A) Explain the Importance of Asoka for Early Buddhism

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Asoka was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from 268 BC to 232 B, and he died in 239 BC. In the history of India, Asoka is referred to as Samraat Chakravartin Asoka – the "Emperor of Emperors Asoka"; His name means "painless, without sorrow" in Sanskrit. One of India's greatest emperors, Asoka reigned over most of present-day India after a number of military conquests and played a critical role in helping make Buddhism a world religion. As the peace-loving ruler of one of the world’s largest, richest and most powerful multi-ethnic states, he is considered an exemplary ruler, who tried to put into practice a secular state ethic of non-violence. Although he taught in the end peaceful and loving ways, the beginning of Asoka’s life was not quite so kind. He came to power in 268BC only after slaying the other claimants to the throne of Magadha- including his own older brothers. He expanded his empire through ways of violence and military conquest rather than peaceful treaties. His domain now covered roughly the territory of modern India except for the extreme south and for the first time in Indian history Asoka united the whole subcontinent under a single leader. However it was Asoka’s campaign against Kalinga that suddenly changed the emperor’s values . It is said to have been swift, brutal and successful but he was so horrified by the carnage inflicted by himself and his men that he began to question his violent ways. The battle caused the deaths of more than 100,000 soldiers and many civilians who rose up in defence; over 150,000 were deported. When he was walking through the grounds of Kalinga after his conquest, rejoicing in his victory, he was moved by the number of bodies strewn there and the wails of the kith and kin of the dead and cried out “What have I done? If this is a victory, what's a defeat then? Is
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