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(Andrea and Overfield, 71). The rock edicts of Ashoka reflect the emperor’s strong adherence to the fundamental teachings of Buddhism. He unequivocally asserts that all the benevolent actions he has undertaken as a king have but one objective: “that the people might practice the Dhamma” (Dhammika, the Seven Pillar Edicts, 7). He urges his subjects to respect and practice Dharma. Although Ashoka does not explicitly expound on Buddha’s teachings, his exhortations to his subjects are undoubtedly based on the Eightfold Path. Ashoka’s edicts list the dictates of Dharma: “proper behavior towards servants and employees, respect for father and mother, generosity towards friends, companions, relations, Brahmans and ascetics, and not killing living beings” (Dhammika, Fourteen Rock Edicts, 11). All this obviously falls under ‘Right Conduct.’ Again, Ashoka emphasizes “restraint in speech” (Dhammika, Fourteen Rock Edicts, 12) and that “the truth should be spoken” (Dhammika, Minor Rock Edicts, 2), in deference to ‘Right Speech.’ He urges is subjects towards ‘Right Endeavor’: “Great fruit will result from doing your duty” (Dhammika, Kalinga Rock Edicts, 1). Ashoka’s desire that his subjects practice “Kindness, generosity, truthfulness, purity, gentleness and goodness” (Dhammika, Seven Pillars, 7) expresses his hope that Buddhist Dharma will be adopted by all in his kingdom. Ashoka’s edicts define dharma as following the Eightfold Path.
In the context of the Bhagavad Gita, Dharma is defined as “the moral imperative of caste duty” (Andrea and Overfield, 67). The performance of one’s duty, as prescribed by one’s caste, is the highest moral obligation, and the best way to worship God. “Every man intent on his own respective duties obtains perfection” (Andrea and Overfield, 68). Krishna states that the man who transcends the physical senses, and maintains detachment attains bliss. The way to eternal happiness is to
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