King Aśoka’s <i>Dhaṃma</i>

Alf Hiltebeitel

in Dharma

Published by University of Hawaii Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780824834661
Published online November 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780824870713
King Aśoka’s Dhaṃma

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This chapter looks at King Aśoka's dhaṃma. Aśoka was not just a king but an emperor, and he used his edicts to broadcast an imperial program. Chronologically, Aśoka's edicts were written between about 260 and 240 BCE and can be traced through that part of his reign. In using the term dhaṃma, Aśoka is familiar with its having some specific connotations. For one thing, he is perfectly clear in some inscriptions that he associates it with Buddhism, in its sense of referring to the Buddha's “teaching,” which had made him a convert. Aśoka was also aware that dhaṃma carried older Brahmanical implications of royal authority.

Keywords: King Aśoka; dhaṃma; imperialism; Buddhism; Buddha's teaching; royal authority

Chapter.  2385 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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