The Mauryan Empire And The Spread Of Buddhism 1206735234557421 4Presentation Transcript
The Mauryan Empire and the Spread of Buddhism Ancient India (321-185 B.C.E.)
Founding the Mauryan Empire
The Maurya (MOHR-yah) dynasty was founded by Candra Gupta in the wake of Alexander the Great’s death.
The ancient Indian state was centered at Pataliputra, near the junction of the Son and Ganges rivers, and encompassed most of the subcontinent.
Life in the Mauryan Empire
The Mauryan empire was an efficient and highly organized autocracy with a standing army and civil service.
This bureaucracy and its operation were the model for the Artha-shastra (“Treatise on the Aims of Life”), an important Indian manual on the art of politics, attributed to the chief minister to King Candragupta.
The Life of Emperor Aśoka
Aśoka (pronounced ah-SHOH-kah) was born in 302 B.C.E. and died in 232 B.C.E.
He was the grandson of Chandragupta, the founder of the Mauryan empire. Chandragupta stepped down from the throne in 301 B.C.E. to become a Jain, leaving the empire to his son, Bindusara.
Aśoka (or Ashoka ) reigned from either c. 265–238 BCE or c. 273–232 BCE.
The Reign of Emperor Aśoka
Aśoka began his reign as a typical ancient ruler: cruel, proud, and merciless.
Tales of his ruthlessness are collectively identified under the tradition of “Black Aśoka,” referring to the idea that before he became a Buddhist, Aśoka was an evil man.
Through prolonged warfare, Aśoka extended his empire until it convered nearly the entire subcontinent of India.
Aśoka’s Conversion to Buddhism
In 262 B.C.E. his troops conquered Kalinga, capturing 150,000 people and killing many more.
Eventually sickened by bloodshed and full of remorse for having caused great suffering, he converted to Buddhism
From one of the edicts, we know that “Just after the taking of Kalinga, His Sacred Majesty began to follow Righteousness, to love Righteousness, to give instruction in Righteousness.”
Aśoka and Buddhism
Throughout his remaining years, Aśoka promoted the Buddhist religion and morality, encouraging all to eschew any of form of killing, the eating of meat and any cruel conduct toward living things.
In his edicts, he encouraged his subjects to promote tolerance, mutual respect, self-control, kindness, and truthfulness.
Aśoka Spreads Buddhism
Aśoka explains in his edicts that he sent emissaries as far as the Mediterranean, and to the peoples throughout India in order to propagate the Buddhist faith.
He claimed that they were all converted to the Dharma as a result, although history shows that only Ceylon converted to Buddhism around this time.
The Edicts of Aśoka
The Edicts of Aśoka are a collection of 33 inscriptions on the Pillars of Aśoka, as well as boulders and cave walls.
These are some of the oldest deciphered original texts of India.
The inscriptions proclaim Ashoka's beliefs in the Buddhist concept of dharma and although Buddhism and the Buddha are mentioned, they tend to focus on social and moral precepts rather than religious practices.
The Pillars of Aśoka
The pillars of Ashoka are a series of columns dispersed throughout the northern Indian subcontinent.
Many of the pillars are carved with the Edicts of Ashoka .
The most famous of the columns is the one that was erected at Sarnath , headed by a capital with four lions .
The End of the Mauryan Empire
After Aśoka's death the empire shrank because of invasions, defections by southern princes, and quarrels over ascension.
The last ruler, Brihadratha, was killed in 185 BC by his Brahman commander in chief, Pushyamitra, who then founded the Shunga dynasty , which ruled in central India for about a century.