The Emperor Asoka Speaks

All men are my children.
As for my own children I desire that
they may be provided with all the welfare and happiness of this world and of the next, so do I desire for all men as well.

Asoka, also spelled Ashoka (died around 238 BC, India), last major emperor in the Mauryan dynasty of India. His patronage of Buddhism during his reign (approx. 265 to 238 BC) furthered the expansion of that religion throughout India and subsequently beyond the frontiers of the country. Following his bloody conquest of Kalinga (approximately corresponding to the modern state of Orissa on India's east coast), Asoka renounced armed conquest and adopted a policy he called conquest by dharma (principles of right life).

He adopted a policy of respect towards all religions and guaranteed them full freedom to live according to their principles, but also urged them to "increase their inner worthiness," exhorting them to respect the creeds of others, praise the good qualities of others and refrain from vehement adverse criticism of the viewpoints of others.

By dharma he understood the energetic practice of the virtues of honesty, truthfulness, compassion, mercifulness, benevolence, nonviolence, considerate behavior toward all, nonextravagance, nonacquisitiveness and noninjury to animals.

(Based on Asoka article in The New Encyclopaedia Britannica)

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