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HIST 1111 MGSU Ashokas Edicts on Rocks & Sandstone Pillars Discussion

HIST 1111 MGSU Ashokas Edicts on Rocks & Sandstone Pillars Discussion

Question Description

I’m working on a history discussion question and need the explanation and answer to help me learn.


The first major empire in the history of the Indian subcontinent was the Maurya Empire (322-184 BCE). Our sources for studying it are few in number or were written by outside observers. As such, historians have greatly benefited from the discovery and compilation of the rock and pillar edicts of the Maurya emperor Ashoka (ruled 268-232 BCE). Ashoka had edicts inscribed on rocks and sandstone pillars in populous areas where people gathered, so that they could read them or, if they were illiterate, hear his officials read them out loud.


First, read “The Mauryan Empire (321 – 184 BCE),” and read Selections from the Edicts of King Ashoka. Answer the questions included below.

In the edicts of King Ashoka, he used terms like Dharma and Karma to steadily move his people away from violence towards each other and other sentient life, even to the point of not harming animals for food.

Imagine that you are a citizen of his empire at this time and not a Buddhist yet, what argument do you feel would be the most compelling to help stop you eating meat and moving towards vegetarianism? To stop violence and warfare? How do these relate to your own cultural and social beliefs? Please be specific and careful to define terms like Dharma and Karma and the precepts of Buddhism and connect them to your own worldview.

In your opinion, do you feel any of Ashoka’s edicts are relevant today? Provide examples from your own experiences as a global citizen in the 21st century. (you might consider issues such as social welfare, factory farming, and contemporary war among nation-states, among others)

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