August 8, 2013

Role of Asoka in the spread of Buddhism

Asoka propagated Buddhism with a zeal and earnestness of a missionary.   
1. Buddhism made State Religion: Ashoka gave royal support and patronage and made Buddhism a state religion.
2. Rock Edicts and Inscriptions: Asoka had instructions carved on pillars, rocks and other places. Their purpose was to spread Buddhist teachings.
3. Appointed Dharma Mahamatras : The duties of these Mahamatras were to make extensive tours and look after both the material and spiritual needs of the people. Since most of the Mahamatras were Buddhists, they propagated Buddhism.
Role of Asoka in the spread of Buddhism

4. Set a personal example : Asoka himself followed 'Dharma' or the Law of Piety in his private life. He gave up tours of pleasures (vihara yatras) and substituted them for dharma yatras.
5. Sent Missonaries Abroad : Asoka organised a network of missionaries who went to all parts of the country as well as to countries of West Asia, Egypt and Europe.
6. Third Buddhist Council : Asoka called the Third Buddhist Council at Pataliputra (in 251 to 249 B.C.). Its purpose was to unify, strengthen and spread Buddhism.
Though Asoka's kingdom did not last long after his death, his great dedication made Buddhism a major religion in Asia.


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