1. Asoka. Auch Dhammasoka genannt. König von Magadha. Er war der Sohn von Bindusāra. Bindusāra hatte sechzehn Frauen, die ihm 101 Söhne gebaren.

The chief Pāli sources of information bezüglich Asoka are Dīpavamsa (chaps. i., v., vi., vii., xi., etc.), Mahāvamsa (v., xi., xx., etc.), Samantapāsādikā (pp. 35 ff. ). Other sources are the Divyāvadāna passim, und the Avadānasataka ii.200ff. For an exhaustive discussion of the sources und their contents siehe Prszlyski, La Legende de l'Empereur Asoka.

The Pāli Chronicles (Dīpavamsa und Mahāvamsa) mention nur drei of the sons, viz. Sumana (Susīma according to the northern legends) the eldest, Asoka, und Tissa (uterine Bruder von Asoka) the youngest. The Mahāvamsa Tīka (p.125; Mbv.98. In the northern tradition, z.B., Asokāvadānamālā, she is called Subhadrāngī, Tochter von a Brahmanen of Campā) gives the name of sein Mutter as Dhammā und calls her Aggamahesī (Bindusāra's chief Königin); she belonged to the Moriyavamsa. The preceptor of Dhammā's family was an ājīvaka called Janasāna (which wahrscheinlich explains Asoka's earlier patronage of the ājīvakas).

In sein youth Asoka was appointed Governor of Avanti mit sein capital at Ujjeni. The Divy. says he was in Takkasilā mit headquarters in Uttarāpatha, where he superseded Susīma und quelled a rebellion. When Bindusāra lay on sein death-bed, Asoka left Ujjeni und came to Pātalīputta where he made himself master of die Stadt und possessor of the throne. He is stated in the Mahāvamsa (v.20; Mbv.98) to have killed all sein Bruders except Tissa that he might accomplish sein purpose, und to have been called Candāsoka on account of this outrage (Mhv.v.189). It is impossible to say how much truth there is in this account of the accession. Asoka's Rock Edicts seem to indicate that he had numerous Bruders, sisters und relations alive at the time they were written in Pātaliputta und other towns (see Mookherji, Asoka, pp. 3-6). His Bruder Tissa he appointed as sein uparāja (Mhv.v.33), aber Tissa (q.v.) wurde a religious devotee attaining arahantship. The Theragāthā Kommentar refers to another younger Bruder von Asoka, Vitasoka, who auch wurde an arahant (i.295f. The northern works give quite a different account of sein Bruders. Siehe Mookherji, p.6).

Asoka had several wives. His first wife was the Tochter von a Kaufmann of Vedisagiri, whom he met when stopping at the Kaufmann's house on sein way to Ujjeni (Mhv.xiii.8ff). Her name was Devī, auch called Vedisa-Mahādevī, und she was a Sākyan, descended from a Sākyan family who migrated to Vedisa to escape from Vidūdabha (Mbv., pp.98, 116). Of Devī were born a Sohn Mahinda, und a Tochter Sanghamittā, who wurde the wife of Aggibrahmā und Mutter of Sumana. Devī offensichtlich did not follow Asoka to Pātaliputta, for sein aggamahesī there was Asandhamittā (Mhv.v.85). Asandhamittā died in the thirtieth year of Asoka's reign, und vier Jahre later he raised Tissarakkhā to the rank of Königin. Mhv.xx.1-3. The Allahabad Pillar Inscription mentions another Königin, Kāruvākī, Mutter of Tivara. The Divy. (chap. xxvii.) gives another, Padmāvatī, Kunāla's Mutter. Besides the children erwähnt above, names of others are given: Jalauka, Cārumatī (Mookherji. p.9).

According to Mahāvamsa (v.21, 22), Asoka's accession was 218 Jahre after the Buddha's death und sein coronation was vier Jahre later. The chronicles (v.22ff) contain various stories of sein miraculous powers. His command spread a yojana into the air und a yojana unter the earth. The devas supplied ihm daily mit water from the Anotatta Lake und mit other luxuries from an anderer Stelle. Yakkhas, Nāgas und even mice und karavīka birds ministered to sein comfort, und thoughtful animals came und died outside sein kitchen in order to provide ihm mit food.

At first Asoka maintained the alms instituted by sein Vater, aber soon, being disappointed in the recipients, he began looking out for holy men. It was then that he saw from sein window, sein nephew, the young novice Nigrodha. Owing to their Freundehip in a letzten Geburt (Asoka, Devanampiyatissa und Nigrodha had been Bruders, traders in honey, und they gab honey to a Pacceka Buddha. Asandhamittā had been the maiden who showed the honey-shop to the Pacceka Buddha. Die Geschichte is given in Mhv.v.49ff), Asoka was at once drawn to ihm und invited ihm into the palace. Nigrodha preached to ihm the Appamādavagga und the König was greatly pleased. He ceased sein benefactions to other religious orders und transferred sein patronage to Nigrodha und members of the Buddhist Order. His wealth, which, according to the Samantapāsādikā (i.52), amounted to 500,000 pieces daily, he now spent in doing acts of piety - giving 100,000 to Nigrodha to be used in any manner he wished, a like sum for the offering of perfumes und Blumen at der Buddha's shrines, 100,000 for the preaching of the Dhamma, 100,000 for the provision of comforts for members of the Order, und the remainder for medicines for the sick. To Nigrodha, in addition to other gifts, he sent sets of Roben drei times each day, placing them on the back of an elephant, adorned by festoons of Blumen. Nigrodha gab these Roben to other Mönche (MA.ii.931).

