Embree%20Ashokan%20Edicts

Embree%20Ashokan%20Edicts - 140 Jainism and Buddhism [From...

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Unformatted text preview: 140 Jainism and Buddhism [From Majjhima Nike—ma, 2.147 ff] Once when the Lord was staying at Savatthi there were five hundred brahmans from various countries in the city . . . and they thought: “This ascetic Gautama preaches that all four classes are pure. Who can refute him?” At that time there was a young brahman named Assalayana in the city, . a youth oi sixteen, thoroughly versed in the Vedas . . . and in all brahmanic learning. "lle can do itl”. thought the litilimans‘, and so they asked him to try; but he answered. "The ascetic Gautama teaches a doctrine of his own,‘H and such teachers are. hard to refute. l can‘t do itl'I They asked hiiii a second time . , . and again he refused; and they asked him a third time, pointing out that he ought not to admit defeat Without giving battle. This time he agreed, and so, surrounded by a crowd of hrt‘iliiiiaiis, he went to the Lord, and. alter greeting him, sat down and said: “Brahmans maintain that only they are the highest class, and the others are below them. They are white, the others black; only they are pure, and not the others Only they are the true sons of Brahma, born from his mouth,“ born of Brahiiiz'i, creations of Brahma, heirs of Brahma. Now what does the worthy Gautama say to that."” "Do the hrahiiians really maintain this, Assaliiyana, when they're born of women just like anyone else, of l‘l‘filiflltln women who have their periods and conceive, give birth and nurse their children, just like any other women?” “For all you say, this is what they think. . , ” “Have you ever heard that in the lands of the Greeks and Kamboias and other peoples on the borders there are only two classes, masrers‘ and slaves, and a master can become a slave and Vice verso?" “Yes, l'ye heard so." “And what strength or support does that fact give to the bri'ihiiians‘ claim?" “Nevertheless. that is what they think." “Again if a man is a murderer, a thieli, or an adulteter, or commits other grave sins, when his body breaks up on death does he pass on to purgatory if he’s a kshatriya, vaishya, or shfidra, hilt not it he's a hrahman?" “No. Gatitama, ln such a case the same fate is in store for all men. whatever their class." “And if he avoids grave sin, will he go to heaven if he’s a brahnian, but ' ‘ ‘ is not it he's a man of the lower classes? ThCTdIt/(Ida Buddhism 14.1 “No, Gautama. In such a case the same reward awaits all men, whatever their class." “And is a brr'ihmaii capable of developing a mind of love without hate or ill will, but not a man of the other classes?" “No, Gautama, All four classes are capable of doing so." "Can only a brahman go down to a river and wash away dust and dirt, and not men of the other classes!" “No, Gautama, all four classes can." “Now suppose a king were to gather together a hundred men of different classes and to order the htahmans and kshatriyas to take kindling wood of sal. pine, lotus, or sandal, and light fires. while the low class folk did the same With common wood. What do you think would happen? Would the tires of the high-born men blaze tip brightly . . . and those of the humble tail?" "No, Gautama. it would he alike With high and lowly. . i . Every fire i would blaze with the same liright ilame.’ “Suppose there are two young hrahman brothers, one a scholar and the other uneducated Which of them would he served first at memorial l'casts, festivals, and sacrifices, or when entertained as guests?" “The scholar, of course; for what great benefit would accrue from enter‘ taining the uneducated one!" "But suppose the scholar is illrbehaved and wicked, while the uneducated one is well-beliaved and virtuous?” “Then the uneducated one Would he served first, for what great benefit would accrue from entertaining an ill—behaved and wicked man?” "First, Assalayana, you based your claim on birth, then you gave up birth for learning. and finally you have come round to my way of thinking, that all four classes are equally pure!” At this Assalayana sat silent . . . his shoulders hunched, his eyes cast down, thoughtful in mind, and with no answer at hand. Ashoka: The Buddhist Emperor The great emperor Ashoka (c.2687237, no), third of the line of the Mauryas, became a Buddhist and attempted to govern lndia according to the precepts of Buddhism as he understood them. His new policy was promulgated in a series of edicts, which are still to he found, engraved on rocks and pillars in many parts of lndia. Written in a form of Pralcrit, or anctent vernacular, With several