Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-v

Contents

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pp. vii-ix

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Preface

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pp. xi-xii

I have tried, in this book, to be true to a text and to a context. The text is the Sanskrit work known as the Asokavadana which tells, from a Buddhist point of view, the story of an Indian emperor of the third century B.C., Asoka Maurya....

Part One. Aśoka and His Legend

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1. The Legend and Its Background

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pp. 3-37

When King Asoka acceded to the Mauryan throne circa 270 B.C., he inherited an empire that extended from Bengal in the East to Afghanistan in the Northwest. His grandfather Candragupta had founded the dynasty, conquering the whole...

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2. Dirt and Dharma: Kingship in the Aśokāvadāna

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pp. 38-70

The study of Buddhist conceptions of kingship has come a long way since Max Weber, in 1916, declared that early Buddhism was a classic example of other worldly mysticism divorced from any real involvement in political rule or in...

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3. King and Layman: Aśoka's Relationship to the Buddhist Community

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pp. 71-100

The question of kingship in the Asokavadana is intimately bound up with the equally important matter of Asoka's relationship to the Buddhist community of monks, the sangha. Students of Buddhism have long been fascinated by this topic...

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4. Aśoka and the Buddha

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pp. 101-133

It should be clear from the discussion in the last chapter that the question of Asoka's relationship to the Buddhist community is intimately tied up with that of Asoka's relationship to the person of the Buddha....

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5. Aśoka: Master of Good Means and Merit Maker

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pp. 134-161

In an interesting story preserved in the last chapter of the A-yii wang chuan, but not in the Sanskrit text of the Asokavadana, we read of Asoka's visit to a soothsayer attached to his royal court. The diviner tells him that he bears on his...

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Conspectus

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pp. 162-165

The study of any religious text is as much an exploration of a world of meaning as it is a dissection of the meaning of words. We have in the first part of this book, tried to examine certain aspects of the world of meaning1...

Part Two. The Legend of Aśoka: A Translation of the Aśokāvadāna

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Introduction to the Translation

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pp. 169-171

The following translation of the Sanskrit text of the Aśokāvadāna is, as far as I know, the first one to be available in the English language. It is based on Sujitkumar Mukhopadhyaya's annotated edition of the text,...

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The Legend of Aśoka

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pp. 173-294

In the presence of our teachers for whom the mud-piles of passion, hatred, delusion, intoxication, arrogance, duplicity, and rascality have all been washed away by the flowing rain showers of the words of the Blessed...

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Appendix. Sanskrit Legends about Aśoka Not Appearing in the Aśokāvadāna

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pp. 295-303

There are a number of stories about Asoka no longer extant in the Sanskrit text of the Aśokāvadāna that have been preserved, however, in Chinese translation in various other sources. The following are summaries of some...

Glossary

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pp. 305-311

Bibliography of Works Cited

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pp. 313-327

Index

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pp. 329-336