A report on AshokaGautama Buddha and Sanchi

A c. 1st century BCE/CE relief from Sanchi, showing Ashoka on his chariot, visiting the Nagas at Ramagrama.
Statue of Gautama Buddha, preaching his first sermon at Sarnath; B(b) 181, Archaeological Museum Sarnath, Gupta period, ca. 475 CE.
Ashoka's Major Rock Edict at Junagadh contains inscriptions by Ashoka (fourteen of the Edicts of Ashoka), Rudradaman I and Skandagupta.
Seated Buddha from Tapa Shotor monastery in Hadda, Afghanistan, 2nd century CE
Plan of the monuments of the hill of Sanchi, numbered 1 to 50.
King Ashoka visits Ramagrama, to take relics of the Buddha from the Nagas, but in vain. Southern gateway, Stupa 1, Sanchi.
Ancient kingdoms and cities of India during the time of the Buddha (c. 500 BCE)
The Ashoka pillar at Sanchi.
The Major Rock Edict No.13 of Ashoka, mentions the Greek kings Antiochus, Ptolemy, Antigonus, Magas and Alexander by name, as recipients of his teachings.
Inscription "The illumination of the Blessed Sakamuni" (Brahmi script: 𑀪𑀕𑀯𑀢𑁄 𑀲𑀓𑀫𑀼𑀦𑀺𑀦𑁄 𑀩𑁄𑀥𑁄, Bhagavato Sakamunino Bodho) on a relief showing the "empty" Illumination Throne of the Buddha in the early Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya. Bharhut, c. 100 BCE.
The capital of the Sanchi pillar of Ashoka, as discovered (left), and simulation of original appearance (right). It is very similar to the Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath, except for the abacus, here adorned with flame palmettes and facing geese, 250 BCE. Sanchi Archaeological Museum.
The Aramaic Inscription of Taxila probably mentions Ashoka.
One of the earliest anthropomorphic representations of the Buddha, here surrounded by Brahma (left) and Śakra (right). Bimaran Casket, mid-1st century CE, British Museum.
by later illustrations among the Sanchi reliefs
The Saru Maru commemorative inscription seems to mention the presence of Ashoka in the area of Ujjain as he was still a Prince.
Māyā miraculously giving birth to Siddhārtha. Sanskrit, palm-leaf manuscript. Nālandā, Bihar, India. Pāla period
The Great Stupa under the Sungas. The Sungas nearly doubled the diameter of the initial stupa, encasing it in stone, and built a balustrade and a railing around it.
Kanaganahalli inscribed panel portraying Asoka with Brahmi label "King Asoka", 1st–3rd century CE.
The legendary Jataka collections depict the Buddha-to-be in a previous life prostrating before the past Buddha Dipankara, making a resolve to be a Buddha, and receiving a prediction of future Buddhahood.
Foreigner on a horse, circa 115 BCE, Stupa No2.
Stupa of Sanchi. The central stupa was built during the Mauryas, and enlarged during the Sungas, but the decorative gateway is dated to the later dynasty of the Satavahanas.
Map showing Lumbini and other major Buddhist sites in India. Lumbini (present-day Nepal), is the birthplace of the Buddha, and is a holy place also for many non-Buddhists.
Sunga period railings were initially blank (left: Great Stupa), and only started to be decorated circa 115 BCE with Stupa No.2 (right).
Illustration of the original Mahabodhi Temple temple built by Asoka at Bodh Gaya. At the center, the Vajrasana, or "Enlightenment Throne of the Buddha", with its supporting columns, being the object of adoration. A Pillar of Ashoka topped by an elephant appears in the right corner. Bharhut relief, 1st century BCE.
The Lumbini pillar contains an inscription stating that this is the Buddha's birthplace
Sunga pillar No25 with own capital on the side.
The rediscovered Vajrasana, or "Enlightenment Throne of the Buddha", at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya. It was built by Ashoka to commemorate the enlightenment of the Buddha, about two hundred years before him.
The "Great Departure" of Siddhartha Gautama, surrounded by a halo, he is accompanied by numerous guards and devata who have come to pay homage; Gandhara, Kushan period
Siri-Satakani inscription
Ashoka and Monk Moggaliputta-Tissa at the Third Buddhist Council. Nava Jetavana, Shravasti.
Prince Siddhartha shaves his hair and becomes a sramana. Borobudur, 8th century
Cave No.19
A king - most probably Ashoka - with his two queens and three attendants, in a relief at Sanchi. The king's identification with Ashoka is suggested by a similar relief at Kanaganahalli, which bears his name.
