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King Ashoka

King Ashoka said,
It is difficult to say certainly that what someone has done is good, or bad.  It is easier, and better, to understand "such actions and non-actions lead to contentment, or to regret." This results in the thinking, "let my actions and non-actions lead to contentment, and not to regret."

King Ashoka said,
All my subjects are like my children, and I love them all, and seek their welfare.  As a parent would entrust their child after their death to someone they might trust, so may all my subjects trust me with the welfare of the country their children will live in.

King Ashoka said,
I desire there be growth in the practice of every religion.  All religions teach self-control, and upon this all religions can co-exist by practicing restraint in speech: do not praise your own religion, or condemn the religion of others without good cause.  And if there is good cause, criticize in a gentle way.  It is best to honor what is admirable other religions.  Whoever practices their religion with excessive devotion only harms their own religion.  Contact between religions is good: one should listen to and respect the doctrines professed by others.  I desire all should be well learned in the religions of others.

King Ashoka took pride in the number of wild animals he protected, the vast lands of wilderness he protected, the lives of prisoners condemned to death that he spared, the investment of prisoners with the rights of appeal after their judgement.  He took pride in providing rest stops along highways for people and animals, protecting animals from cruelty, providing free medical care and food to those who were in need.  This is what King Ashoka said: "As I desire non-violence, generosity and self-restraint in others, so must I myself first act."

King Ashoka said,
In war, I killed over 100,000 enemies.  I deported 150,000 more.  I feel great remorse for the manner of my victories.  The majority of those I hurt practiced religion, were obedient and loyal to their own government.  They undertook honest business.  They had families.  All this I destroyed.  But I have the greatest remorse for separating, injuring and killing so many beloved ones, through this war.  I am greatly pained by my regret.  I did not regret this until I heard the Dharma.  It is by speaking the Dharma one best defends themselves, or conquers another.  I have since practiced this and found even the forest people can be reasoned with to act properly, without harm to others.  Though I have the power to punish them, it is unnecessary to kill them.  Conquest by Dharma is the best conquest; indeed, I was conquered by the Dharma.  To share what I have learned, that no one else need regret war, I have sent envoys among the Greeks, where Antiochos, Ptolemy, Antigonos, Magas and Alexander are King, among the Cholas, Pandyas, and Tamraparni. To all who live beyond my borders, I say: war gives no joy.  My only intention is that my neighbors live without fear of me, and trust me to give them happiness - not sorrow.  I wish them to know I forgive easily, should they give me sorrow.  I say this, that I may discharge the debts I owe to those I harmed in war: my vow and promise will never be broken.