Amongst the thousands of emperors and kings in the firmament of human history, wrote H.G.Wells, the name of Asoka will shine brightest amongst them all. For, in the oceans of blood shed spilled by conquerors down centuries, who else, but Asoka, had vowed to give up warfare soon after a famous victory?
From being called Asoka the Cruel, he was transformed to Dhamma Asoka. By practicing Dhamma and encouraging his people to practice Dhamma, Emperor Asoka’s rule became one of the most benevolent of all times. His many rock edicts are testimony to his conviction that the actual practice of Dhamma is needed for the happiness and welfare of all.
Below are a few of Dhamma Asoka’s timeless messages on rocks:
"Even in the past the kings desired that the people should grow in Dhamma. But this did not happen.It, then, occurred to me: I should cause Dhamma proclamations to be made and Dhamma instructions to be issued. Then the people will follow these strictly, elevate themselves, and grow in Dhamma. It is for this purpose that Dhamma proclamations were made by me and manifold Dhamma instructions issued. The growth of men in Dhamma has been achieved through these two means: Dhamma regulations and insight meditation. Out of these two, of little avail have been the Dhamma regulations, while much more has been accomplished through insight meditation" - Delhi- Topra Pillar Edict V11
"Happiness in this world and the next is difficult to secure without love of Dhamma, utmost self-examination, utmost dread of sin, and utmost enthusiasm. By my instructions, this regard for Dhamma, as well as love for Dhamma, have grown day by day and will multiply still further. My officers too- of high and low and middle rank – act according to my instructions, and enforce their proper practice. My instructions are: to protect according to Dhamma, to dispose according to Dhamma, to make others happy according to Dhamma, and to guard others according to Dhamma." - Delhi -Topra Pillar Edict 1
"King Priyadassi honours all sects; by gifts and offerings of kinds does he honour them. But he does not value such gifts or honours so much as that the worthiness of all sects may increase.The increase of worthiness may be of several kinds, but its root lies in guarding one’s speech, that is to say, the praising of one’s own sect or the blaming of the other sects may not take place. In fact, other sects ought to be honoured in various ways. By doing so, one promotes one’s own sect and also benefits other sects; and by doing otherwise, one hurts one’s own sect and also harms other sects." - Rock Edict X11
"The practice of Dhamma is not possible for one who is devoid of good conduct." - Rock Edict IV
"There is no such gift as the gift of Dhamma, or acquaintance through Dhamma, or the distribution of Dhamma, or kinship through Dhamma." - Rock Edict X1
"There is, indeed, no better work than the welfare of all the people." - Rock Edict V
"In spite of possessing rich gifts, those who have no self-control, or purity of mind, or gratitude and firm devotion, are poor indeed." - Rock edict V11
"The beloved of Gods wishes all beings non-injury, restraint and impartiality, even in case of offensive conduct." - Rock Edict X111
"On account of these, one does not act properly – envy, anger, cruelty, hurry, indifference, indolence (and) fatigue. So you should strive that these (things) may not arise in you. And the root of all this is absence of anger and absence of hurry." - Kalinga Rock Edict 1
"These are the ways to sin, viz. fierceness, cruelty, anger, pride, envy. Let me be not ruined by these." - Delhi-Topra Pillar Edict 111