The gilded "Emaciated Buddha statue" in Wat Suthat in Bangkok representing the stage of his asceticism
The Worship of the Bodhisattva's hair
Ashoka with his queen, at Kanaganahalli near Sannati, 1st–3rd century CE. The relief bears the inscription "Rāya Asoko" (𑀭𑀸𑀬 𑀅𑀲𑁄𑀓𑁄, "King Ashoka") in Brahmi script. It depicts the king with his queen, two attendants bearing fly-whisks, and one attendant bearing an umbrella.
The Mahabodhi Tree at the Sri Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya
Vedisakehi damtakārehi rupakammam katam
Emperor Ashoka and his Queen at the Deer Park. Sanchi relief.
The Enlightenment Throne of the Buddha at Bodh Gaya, as recreated by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE.
The Great Stupa at the time of the Satavahanas.
The word Upāsaka (𑀉𑀧𑀸𑀲𑀓, "Buddhist lay follower", in the Brahmi script), used by Ashoka in his Minor Rock Edict No.1 to describe his affiliation to Buddhism (circa 258 BCE).
Miracle of the Buddha walking on the River Nairañjanā. The Buddha is not visible (aniconism), only represented by a path on the water, and his empty throne bottom right. Sanchi.
Temptation of the Buddha, with the Buddha on the left (symbolized by his throne only) surrounded by rejoicing devotees, Mara and his daughters (center), and the demons of Mara fleeing (right).
Territories "conquered by the Dhamma" according to Major Rock Edict No.13 of Ashoka (260–218 BCE).
Dhamek Stupa in Sarnath, India, site of the first teaching of the Buddha in which he taught the Four Noble Truths to his first five disciples
War over the Buddha's Relics, kept by the city of Kushinagar, South Gate, Stupa no.1, Sanchi.
Distribution of the Edicts of Ashoka, and location of the contemporary Greek city of Ai-Khanoum.
The chief disciples of the Buddha, Mogallana (chief in psychic power) and Sariputta (chief in wisdom).
King Ashoka visits Ramagrama, to take relics of the Buddha from the Nagas, but he failed, the Nagas being too powerful. Southern gateway, Stupa 1, Southern Gateway, Sanchi.
The Kandahar Edict of Ashoka, a bilingual inscription (in Greek and Aramaic) by King Ashoka, discovered at Kandahar (National Museum of Afghanistan).
The remains of a section of Jetavana Monastery, just outside of ancient Savatthi, in Uttar Pradesh.
Ashoka in grief, supported by his two queens, in a relief at Sanchi. Stupa 1, Southern gateway. The identification with Ashoka is confirm by a similar relief from Kanaganahalli inscribed "Raya Asoko".
The Minor Rock Edict of Maski mentions the author as "Devanampriya Asoka", definitively linking both names, and confirming Ashoka as the author of the famous Edicts.
Mahāprajāpatī, the first bhikkuni and Buddha's stepmother, ordains
Bodhi tree temple depicted in Sanchi, Stupa 1, Southern gateway.
A c. 1910 painting by Abanindranath Tagore (1871–1951) depicting Ashoka's queen standing in front of the railings of the Buddhist monument at Sanchi (Raisen district, Madhya Pradesh).
This East Javanese relief depicts the Buddha in his final days, and Ānanda, his chief attendant.
Temple for the Bodhi Tree (Eastern Gateway).
The Ashokan pillar at Lumbini, Nepal, Buddha's birthplace
Mahaparinirvana, Gandhara, 3rd or 4th century CE, gray schist
foreigners illustrated at Sanchi worshiping the Great Stupa
The Diamond throne at the Mahabodhi Temple, attributed to Ashoka
Mahaparinibbana scene, from the Ajanta caves
Foreigners worshiping Stupa
Front frieze of the Diamond throne
Buddha's cremation stupa, Kushinagar (Kushinara).
Greek travelling costume
Mauryan ringstone, with standing goddess. Northwest Pakistan. 3rd century BCE. British Museum
Piprahwa vase with relics of the Buddha. The inscription reads: ...salilanidhane Budhasa Bhagavate... (Brahmi script: ...𑀲𑀮𑀺𑀮𑀦𑀺𑀥𑀸𑀦𑁂 𑀩𑀼𑀥𑀲 𑀪𑀕𑀯𑀢𑁂...) "Relics of the Buddha Lord".
Another one
Rampurva bull capital, detail of the abacus, with two "flame palmettes" framing a lotus surrounded by small rosette flowers.
The Bodhisattva meets with Alara Kalama, Borobudur relief.
