King-Asoka and Buddhism

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Asoka, Buddhism

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King Asoka and BuddhismHistorical & Literary StudiesEdited by Anuradha Seneviratna

eDHANET ' UDBO

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O K LIB R A R

E-mail: bdea@buddhanet.net Web site: www.buddhanet.net

Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc.

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King Aoka and BuddhismHISTORICAL AND LITERARY STUDIESEDITED BY ANURADHA SENEVIRATNA

BUDDHIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY KANDY SRI LANKA

PUBLISHED IN 1994 BUDDHIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY P.O. BOX 61 54, SANGHARAJA MAWATHA KANDY, SRI LANKA COPYRIGHT 1994 BY ANURADHA SENEVIRATNA ISBN 9552400652.

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

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.

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

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

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).

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ContentsThe Contributors Editors Preface Editors Note.......................................................................................................................

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.......................................................................................................................... xi

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xii

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

1 Aoka The Great Upsaka

RICHARD GOMBRICH ................................................................................................. 12 2. Aoka in Buddhist Tradition ..................................................................... 6 3. The Missions: Interpreting the Evidence ......................................... 101. Aokas Inscriptions........................................................................................

Notes ........................................................................................................................... 13 2 Aoka and Buddhism as Reflected in the Aokan Edicts

ROMILA THAPAR ......................................................................................................... 153 Emperor Aoka and Buddhism: Unresolved Discrepancies between Buddhist Tradition & Aokan Inscriptions

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

6. Aokas Role in the Propagation of Buddhism in his Empire ........................................ 63 7. Foreign Missions of Aoka......................................................................... 70

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8. Conclusions

......................................................................................................... 79

Notes .......................................................................................................................... 84 4 Aokas Edicts and the Third Buddhist Council

N.A. JAYAWICKRAMA ............................................................................................... 92Notes ........................................................................................................................ 106 5 Aoka and the Emergence of a Sinhala Buddhist State in Sri Lanka

ANURADHA SENEVIRATNA .................................................................................. 1111. Introduction .................................................................................................... 111 2. Sources 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

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..............................................................................................................

Notes ........................................................................................................................ 137 6 Images of Aoka: Some Indian and Sri Lankan Legends and their Development

JOHN S. STRONG ..................................................................................................... 141A. The Early Tradition