King Asoka's Contribution to Buddhism

Topics: Buddhism, Gautama Buddha, India Pages: 2 (722 words) Published: June 12, 2011
Explain the contribution of King Asoka to Buddhism
King Asoka, the first Buddhist Emperor of the Mauryan Empire, can be seen as a crucial figure to the contribution to the development and expression of Buddhism. Asoka contributed to the development of Buddhism through his expansion of his Buddhist state to neighbouring empires. Asoka, through missionary, expanded Buddhism to modern day Sri Lanka and Nepal. This expansion was made possible by Asoka’s decision that only five monks were needed to consecrate new monks outside his empire. Moreover, Asoka financially and politically supported missionary activity in other empires, such as his daughter’s missionary in Sri Lanka to set up a female Sangha. Asoka also contributed to the development of Buddhism through maintaining Buddhism as a significant religious tradition in the Mauryan Empire. Asoka instructed his people about Buddhism through Rock edicts for the educated, stories and symbols for the uneducated and built stupas (shrines). This allowed everyone in the Mauryan Empire, regardless of religion, to have access to Buddha. He also believed Buddhism to be the way of spiritual development for all and thus wrote the ways of Buddha in many dialects in order to communicate teachings. Through maintaining the stronghold of Buddhism is his empire Asoka has contributed to the ongoing practise of Buddhism today in numerous countries. A contribution to the development of Buddhism from Asoka also comes in the form of showing that Buddhism was his basis for government and foreign affairs. Asoka used Buddhism as a strong basis for government as he dealt with foreign policy peacefully with diplomacy. His internal affairs were based on toleration and acceptance of difference such as providing social welfare, support of Sangha and dealing with criminals. This made Buddhism grow due to its revolutionary and peaceful manner in dealing with all issues in life which was modelled through Asoka’s leadership. Asoka’s contribution to...
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