local Variar 142 Jainism and Buddhism tions, ihey can claim little literary merit, for their style is crahhed and often ambig- nous. In one of these edicts he describes his conversion, and its effects: [From the Thirteenth Rock Edict] \Vhen the king, Beloved of the Gods and of Gracious Mien, had been consecrated eight years Kalinga46 was conquered, 150,000 people were de» ported, 100,000 were killed, and many times that number died. But after the conquest of Kalinga, the Beloved of the Gods began to follow righteous— neSs [dharmu], to love righteousness, and to give instruction in righteous— ness. Now the Beloved of the Gods regrets the conquest of Kalinga, for when an independent country is conquered people are killed, they die. or are deported. and that the Beloved of the Gods finds very painful and griev— ous. And this he finds even more grievous#tliat all the inhabitants—brain mans, ascetics, and other sectarians, and householders who are obedient to superiors, parents, and elders, who treat friends, acquaintances, companv ions, relatives, slaves, and servants with respect, and are firm in their faithr all suffer violence, murder, and separation from their loved ones. Even those who are fortunate enough not to have lost those near and dear to them are afflicted at the misfortunes of friends, acquaintances, companions, and rel‘ atives. The participation of all men in common suffering is grievous to the Beloved of the Gods. Moreover there is no land, except that of the Greeks, where groups of bri'iliinans and ascetics are not found, or where men are not members of one sect or another. So now, even if the number of those killed and captured in the conquest of Kalinga had been a hundred or a thousand times less. it would he grievous to the Beloved of the Gods. The Beloved of the Gods will forgive as far as he can. and he even conciliates the forest tribes of his doniiriions; but he warns them that there is power even in the remorse of the Beloved of the Gods, and he tells them to reform, lest they be killed.47 For all beings the Beloved of the Gods desires security, selfrcontrol, Calm of mind, and gentleness. The Beloved of the Gods considers that the great— est victory is the victory of righteousness; and this he has won here [in lndia] and even five hundred leagues beyond his frontiers in the realm of the Greek king Antiochus, and beyond Antiochus among the four kings Ptolemy, Antigonus, Magas, and .litleitander."m Even where the. envoys Of the Beloved of the Gods have not been sent men hear of the way in which he follows and teaches righteousness. and they too follow it and will fol' Theravada Bwldhism I43 low it. Thus he achieves a universal conquest, and conquest always gives a feeling of pleasure; yet it is but a slight pleasure, for the Beloved of the Gods only looks on that which concerns the next life as of great impor- tance. l have had this inscription of righteousness engraved that all my sons and grandsons may not seek to gain new victories, that in whatever victories they may gain they may prefer forgiveness and light punishment, that they may consider the only [valid] Victory the victory of righteousness, which is of value both in this world and the next, and that all their pleasure may be in righteousness. Ashoka's Buddhism, as his tirle shows, did not lessen his belief in the gods. Here he expresses his faith in Buddhism and declares that the gods have appeared on earth as a result of his reforms?” [From a minor Rock Edict (Maski Vetsion)] Thus speaks Ashoka, the Beloved of the Gods. For two and a half years l have been an open follower of the Buddha, though at first I did not make much progress. But for more than a year now I have drawn closer to the [Buddhist] Order, and have made much progress. in lndia the gods who formerly did not mix with men now do so. This is the result of effort, and may be obtained not only by the great, but even by the small, through effort¢ thus they may even easily win heaven. Father and mother should be obeyed, teachers should be obeyed; pity . should he felt for all creatures. These virtues of righteousness should be practiced. . . . This is an ancient rule, conducive to long life. [From the Ninth Rock Edict] It is good to give, hut there is no gift, no service, like the gift of righteous ness. So friends. relatives, and companions should preach it on all occa- sions. This is duty; this is right; by this heaven may be gained is more important than to gain heaven? and what The emphasis on morality is if anything intensified in the series of the seven l’illar Edicts, issued some thirteen years after the Rock Edicts, when the king had