Monday, January 30


Btw son, if you get a chance, read the Charles Allan book on Ashoka which we have. It's a good, perhaps the best available book on this Indian emperor. I came across references to this particular text Ashokavandana while trying to track down a vicious rumour about him being pretty nasty to some folks after his conversion to Buddhism. 
Ashoka is an amazing man. He lives on even now as his symbol of the four lions on a lotus flower is the national symbol of India. His works engraved in stone across India can still be seen. By all accounts, he was a good king, ruling justly for all of his reign. Yes of course he killed and raped and conquered but then we have to be careful not to judge the ancients by our standards. 
It's interesting how religions try to control people and pitch the best. This book, written around 200 AD is a good example of trying to push the religious view. 
But good fascinating read none the less. 

Ashokavadana - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(via Instapaper)

The Ashokavadana (Sanskrit: अशोकावदान, "Narrative of Ashoka") is a 2nd-century CE text that describes the birth and reign of the Maurya Emperor Ashoka the Great. It contains legends as well as historical narratives, and glorifies Ashoka as a Buddhist emperor whose only ambition was to spread Buddhism far and wide.[1]
Ashokavadana is one of the avadana texts contained in the Divyavadana ("Divine Narrative"), an anthology of several Buddhist legends and narratives. According to Jean Przyluski, the text was composed by the Buddhist monks of the Mathura region, as it highly praises the city of Mathura, its monasteries and its monks.[2][3] Also known as Ashokarajavadana, it was translated into Chinese by Fa Hien in 300 CE as A-yu wang chuan, and later as A-yu wang ching(zh:阿育王经) in 500 CE.[4]:16 It was translated into French by Jean Przyluski in 1923, and in English by John S. Strong in 1983.

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