADHA SENEVIRATNA</p> <p>BUDDHIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY KANDY SRI LANKA</p> <p>PUBLISHED IN 1994 BUDDHIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY P.O. BOX 61 54, SANGHARAJA MAWATHA KANDY, SRI LANKA COPYRIGHT 1994 BY ANURADHA SENEVIRATNA ISBN 9552400652.</p> <p>Buddhism / Indian History / Asian StudiesKing Aoka and BuddhismKing Aoka, the third monarch of the Mauryan dynasty in the third century B.C., was the rst ruler of a unied India and one of the greatest political gures of all time. After he embraced the teachings of the Buddha, he transformed his polity from one of military conquest to one of Dharmavijaya victory by righteousness 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 a world religion that spread peacefully across the face of Asia. The present collection of essays by leading Indological scholars draws upon both the inscriptions and the literary traditions to explore the relationship between King Aoka and the 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 own time, when politics and spirituality often seem pitted against one another in irreconcilable opposition. Contents: Richard Gombrich: Aoka-The Great Upsaka; Romila Thapar: Aoka and Buddhism as Reected in the Aokan Edicts; Ananda W.P. Guruge: Unresolved Discrepancies between Buddhist Tradition and Aokan Inscriptions; N.A. Jayawickrama: Aokas Edicts 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: Emperor Aokas Place in History. Cover design by Mahinda Jeevananda iv</p> <p>The EditorAnuradha Seneviratna is Professor of Sinhala at the University 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 the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.</p> <p>The Buddhist Publication SocietyThe BPS is an approved charity dedicated to making known the Teaching of the Buddha, which has a vital message for people of all creeds. Founded in 1958, the BPS has published a wide variety of hooks and booklets covering a great range of topics. Its publications include accurate annotated translations of the Buddhas discourses, standard reference works, as well as original contemporary expositions of Buddhist thought and practice. These works present Buddhism as it truly is a dynamic force which has inuenced receptive minds for the past 2,500 years and is still as relevant today as it was when it rst arose. A full list of our publications will be sent upon request with an enclosure of U.S. $1.50 or its equivalent to cover air mail postage. Write to: The Hony. Secretary Buddhist Publication Society P.O. Box 61 4 Sangharaja, Mawatha, Kandy, Sri Lanka. v</p> <p>The ContributorsRichard Gombrich is Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University and Fellow of Balliol College. He is also the Honorary 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), Theravda Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo (1988), and Buddhism Transformed (with Gananath Obeyesekere, 1990). Ananda W.P. Guruge has served as Sri Lankas Ambassador to France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO in Paris. He is presently 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 Fountains of Buddhism (1984), Buddhism The Religion and its Culture (2nd ed. 1984), and The Mahvasa An Annotated New Translation with Prolegomena (1989). N.A. Jayawickrama was Professor and Head of the Department of Pali of the University of Peradeniya and later Professor and Head of the Department of Pali and Buddhist Civilization at the University of Kelaniya. He is at present Editorial Adviser to the Encyclopaedia of Buddhism and Professor Emeritus of the University of Peradeniya. His publications include The Inception of Discipline and the Vinayanidna (1962), The Epochs of the Conqueror (1968), and The Story of Gotama Buddha (1990). vi</p> <p>Anuradha Seneviratna is Professor of Sinhala at the University of Peradeniya. His publications include The Springs of Sinhala Civilization (1989), Buddhist Monastic Architecture in Sri Lanka (1992), Mahintale: Dawn of a Civilization (1993), and a twovolume 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 of The Legend of King Aoka (1983) and The Legend and Cult of Upagupta. Romila Thapar is Professor of Ancient Indian History at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. Her publications include Aoka and the Decline of the Mauryas (1961), A History of India, Vol. I (1984), and From Lineage to State (1984).</p> <p>vii</p> <p>ContentsThe Contributors Editors Preface Editors Note.......................................................................................................................</p> <p>vi</p> <p>.......................................................................................................................... xi</p> <p>.............................................................................................................................</p> <p>xii</p> <p>Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................... xiii</p> <p>1 Aoka The Great Upsaka</p> <p>RICHARD GOMBRICH ................................................................................................. 12 2. Aoka in Buddhist Tradition ..................................................................... 6 3. The Missions: Interpreting the Evidence ......................................... 101. Aokas Inscriptions........................................................................................</p> <p>Notes ........................................................................................................................... 13 2 Aoka and Buddhism as Reflected in the Aokan Edicts</p> <p>ROMILA THAPAR ......................................................................................................... 153 Emperor Aoka and Buddhism: Unresolved Discrepancies between Buddhist Tradition &amp; Aokan Inscriptions</p> <p>ANANDA W.P. GURUGE ......................................................................................... 371. 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</p> <p>6. Aokas Role in the Propagation of Buddhism in his Empire ........................................ 63 7. Foreign Missions of Aoka......................................................................... 70</p> <p>viii</p> <p>8. Conclusions</p> <p>......................................................................................................... 79</p> <p>Notes .......................................................................................................................... 84 4 Aokas Edicts and the Third Buddhist Council</p> <p>N.A. JAYAWICKRAMA ............................................................................................... 92Notes ........................................................................................................................ 