hcen consecrated twenty-six years: I44 Jainism and Buddhism [From the First Pillar Edict] This world and the other are hard to gain without great love of righteous— ness. great sell-rexamination, great obedience, great Circumspection, great effort. Through my instruction respect and love righteousness daily increase and will increase. . . . For this is my rule—to govern by righteousness, to administer by righteousness. to please my suhiects by righteousness, and to protect them by righteousness. Ashoka's solicitude extended to lhe animal life ofhis empire, which in ancient lndia was generally thought to he subject to the king, just as was human life. He banned animal sacrifices at least in his capital. intioduced virtual vegetarianism in the royal household, and limited the slaughter of certain animals; his policy in this respect is made clear in his very first Rock Edict: [From the First Rock Edict] Here 30 no animal is to he killed for sacrifice, and no festivals are to he held. for the king finds much evil in festivals,“ except for certain festivals which he considers good. Formerly in the Beloved of the God's kitchen several hundred thousand animals were killed daily for food; but now at the time of writing only three are killed—two peacocks and a deer, though the deer not regularly. Even these three animals will not he killed in future. [From the Second F‘illar Edict] l have in many ways given the gift of clear vision. On men and animals. birds and fish 1 have conferred many hoons. even to saying their lives; and l have done many other good deeds. in accordance with the precepts of Buddhism Ashoka, for all his apparent others wotldliness, did not neglect the material welfare of his subjecrs. and he was espe- cially interested in givmg them medical aid: [From the Second Rock Edict] Everywhere in the. empire of the Beloved of the Gods, and even beyond his frontiers in the lands of the Cholas, Pandyas. Satyaputtas, Keralaputrasi‘ Theravada Buddhism 145 and as far as Ceylon, and in the kingdoms of Antiochus the Greek king and the kings who are his neighbors, the Beloved of the Gods has provided medicines for man and beast. Wherever medicinal plants have not been found they have been sent there and planted. Roots and fruits have also been sent where they did not grow and have been planted. Wells have been dug along the roads for the use of man and beast. Ashokti lelt a moral responsibility not only for his own subjects, but for all men 1 1 , a - ‘ and he realized that they could not lead moral lives, and gain merit in order to find a place in heaven. unless they weie happy and materially well cared for: [From the Sixth Rock Edict] I am not satisfied simply with hard work or carrying out the affairs of state, for l conSIdet my work to be the welfare of the whole world, of which hard work and the carrying out of affairs are merely the basis. There is no better deed than to work for the welfare of the whole world, and all my efforts are made that 1 may clear my debt to all beings. I make them happy here and now that they may attain heaven in the life to come. . . . But it is difficult without great effort. He speaks in peremptory tones to the officers of state who are slow in putting the new policy into effect; 7 [From the First Separate Kalinga Edict] By order of the Beloved of the Gods. Addressed to the officers in charge of Tosali.54 . . . Let us win the affection of all men. All men are my children, and as I wish all welfare and happiness in this world and the next for my own children. so do i wish it for all men. But you do not realize what this entails—here and there an officer may understand in part, but not entirely. Often a man is imprisoned and tortured unjustly. and then he is liberated for no [apparent] reason. Many other people suffer also [as a result of this injustice]. Therefore it is desirable that you should practice impartiality, but It cannot be attained if you are inclined to habits of jealousy. irritability, harshness, hastiness, ohstinacy. laziness, or lassitude. I desire you not to have these habits. The basis of all this is the constant avoidance of irrita« bility and hastiness in your business. 