Profile of Ashoka
Ashoka is remembered for giving Buddhism
Hi, I'm Zach Toombs for About.com and today we'll be talking about the ancient Indian emperor Ashoka.Ashoka ruled territory that makes up much of modern-day India during the third century B.C.E. He led the Maurya Empire, which was established shortly after Alexander the Great's armies withdrew from the area.Ashoka is remembered for giving Buddhism a massive push across his kingdom. He encouraged Buddhist thinking in public and private life and supported the Buddhist monastic tradition, which continues in the country to this day.Writings about Ashoka's life depict him as a conquering general early in his reign, but say he converted to Buddhism after seeing the destruction wrought by the Kalinga War.His conversion prompted him to codify the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path into Indian law, along with religious tolerance, social welfare, and even environmentalism.Ashoka's laws are known largely through his edicts, which were inscribed on 24 pillars around the country.Those pillars still permeate Indian symbolism. A 24-spoked chakra representing the pillars is at the center of India's flag. And the country's national emblem features the capital of the most famous pillar, a sculpture of four lions back to back.Thanks for watching our quick look at the Indian King Ashoka. For more information, check out About.com.