- He was born in 304 BCE in Pataliputra, the capital of the Mauryan Empire.
- His father was Bindusara, the second Mauryan emperor, and his mother was Subhadrangi.
- He had three wives: Maharani Devi, Asandhimitra, and Tishyaraksha.
- He had four children: Mahinda, Sanghamitta, Kunala, and Tivala.
- He ascended to the throne in 268 BCE after a bloody war of succession.
- He conquered Kalinga in 260 BCE, a war that left him deeply traumatized.
- He renounced war and adopted Buddhism after the Kalinga War.
- He sent missionaries to spread Buddhism throughout Asia.
- He built hospitals, schools, and other public works projects.
- He promoted the principles of dharma, or righteous conduct, throughout his empire.
- The Kalinga War: The Kalinga War was a bloody conflict that took place in 261 BCE. Ashoka’s army defeated the Kalinga forces, but the war resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. This war had a profound impact on Ashoka, and he is said to have renounced violence and adopted a policy of non-violence after the war.
- The murder of his brothers: According to Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Ashoka’s father, Bindusara, had 100 sons. When Bindusara died, Ashoka’s half-brother, Susima, was the rightful heir to the throne. However, Ashoka had Susima and his other brothers murdered so that he could become king.
- The promotion of Buddhism: Ashoka became a devout Buddhist after the Kalinga War. He promoted Buddhism throughout his empire by building stupas, monasteries, and other Buddhist monuments. He also sent missionaries to spread Buddhism to other parts of Asia, including Sri Lanka.
- The spread of Buddhism: Ashoka’s efforts to spread Buddhism were successful. Buddhism became the dominant religion in much of Asia, and it continues to be practiced by millions of people around the world today.
- The building of stupas and other Buddhist monuments: Ashoka is credited with building many stupas and other Buddhist monuments. These monuments are still standing today and are important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists.
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