14.6 Jainism and Buddhism This inscription has been engraved in order that the officials of the city should always see to it that no one is ever imprisoned or tortured without good cause. To ensure this I shall send out every five years on a tour of inspection officers who are not fierce or harsh. . . . The prince at Ujjain shall do the same not more than every three years, and likewise at Taxila. Later, in his Pillar Edicts, Ashoka seems more satisfied that his officers are carrying out the new policy: [From the Fourth Pillar Edict] My govemors are placed in charge of hundreds of thousands of people. Under my authority they have power to Judge and to punish. that they calmly and fearlessly carry out their duties, and that they may bring welfare and happiness to the people of the provmces and be of help to them. They will know what hrings joy and what brings sorrow. and, conformably to righteousness, they Will instruct the people of the provinces that they may be happy in this world and the next. . . . And as when one entrusts a child to a skilled nurse one is confident that . . , she Will care for it well. so have i appointed my governors for the welfare and happiness of the people. That they may fearlessly carry out their duties l have given them power to judge and to inflict punishment on their own initiative. i wish that there should be uniformity of }ustice and punishment. in numerous passages Ashol-ta stresses the hard work that the new policy demands of him. He has given tip many of the pleasures of the traditional Indian king. in— cluding. of course, hunting. in order to further it: [From the Eighth Rock Edict] ln the past, kings went out on pleasure trips and indulged in hunting and similar amusements. Btit the Beloved of the Gods . . . ten years after his consecration set out on the journey to Enlightenment.54 Now when he goes on tour . . . he interviews and gives gifts to brt‘ihinans and ascetics; he interviews and gives money to the aged; he interviews the people of the provinces and instructs and questions them on righteousness; and the plea sure which the Beloved of the Gods derives therefrom is as good as a second revenue, Theravada Buddhism 147 As we have seen, Asheka. though a Buddhist. respects brfihmans and the members of .ill sects. and he calls on his subjects to follow his example: [From the Twelfth Rock Edict] ,' h ‘ W T The Beloyed of the (rods . . . honors members of all sects, whether ascet» ics or householders, by gifts and various honors. But he I‘ I does not consider gifts and honors as important as tl I 1e furtherance of the essential message of all sects. This essential message varies from sect to sect common basis, that one should so control one‘ one's own sect or disparage anothet's occasions one should do so only mi should honor other men's btit it has one s tongue as not to honor on the wrong occasions; for on certain idly, and indeed on other occasions one sects. By doing this one strengthens one's own sect and helps the others whereas by doing otl'rerWise one harms one's own sect and does .-i disservice to the others, \X/hoevet honors his own sect and dispiirugcs another mans whether from blind lo L of showing hi~ own sect in a favorable light, d possible harm. Concord is best. With each yalty or with the intention oes his own sect the greatest ‘ I hearing and respecting the nth— ets teachings it is the wiin of the Beloved of the Gods that members of all sects should be learned and should te‘ich yittue. . I r ‘ t . Many officials are busted in this matter . _ . and the result is the progress of my own sect and the illumination of righteousnws. Although he was in no means .i rationalist, it <ippeiirs that Asholca thought little of the many rituals and ceremonies of lndian domestic life: [From the Ninth Rock Edict] j ‘ . I ‘ k W _ ‘ I . Pei pie perform \arious teii monies, at the marriage of sons and daughters. at the birth of children. when going on a journey . . or on other occa- smns. . . . On such occasions women especially perform many ceremonies that are various. futile. and useless. Even when they have to be done [to conform to custom and keep up appearances] such ceremonies are of little use. But the ceremonies of righteousness are of gteat ptofit~there are the good treatment of slaves and servants, ‘ one’s relations Wth living;I beings, gifts on;5 respect for elders, self—mastery in B f to brahman and aseetics, and so ut or their success everyone—fathers, mothers, brothers, masters, I48 Jainism and. Buddhism friends, acquaintances, and neighborrfimust agreei‘These are good! These are the ceremonies that we should perform for success in our undertakings and when we have succeeded we wtll perform them again!" Other ceremonies are of doubtful utility—one may achieve one's end through them or one may not. Moreover they are only of value in this world, whereas the value of the ceremonies of righteousness is eternal, for even if one does not achieve one's end in this world one stores up boundless merit in the other: yet if one achieves one's end in this world the gain is double. \We conclude this selection of the