106 5 Aoka and the Emergence of a Sinhala Buddhist State in Sri Lanka</p> <p>ANURADHA SENEVIRATNA .................................................................................. 1111. Introduction .................................................................................................... 111 2. Sources 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.</p> <p>112 The Mission to Sri Lanka: Brief Account ....................................... 115 The Political Background ...................................................................... 118 The Sri Lanka-Kalinga Tie ..................................................................... 122 Aoka and Tissa ........................................................................................... 125 The Advent of Mahinda .......................................................................... 130 Saghamitt and the Bodhi Tree ...................................................... 132 Conclusion ....................................................................................................... 135..............................................................................................................</p> <p>Notes ........................................................................................................................ 137 6 Images of Aoka: Some Indian and Sri Lankan Legends and their Development</p> <p>JOHN S. STRONG ..................................................................................................... 141A. The Early Traditions.........................................................</p> <p>146</p> <p>1. The Gift of Honey and the Gift of Dirt ......................................... 146 2. The Fate of the Bodhi Tree .................................................................. 152</p> <p>ix</p> <p>154 4. The 84,000 Stpas or Vihras ............................................................. 1573. The Gathering of the Relics.................................................................</p> <p>B. Later Developments</p> <p>...........................................................</p> <p>162</p> <p>162 2. The Legends of the Queens ................................................................ 165 3. The Collection of Relics: A New Story .......................................... 168 4. The 84,000 Stpas Once More ........................................................... 170 Conclusion .............................................................................................................. 1731. The Gift of Dirt Reconsidered............................................................</p> <p>Notes ........................................................................................................................ 174 7 Emperor Aokas Place in History: A Review of Prevalent Opinions</p> <p>ANANDA W.P. GURUGE ...................................................................................... 1821. Introduction .................................................................................................... 182 2. Aoka in the Mainstream Indian Tradition and Literature 184 3. Aoka of the Northern Buddhist Sources 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.</p> <p>188 Aoka of the Sri Lankan Pali Sources ............................................ 195 Aoka of Edicts and Inscriptions ...................................................... 201 Aoka in the Eyes of Recent Writers &amp; Scholars ..................... 203 Aoka and the Decline and Fall of the Mauryan Empire .. 217 Conclusion ....................................................................................................... 221...................................</p> <p>Notes ........................................................................................................................ 224</p> <p>MapsAokas Indian Empire ................................................................................................. 235 Areas to which Buddhist Missions were sent ............................................. 236</p> <p>x</p> <p>Editors Preface</p> <p>A</p> <p>agree that Emperor Aoka of India in the third century B.C. was one of the greatest conquerors who later achieved the most difcult conquest of all the conquest of himself through self-conviction and his perception of human suffering. After embracing the Dhamma of the Buddha as his guide and refuge, he transformed the goal of his regime from military conquest to conquest by Dhamma. By providing royal patronage for the propagation of Buddhism both within and outside his vast dominion, he helped promote the metamorphosis of Buddhism from one among many sects of Indian ascetic spirituality into a world religion that was eventually to penetrate almost all of southern and eastern Asia. The present collection of papers by leading Indological scholars is intended to highlight different aspects of the close connection between the political and religious life of this exemplary Indian ruler. By underscoring from different angles the ways in which Aoka tapped the ethical and spiritual potentials of rulership, and did so in ways which did not violate the religious convictions of those who did not accept the same system of beliefs that he himself endorsed, these papers, in their totality, deliver a message that is highly relevant to our times, when political and ethical goals so often seem to ride a collision course and religious tolerance is threatened by fanaticism and belligerent fundamentalism. This volume arose out of a seminar on King Aoka and Buddhism that had been scheduled to be held at the Buddhist Publication Society in March 1987, but had to be cancelledLARGE NUMBER OF INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARS</p> <p>xi</p> <p>owing to the inability of certain scholars from abroad to attend on time. Fortunately we were able to receive their contributions, and the editor has undertaken to provide a paper on Aokas inuence on Buddhism in Sri Lanka. I am beholden to Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi for the trust and condence he placed in me when he appointed me the editor of this volume. I owe a special word of thanks too to the eminent scholars who have contributed to this work. ANURADHA SENEVIRATNA</p> <p>Editors Note</p> <p>T</p> <p>for the subject of this volume Aoka and Asoka. The former is used as the standard spelling, the latter when quoting from or referring to sources in Pali, which does not include the sibilant in its alphabet. In other respects I have allowed the authors spellings of proper names to stand, and the differences in methods of transliteration account for occasional differences in the spelling of the same names.WO VARIANT SPELLINGS ARE USED</p> <p>xii</p> <p>Acknowledgements</p> <p>T</p> <p>the following: Routledge &amp; Kegan Paul for permission to include pages 127136 of Richard Gombrich, Theravda Buddhism: A Social History...</p>