Great Mauryan Emperor of India use the concept of dhamma

According to the stories which surround Ashoka, he began his rule in fratricidal bloodshed and violence towards conquered people. Yet within a short period of time, Ashoka changed his policies completely to become a model ruler. By modifying a concept that was well known amongst Hindus, Buddhists and Jains of his time (the concept of dharma, or dhamma), he developed a unique system for governing the largest Indian empire of ancient times. While Ashoka's dhamma policy was avowedly peaceful and paternalistic, it gave India decades of peace in which the country prospered. It was not a vaguely idealistic policy but one which was backed by brilliantly pragmatic statesmanship and public relations.

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... that in these years Ashoka killed off all rivals to the throne. Buddhist sources indicate that in the eighth year of Ashoka's rule, he went to war against the people of Kalinga. In the battle which resulted, hundred of thousands of people were either killed or taken captive. These sources point out that Ashoka was so filled with remorse at the slaughter that he became a Buddhist. Because Buddhist monks wish Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism to appear as a miracle, the picture we get of Ashoka prior to Kalinga is therefore as black as possible to make his conversion seem all the more miraculous.

It is unlikely that Ashoka became a Buddhist in quite the dramatic fashion that Buddhist sources would have us believe. His family have a background of more than one religion. For instance, his grandfather Chandragupta Maurya was of the Jain faith. Ashoka had therefore been in contact with more than one religion. The facts seem to indicate, despite what the Buddhist sources say, that Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism was a gradual process, which became more rapid in the latter years of his reign.

Ashoka's Dhamma

Ashoka's most famous policy was his adoption of government by dhamma or righteousness. Dhamma, as Ashoka interpreted it, was not quite the same as the Hindus or Buddhists viewed it. It had a broader meaning. It was an ethical code which is common to all religions, including western religions such as Christianity. Ashoka's dhamma meant abstinence from killing and cruelty and the pursuit of truthfulness, purity and the ability to forgive. Ashoka himself defined his dhamma as 'consideration towards slaves and servants, obedience to mother and father, generosity towards friends, acquaintances and relatives and towards priests and monks'. In another instance he said, 'Father and mother must be obeyed, respect for living creatures must be enforced, truth must be spoken'.

Government by Dhamma

As a result of Ashoka's policy of dhamma, there was a general relaxation of the sterner government rule which had previously existed. Ashoka built hospitals for the people, he planted shady trees and built roadside shelters for travellers. All men were his children, and he instructed his governors to rule as he had decreed. If the governors failed to do this, he rebuked them. Animal sacrifices were banned and instead of the hunting trips which had previously been the favourite sport of kings, Ashoka travelled throughout the country to ensure the welfare of his people. Virtually no meat was eaten in the palace in order to spare the lives of animals.

While Ashoka was a humanitarian, he was also a clever political leader. He had inherited a vase empire from his father and grandfather. After the Kalingan campaign he ...