edicts of Ashoka with his last important inscrip— tion, In which the emperor, eighteen years after his conversion, reviews hrs reign: [From the Seventh Pillar Edict] in the rast, kinvs sourht to make the senile roiress in ri hteousness, but l e L» l l H they did not progress. . . . And I asked myself how i might uplift them through progress in righteousness. . . . Thus I decided to have them in; structed in righteousness, and to issue ordinances of righteousness, so that by hearing them the people might conform, advance in the progress of righteousness, and themselves make great progress. . . . For that purpose many officials are employed among the people to instruct them in righteous- ness and to explain it to them. Moreover I have had hanyan trees. planted on the roads to give shade to man and beast; l have planted mango groves, and l have had ponds dug and shelters erected along the roads at every eight kosdf‘ Everywhere 1 have had wells dug for the benefit of man and beast. But his benefit is but small. for in many ways the kings of olden time have worked for the welfare of the world; but what i have done has been done that men may conform to righteousness. All the good deeds. that l have done have been accepted and followed by the people. And so obedience to mother and father. obedience to teachers, respect for the aged, kindliness to brahmans and ascetics. to the poor and weak, and to slaves and servants, have increased and will continue to in” crease. . . . And this progress of righteousness among men has taken place in two manners, by enforcrng conformity to righteousness, and by exhorta' tion. 1 have enforced the law against killing certain animals and many oth’ ers, but the greatest progress of righteousness among men comes from eX' Theravada Buddhism I49 hortation in favor of noninjiii‘y to life and abstention from killing livinn ‘ rd t1 beings.“ l have done this that it may endure . . . as long as the moon and sun and that my sons and my great—grandsons may support it; for by supporting it they will gain both this world and the next. NOTES 1. "The Enlightened" or “Awakened.” The Buddha's real name was Siddhartha Gaiitama (Pali, Siddhartha Gotaiiia). 2. Literally, "beggars." This is the Fall form, used by the Theravada Buddhism. The Sanskrit form 15 hhiksu. Here the word is generally translated "monk." 3. in Sanskrit, Srhui'iriii‘cidii, but the Pali form is generally used, as Pali was the oihcral language of the sect, 4. The word “ilharmu” is employed in Buddhism a little diffeieiuly than in liin- duism and is stiictly iinrtanslatable in English. One leading authority has trans; lated it as “the Norm"; in our excerpts it is translated “the Doctrine," “Righ— teousness,” or “The Law of Righteousness" according to contexi. The term “dhm'mii” in Buddhism has also other connotations. Phenomena in general are dharmas, as are the qualities and characteristics oi phenomena. Thus, the Bud- dha’s last words might be translated: “Growing old is the dhatma of all com! posite things.“ 5. With the rise of the Mahayana form of Buddhism. Buddhist sects became dil Vided into two major groups. The newer sects referred to their doctrine as the “l‘viahfiyfma,” the Greater Vehicle (to salvation), and to their rivals1 as the “Hinavfina,” the Lesser Vehicle. \Ve have generally preferred to call the latter group “Theravada” from the name of its milj0f sect. 6. The ancient and now the official name of Banaras. 7. The chariot wheel in ancrent lndia symbolized empire; hence rhis phrase may be paraphrased as: “embarked on his expedition of conquest on behalf of the Kingdom of Righteousness.” in all quotations from the Pali scriptures. except where specified, reference is made to the Pall Text SoL‘iety's edition of the text. 9. “He who has thus attained,‘I one of the titles of the Buddha. IO. Sari. lit. “memory.” At all times the monk should as far as possible be fully conscious of his actions. words, and thoughts and be aware that the agent i5 not an enduring indiViclual, but a composite and transitory collection of mate- rial and psychic factors. II. Forms, sensations, perceptions, psychic dispositions, and consciousness. 12. In theory the origins of a monk, once he had become a full member of the Order, were irrelevant, but the authors of the Pali scriptures often mention the 150 Jainism and Buddhism I}. 14. 15. 22.. 24. 25. 