Having learnt from Moggaliputta-Tissa that there were 84,000 sections of the Dhamma, he built in various towns an equal number of vihāras, und in Pātaliputta he errichtete the Asokārāma. With the aid of the Nāga König Mahākāla, he created a life-size figure of der Buddha, to which he made great offerings.

His two children, Mahinda und Sanghamittā, aged respectively zwanzig und eighteen, he ordained unter Moggaliputta-Tissa und Dhammapālā, in the sixth year of sein reign (MA.v.197, 209). This raised ihm from a paccadāyaka to a sāsanadāyādin.

In order to purge the Order of undesirable Mönche und heretical doctrines, Moggaliputta-Tissa held the Third Council unter der König's patronage. Es wird gesagt that the pious Mönche refused to hold the uposatha mit those they considered unworthy. Der König, desirous of bringing about unity in the Sangha, sent a minister to restore amity, aber the minister, misunderstanding sein orders, beheaded viele holy Mönche, being at last stopped by der König's Bruder Tissa, who was then ein Mönch (MA.vs.240ff).

At the conclusion of the Council, held in the seventeenth year of sein reign (Ibid., 280; in the northern texts Moggaliputta-Tissa's name is given as Upagupta. It was for this Council that the Kathāvatthu was written), Asoka sent forth theras to propagate der Buddha's religion: Majjhantika to Kasmīra und Gandhāra, Mahādeva to Mahisamandala, Rakkhita to Vanavāsa, Yona Dhammarakkhita to Aparantaka, Mahārakkhita to Yona, Majjhima to the Himālaya country und Sona und Uttara to Suvannabhūmi; Mahinda mit Itthiya, Uttiya, Sambala und Bhaddasāla he sent to Lankā (Ibid., xii.1-8. For particulars of these missions und identification of the places erwähnt, siehe unter the different names; this list appears auch in the Samantapāsādikā, where further interesting details are given. For a discussion on them siehe Mookherji, pp.33ff). In the achtzehn year of sein reign he sent to Lankā, at Devanampiyatissa's request, Sanghamittā, mit a branch of the great Bodhi Tree at Buddhagayā (Mhv.xx.1). A little earlier he had sent by sein grandson Sumana, some relics of der Buddha und der Buddha's alms-bowl to be deposited in the thūpas of Lankā (Mhv.xvii.10f).

Asoka regierte for thirty-seven Jahre (Mhv.xx.6). In sein later life he came to be called Dhammāsoka on account of sein pious deeds (Mhv.v.189). The Dīpavamsa gives sein name in several places as Piyadassī. z.B., vi.1, 2, 25. The title Devānampiya used by Asoka in sein inscriptions was auch used by Tissa, Asoka's contemporary in Ceylon, und by Asoka's grandson Dasaratha (Nāgarjunī Hill Cave Inscription). It was used auch by other kings in Ceylon: Vankanāsika Tissa, Gajabāhukagāminī und Mahallaka-Nāga (Ep. Zeyl. i.60.f).

The Chronicles state that Asoka und Devanampiya Tissa of Ceylon had been Freunde - though they had never seen each other - even before Mahinda's mission to Ceylon. Tissa had sent him, as a friendly gesture, various gifts, und Asoka had returned the courtesy. He sent an embassy of sein chosen ministers, bearing gifts marvellous in splendour, that Tissa might go through a second coronation ceremony, und the messengers were directed to give this special message to the König: "I have taken refuge in der Buddha, Dhamma und Sangha und declared myself a follower of the religion of the Sākyaputta. Seek then, even thou, oh best of men, converting thy mind mit believing heart, refuge in these best of gems." (Mhv.xi.18-36)

The Milindapanha (p.121) mentions an encounter of Asoka mit a courtesan of Pātaliputta, Bindumatī, who, in order to show der König the power of an Act of Truth, made the waters of the Ganges to flow back. According to the Petavatthu Atthakathā (244ff) there was a König of Surattha, called Pingala, who used to visit Asoka in order to give ihm counsel. Perhaps he was an old friend oder tutor of der König.

Asoka is called a dīpacakkavatti as opposed to padesarājās like Bimbisāra und Pasenadi (Sp.ii.309).

Asoka had drei palaces for the drei seasons: Mahāsappika, Moragīva und Mangala (Ras.i.93).

2. Asoka.-See Kālāsoka.

3. Asoka.-See Vītāsoka.

4. Asoka.-Ein Brahmanen In der Zeit von Kassapa Buddha. He provided acht meals daily for the Mönche und entrusted the distribution of them to sein serving-woman Bīranī. Mhv.xxvii.11.

5. Asoka.-Attendant to Vipassī Buddha (J.i.41; Bu.xx.28). He war einmal ill und was cured by a doctor who, in this age, was Tikicchaka (Tekicchakānī) Thera. Ap.i.190; ThagA.i.442.

6. Asoka.-The chief disciple of the future Buddha Metteyya (Anāgatavamsa. v.97). According to the Mahāvamsa (xxxii.81) he should be identifiziert mit Dutthagāmanī.

7. Asoka.-Ein Mönch of Ñātikā. Once when der Buddha was staying at Ñātikā in the Giñjakāvasatha, Ananda mentions to der Buddha that Asoka Thera had died, und asks where he had gone. Der Buddha tells ihm that Asoka was an arahant und had realised Nibbana. S.i.358.

8. Asoka.-See Anoma (7).

9. Asoka.-A mountain near Himavā. There, In der Zeit von Sumedha Buddha, Vissakamma built a hermitage. Ap.ii.342.

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