What steps were taken by Asoka for the propagation of Dharma?

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Asoka took many steps for the propagation of Buddhism. First of all Askoa Propagated Dhamma among his subjects by showing them spectacles of the various classes of gods, their heavenly palaces, celestial elephants, etc. These were shown in different ‘Samajas’ or amphitheatres where the people were entertained with shows.

Second, the other measure that Asoka took to foster Dhamma was to encourage ‘Dhamma Yatra’, that is to say, encouraging visit to places associated with the life of Gautama Buddha. In his Rock Edict VIII Asoka tells us that ‘Vihara Yatra’ that is, tours for pleasure and hunting were of no use.

Asoka himself visited the ‘Bodhi Tree’ the tree under which Gautama received Enlightenment. Third, Asoka himself undertook the work of preaching Dhamma. This had a profound impression on the mind of the people. Fourth, king, after all, was a single individual and it was impossible for him to approach all people.

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Asoka, therefore, thought it necessary to appoint officers who would fulfil the work that he had started. Thus a new class of officials, called Dharmamahamatras, was appointed.

It was their duty to look to the spiritual as well as material good of the people. Fifth, Asoka categorically mentioned that he set up ‘Dharma-stamb has for promotion of Dhamma.

It is pointed out by Dr. Bhandarkar that Dharma-stambhas should not be supposed as some material pillars, but to be taken as works of charity.

In fact, Asoka dug wells, grew mango orchards, built rest houses, and all his was done with the intent that men may follow the practices of Dhamma.

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Sixth, Asoka clearly stated that his missionary zeal for the propagation of Dhamma was not confined to his own empire, but extended to many other kingdoms. It is particularly interesting to note the wide range of countries over which Asoka carried on his missionary activities.

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