The Well Appreciated Buddhist and King
Ashoka was one of the greatest rulers of ancient India. He was the grandson of
Chandragupta Maurya of Magadha who established the first Indian empire. Chandragupta wore the crown for twenty-four years before surrendering his throne in favor of his son, Bundusara (Ashoka’s father), who left no noticeable mark upon the empire. Ashoka was born in 304 B.C. and was known in his younger teen years as Canda Ashoka (the fierce Ashoka) because of his very aggressive nature. Ashoka came to the throne in 270 B.C. after a power struggle that ended in the death of one of his brothers. He was at first disposed to follow the example of his father and grandfather and complete the
…show more content…
Even though he did little to change the government system, he inherited and introduced a novel and powerful moral idealism, which was a moral rule or way of life. This is how Ashoka understood dignity in the Buddhist sense. He called this the “Law of Piety.” This law, though following the tenets of the Buddha, was distinct from them and peculiar to Ashoka. It was to become one of the great turning points of the civilization of the East, having serious effects throughout the neighboring kingdoms, not least in India itself. The law touched Sri Lanka ,reading China and Greece as well. The Law of Piety consisted in moral imperatives requiring that loyalty be paid to all to whom it was due, especially to one’s superiors, parents, teachers, elders and relations. The regulators of the Law of Piety required that respect be shown for the sanctity of all animate life, human and animal. They also required humane and just treatment of all, including backward and uncivilized peoples both inside and outside the empire. There were restrictions and prohibitions against offenses such as envy, indolence and injustice in relation to and affecting the administration of the empire. The imperatives and prohibitions of the Law of Piety formed a network of righteous relationships between all sentient and animate beings, affecting public, social and familial relationships.