27. fact that a given monk was of humhle birth. It would seem that they were not altogether free from class consciousness. The implication is that just as fire is caused by fuel and varies according to the fuel used, so consciousness is caused by the senses and their ohiects. and varies accordingly. Buddhism is a practical system, With the single aim of freeing living beings from suffering. This passage apparently implies that even the most fundamental doc— trines of Buddhism are only means to that end and must not be maintained dogmatically for their own sake. it suggests also that there may be higher truths, which can only be realized as Nirvana is approached. Here we are told that craving arises from contact, through sensation, whereas in the previous sentence contact arises from craVing. There is no real para- dox, because the chain is circular, and any one link is the cause of any other. The five components of individuality. The Buddha's son, who, after his father’s enlightenment, lf‘ccaiiie a monk. 0r “self” (tutu). The five components of individuality. One of the Buddha‘s chief disctples. This interesting passage will give the reader some notion of ancient lndian ideas of anatomy and physics, as it would have been assented to by most schools of thought. In many passages Buddhist texts admit only four elements. rejecting space, which is looked on as an element in orthodox Hindu theory. Friendliness, compassion, joy, and eqiianimity are the four cardinal \‘lrtUES of Buddhism. The state of mind in the last moments before death was considered extremely important in its effect on the next birth. Some of the Chinese and Japanese Buddhist sects perform rites at the deathbed similar to the Roman Catholic extreme uncrioti. The spirit of the world and the tlesh. the Buddhist Satan. The four cardinals virtues of Buddhism. The three “infliixes” (diam), the cardinal sins of Buddhism. The layman in Buddhism is expected to follow the example of Gautama in all the points of morality above, except. of course. that in place of complete celi» hacy legitimate sexual relations are allowed Many of the points that follow would he regarded as subjects of supererogation for the layman, though he might adhere to some of them for specified periods, it should be remembered. inciden‘ tally, that the vows of the Buddhist monk are not taken in perpetuity, and a Buddhist layman will often take the monk’s vows for a short period. That is, after midday. Vinayii Pitaka, 1.302 (Mtihfiwggu. 8.26). Skt. sanfitanaldliarma, a conventional term desrgnating “HinduismfI redefined here in terms of Buddhist ethics. The commentator Buddhaghosa gives a quaint example of the conduct of such Theravada Buddhism 151 a false friend—you send a message asking him to lend you his cart, and he replies that the axle is broken. 32. These verses are undoubtedly popular gnomic poetry. adapted with little or no 41. 42. 43- 44- 45- alteration to Buddhist purposes. They effectively give the lie to the picture, still popular in some circles, of ancient lndia as a land of “plain living and high thinking." The last three verses are evidently the product of a society quite acquisitive as that of presentvday Europe or America. The commentator Bud- dhaghosa found them difficult, for the ideal layman is here said to plow half his income back into his trade, but to deVote nothing to religious or charitable causes. The phenomenal rate of reinvestment advocated suggests a rapidly ex- panding economy. If we are to believe the pilgrim, who may have exaggerated somewhat. . Abhassuru, the third Buddhist heaven, above the W’orld of Brahma. The change of tense occurs in the original. It is hardly necessary to say that these etymologies of khattiyti and itijii are false, as are those that follow. They are significant nevertheless. it is noteworthy that in the l’ali scriptures the kshatriya is regularly mentioned before the bral‘iinaii. According to the coi‘niiieniary, the three Vedas. An untranslatal‘le play on words. A/ffllj)’dfid means a nonlmeditiitor, and (mild)!- akd a reCiter or teacher of the Vedas. A Universal Emperor (Pali, Crikktivutti; ski. (jukriiviimn) is a figure of cosmic significance and corresponds on the material plane to a Buddha on the spiritual. Thus, according to the legend of the Buddha, it was prophesred at the birth of Siddhartha Gautama that he would either become a Buddha or a Universal Emperor. Universal Emperors invariably have the Seven Jewels, which are per— fect specimens of their kinds, and are the magical insignia of their owners, The W'oman is of course the chief queen. in most lists the Crown Prince takes the place of the Householder. The Universal Emperor is not thoroughly adapted to the ethics of Buddhism, and, although he conquers by force of character, even the Buddhist author cannot disconnect him wholly from the usual militancy of the Indian king. These are the five precepts that all Buddhist laymen must do their best to follow. Note the respect paid to popular religion, which Buddhism adapted in the cults of the sacred tree and the stupa, and later in that of the image. Dfmmmmit‘idi: Our translation is on the basis of Buddhaghosa's commentary as generally interpreted. Dr. A. K. \X/arder suggests that the term may here mean “a teacher maintaining that the world is governed by natural law." According to the Pirrusa Sfikta (Rg Veda, [0.90), brahmans are born from the head of the primeval man, whereas the other three classes are born from his arms, trunk, and feet, respectively. . The coastal region comprising the modern Orissa and the northern part of An— dhra State. 