Qualities of Kingship within "The Edicts of Ashoka"

Essay by twinkiepinkCollege, UndergraduateA+, September 2006

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Within "The Edicts of Ashoka", there are many qualities of kingship present. It contains the practical applications of Buddhism, further shown by the actions the king takes in response to his people. King Priyadarsi is a deep believer of his faith, and chooses to lead by example so his own people follow that same belief and hopefully practice it as well in the years to come.

A clear instance lies within idea of forgiveness. The King believes that a person who wrongs him can be forgiven and be able to take a second chance at life ( Nikam & Mckeon p28). He has the power to forgive but also to punish. Punishment is incurred on those who have taken upon misdoings. Priyadarsi hopes that this encourages people to stop from their crime and is an incentive to escape execution. A moral person an individual must become to practice dharma, this where previous kings have fallen but Priyadarsi swears to make right.

He knows that this achieving morality and practicing dharma is a difficult task to embark on. However, "he who performs a good deed accomplishes a difficult task," thus going that one must start with little steps here and there. He believes that all creatures - no matter what their nature - deserves security, self-control, impartiality and cheerfulness. Animals and humans alike, begin to celebrate his ideas.

King Priyadarsi employs this dharma to all his conquered territory, and his ideas have reached regions where his people have not. To the King, this is pure satisfaction and a step closer to his idea of dharma as a way of life to spread on to future generations.