Minor Rock Edicts of Ashoka
Below are the translation of original Edicts of Ashoka.
Minor Rock Edict – I
Gavimath, Karnataka version, issued in 257 B.C. This edict is found in twelve different places.
Beloved-of-the-Gods speaks thus: It is now more than two and a half years since I became a lay-disciple, but until now I have not been very zealous. But now that I have visited the Sangha for more than a year, I have become very zealous. Now the people in India who have not associated with the gods do so. This is the result of zeal and it is not just the great who can do this. Even the humble, if they are zealous, can attain heaven. And this proclamation has been made with this aim. Let both humble and great be zealous, let even those on the borders know and let zeal last long. Then this zeal will increase, it will greatly increase, it will increase up to one-and-a-half times. This message has been proclaimed two hundred and fifty-six times by the king while on tour.
Minor Rock Edict – II
This edict was found in Brahmagiri, Karnataka.
Beloved-of-the-Gods speaks thus: Father and mother should be respected and so should elders, kindness to living beings should be made strong and the truth should be spoken. In these ways, the Dhamma should be promoted. Likewise, a teacher should be honored by his pupil and proper manners should be shown towards relations. This is an ancient rule that conduces to long life. Thus should one act. Written by the scribe Chapala.
Minor Rock Edict – III
This edict was found inscribed on a small rock near the town of Bairat and is now housed at the Asiatic Society in Calcutta.
Piyadasi, King of Magadha, saluting the Sangha and wishing them good health and happiness, speaks thus: You know, reverend sirs, how great my faith in the Buddha, the Dhamma and Sangha is. Whatever, reverend sirs, has been spoken by Lord Buddha, all that is well-spoken. I consider it proper, reverend sirs, to advise on how the good Dhamma should last long.
These Dhamma texts — Extracts from the Discipline, the Noble Way of Life, the Fears to Come, the Poem on the Silent Sage, the Discourse on the Pure Life, Upatisa’s Questions, and the Advice to Rahula which was spoken by the Buddha concerning false speech — these Dhamma texts, reverend sirs, I desire that all the monks and nuns may constantly listen to and remember. Likewise the laymen and laywomen. I have had this written that you may know my intentions.
The Queen’s Edict
On the order of the Beloved of the Gods, the officers everywhere are to be instructed that whatever may be the gift of the second queen, whether a mango-grove, a monastery, an institution for dispensing charity or any other donation, it is to be counted to the credit of that queen ……the second queen, the mother of Tivala, Karuvaki.
The Barabar Cave Inscriptions
- The king Piyadassi, when he had been consecrated twelve years, gave the Banyan Cave to the Ajivikas.
- The king Piyadassi, when he had been consecrated twelve years, gave this cave on the Khalatika mountain to the Ajivikas.
- The king Piyadassi, consecrated since nineteen years.
Kandahar bilingual inscription
[Greek Version], Ten years being completed king Piyadassi showed piety (i.e. Dhamma) to men. And from that time [onwards] he made men more pious. And all things prosper throughout the whole world. And the king refrains from [eating] living beings, and indeed other men and whosoever [were] the king’s huntsmen and fishermen have ceased from hunting, and those who were without control [over themselves] have ceased as far as possible from their lack of [self-] control, and [have become] obedient to father and mother and to elders, such as was not the case before. And in future, doing all these things, they will live more agreeably and better than before.
[Aramaic Version], Ten years having passed, our Lord the king Piyadassi, decided to instruct men in Dhamma. Since then, evil among men has diminished in the world. Among those who have suffered it has disappeared, and there is joy and peace in the whole world. And even in another matter, that which concerns eating, our Lord the king kills very few animal.
Seeing this the rest of the people have also ceased from killing animals. Even those who catch fish, their activity has been prohibited. Similarly those that were without restraint have now learnt restraint. Obedience to mother and father, and elders, and conformity with the obligations implied in this, is now in practice. There are no more trials for men of piety. Thus the practise of Dhamma is of value to all men, and it will continue to be so.
Maski Rock Edict
A reconstruction of the edict reads thus: “For two and a half years I am a lay worshipper of
Buddha. (For more than)…I have gone to…the Sangha…I have gone to…Before in Jambudvipa…now they have become mixed…This purpose is even able to be attained by a lowly person who is joined with dharma. It is not only to be seen that a high person might attain this. It is to be said to a lowly person and a high person…Doing thus…Thus (it will be) long standing and will increase (up to) one and half.” The edict is highly fragmented.