152 Jainism and Buddhism 47. Note that Ashoka has by no means completely abandoned the use of force. This passage probably refers to the tribesnien oi the hills and jungles, who still occasionally cause trouble for the govemment in Assam and in other parts of india, and who in ancient days were a much greater problem, Antiochiis ll Theos of Syria, Ptolemy Il Philadelphus of Egypt, Antigoniis Gon— aras ol Macedonia, Magas of Cyrene. and Alexander of Epirus. Classical sources tell us nothing about Asholta‘s “victories of righteousness“ over these kings. Probably he sent envoys to them. urging them to accept his new policy and his moral leadership. Evidently he never gave up his imperial ambitions, hilt at- tempted to further them in a benevolent spirit and Without recourse to aniis. Some authorities have pilt different interpretations on the relevant phrases, hut in our opinion there can be little doubt about their meaning. There is some reason to believe that the adverb implies the royal capital of 48. 4c;- Pataliputra, - . Stimdiii, generally interpreted as a air or fesrival, bur perhaps a society or club. A tone of rather pompous puritanism is sometimes ei’ideiil in the edicts and suggesrs a less congenial side of Ashoka's charaCter. 52. Tamil kingdoms. in the southern tip or the peninsula, 53. The Chief town of Kalinga, the region conquered by Asholta in his last war of aggression. This phrase probably merely implies that Ashoka made a pilgrimage to the Bodhi Tree at Gayfi. 55. \Vith this compare the Admonition to Sirigi‘ila (,pp. iio ff). so. Skr. lous'ii: calling distance, or about two miles; thus here, intervals or about 54- sixleen miles, or a day‘s Journey. 57. For all his humanitarianism Asholta did not abolish the death penalry, as did some later lndiiin kings. Chapter 6 MAHAYANA BUDDHISM: “THE GREATER VEHICLE” From about the first or second century onward, a new and very different kind of Buddhism arose in india. The new school, which claimed to offer salvation for all, styled itself Mahayana, the Greater Vehicle (to salvation), as opposed to the older Buddhism, which it contempuously referred to as Hiriciydmi, or the Lesser Vehicle. The Mahayana scriptures also claimed to represent the final doctrines of the Buddha, revealed only to his most spira itiially advanced followers, Whereas the earlier doctrines were viewed as merely preliminary. Though Mahayana Buddhisiri, with its pantheon of heavenly buddhas and bodhisartvas and its idealistic metaphysics, was strikingly difv ferent in many respects from the Hinayana, of which the main body was the Theravada, it can be viewed as the development into finished systems of tendencies that had existed long before—a development favored and ac- celerated by the great historic changes taking place in northwestern India at that time. For over two hundred years, from the beginning of the second century ac. onward, this region was the prey of a succession of invaders— Bactrian Greeks. Scythians, Parthians, and a Central Asian people gener- ally known to historians of India as Kushanas. As a result of these invasions Iranian and Western influences were felt much more strongly than before, and new peoples, with backgrounds very different from those of the folk among whom the religion arose, began to take interest in Buddhism. A tendency to revere the Buddha as a god had probably existed in his own lifetime. in indian religion, divinity is not somethng completely tranv Spendent, or far exalted above all mortal things, as it is for the Jew, Chris- tian, or Muslim; neither is it something concentrated in a single unique, omnipotent. and omnisctent personality. in Indian religions godhead man- lfests itself in so many forms as to be almost if not quite ubiquitous, and every great sage or religious teacher is loode on as a specral manifestation 0f divinity, in some sense a god in human form, How much more divine ...
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