The Biographical Scripture of King Asoka
- About the Book
In the Chinese Tripitaka there are two texts giving legendary accounts of the life of King Ashoka, the third Maurya ruler of Magadha. The first is the Biography of King Ashoka. The second text is Samghapala's Chinese translation of the Sutra of King Ashoka in ten fascicles, upon which the present English translation is based.
This biographical work gives accounts of the major events in the life of King Ashoka that are historically verifiable through comparative studies of reliable written records and archeological findings. Although the exact date of the original text is unascertainable, it may be said that it was composed no earlier than 184 B.C.E, when the Maurya dynasty collapsed, because this event is evident in the work.
Besides recounting the major events in the life of King Ashoka, this work devotes half of its space to stories concerning the six patriarchs who succeeded the Buddha in transmitting the Dharma: Mahakasyapa, Ananda, Madhyantika, Sanakavasin, Upagupta, and Dhitika. It also includes some stories for the elucidation of the Dharma.
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