The Legend of King Asoka: A Study and Translation of Asokavadana


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This is the first English translation of the Asokavadana text, the Sanskrit version of the legend of King Asoka, first written in the second century A.D. Emperor of during the third century B.C. and one of the most important rulers in the history of Buddhism. Asoka has hitherto been studied in the West primarily from his edicts and rock inscriptions in many parts of the Indian subcontinent. Through an extensive critical essay and a fluid translation, John Strong examines the importance of the Asoka of the legends for our overall understanding of Buddhism. Professor Strong contrasts the text with the Pali traditions about Kind Asoka and discusses the Buddhist view of kingship, the relationship of the state and the Buddhist community, the kingês role in relating his kingdom to the person of the Buddha, and the connection between merit making, cosmology, and Buddhist doctrine. An appendix provides summaries of other stories about Asoka.


–Commentary and legend are presented in a lucid and attractive writing style, spiced with humor, embroidered with apt illustrations, and likely to appeal not only to scholars but to a wider reading public” – Stanley Tamhiah, Harvard University.

About the Author(s)

John S. Strong is Professor of Religion at Bates College.  Among his book one is the Legend and Cult of Upagupta and another Guide to Buddhist Religion co-author with Frank Reynolds and John Holt.

Additional information

Weight 0.5 kg
Dimensions 10 × 11 × 12 cm
Book Author

John S. Strong

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