Miracle at Kapilavastu
Caduceus symbol on a Maurya-era punch-marked coin
Gandharan Buddhist birchbark scroll fragments
Miracle of the Buddha walking on the river Nairanjana
A punch-marked coin attributed to Ashoka<ref>{{cite book |last=Mitchiner |first=Michael |date=1978 |title=Oriental Coins & Their Values: The Ancient and Classical World 600 B.C. - A.D. 650 |publisher=Hawkins Publications |page=544 |isbn=978-0-9041731-6-1}}</ref>
Buddha meets a Brahmin, at the Indian Museum, Kolkata
Procession of king Suddhodana from Kapilavastu
A Maurya-era silver coin of 1 karshapana, possibly from Ashoka's period, workshop of Mathura. Obverse: Symbols including a sun and an animal Reverse: Symbol Dimensions: 13.92 x 11.75 mm Weight: 3.4 g.
Schist Buddha statue with the famed Ye Dharma Hetu dhāraṇī around the head, which was used as a common summary of Dependent Origination. It states: "Of those experiences that arise from a cause, The Tathāgata has said: 'this is their cause, And this is their cessation': This is what the Great Śramaṇa teaches."
"The promenade of the Buddha", or Chankrama, used to depict the Buddha in motion in Buddhist aniconism.
The Lion Capital of Ashoka in Sarnath, showing its four Asiatic lions standing back to back, and symbolizing the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, supporting the Wheel of Moral law (Dharmachakra, reconstitution per Sarnath Museum notice). The lions stand on a circular abacus, decorated with dharmachakras alternating with four animals in profile: horse, bull, elephant, and lion. The architectural bell below the abacus, is a stylized upside down lotus. Sarnath Museum.
Gandharan sculpture depicting the Buddha in the full lotus seated meditation posture, 2nd-3rd century CE
Bimbisara with his royal cortege issuing from the city of Rajagriha to visit the Buddha
Buddha Statues from Gal Vihara. The Early Buddhist texts also mention meditation practice while standing and lying down.
Foreigners making a dedication at the Southern Gateway of Stupa No 1
The Buddha on a coin of Kushan ruler Kanishka I, c. 130 CE.
Stupas and monasteries at Sanchi in the early centuries of the current era. Reconstruction, 1900
Buddhist monks from Nepal. According to the earliest sources, the Buddha looked like a typical shaved man from northeast India.
Sanchi inscription of Chandragupta II.
Buddha depicted as the 9th avatar of god Vishnu in a traditional Hindu representation
Temple 17: a Gupta period tetrastyle prostyle temple of Classical appearance. 5th century CE
Christ and Buddha by Paul Ranson, 1880
Statue of Padmapani (5th c.or 9th c.) Victoria and Albert Museum.
A Royal Couple Visits the Buddha, from railing of the Bharhut Stupa, Shunga dynasty, early 2nd century BC.
Pillar 26: one of the two four-lions stambha capitals at Sanchi, with lions, central flame palmette and Wheel of Law (axis, stubs of the spokes and part of the circumference only), initially located at the Northern Gateway of the Great Stupa. Sanchi Archaeological Museum.
Adoration of the Diamond Throne and the Bodhi Tree, Bharhut.
Pillar 26: lion pillar capital at time of discovery, with Dharmachakra wheel (reconstitution). Northern Gateway.
Descent of the Buddha from the Trayastrimsa Heaven, Sanchi Stupa No. 1.
this image
The Buddha's Miracle at Kapilavastu, Sanchi Stupa 1.
Pillar 35 column stump (right), and bell capital with abacus, positioned upside down.
Bimbisara visiting the Buddha (represented as empty throne) at the Bamboo garden in Rajagriha
Vajrapani statue of pillar 35, 5th c. CE. Sanchi Archaeological Museum.
The great departure with riderless horse, Amaravati, 2nd century CE.
Temple 18 at Sanchi, an apsidal hall with Maurya foundations, rebuilt at the time of Harsha (7th century CE).
The Assault of Mara, Amaravati, 2nd century CE.
Temple 45
Isapur Buddha, one of the earliest physical depictions of the Buddha, c. 15 CE.<ref>{{cite book |last1=Quintanilla |first1=Sonya Rhie |title=History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE – 100 CE |date=2007 |publisher=BRILL |isbn=9789004155374 |pages=199–206, 204 for the exact date |url=https://books.google.com/books?id=X7Cb8IkZVSMC&pg=PA204}}</ref> Art of Mathura
The Great Stupa as breached by Sir Herbert Maddock in 1822. Watercolor by Frederick Charles Maisey, in 1851.
The Buddha attended by Indra at Indrasala Cave, Mathura 50-100 CE.
Ruins of the Southern Gateway, Sanchi in 1875.
Buddha Preaching in Tushita Heaven. Amaravati, Satavahana period, 2d century CE. Indian Museum, Calcutta.
A Gate to the Stupa of Sanchi 1932
Standing Buddha from Gandhara.
Chetiyagiri Vihara
Gandharan Buddha with Vajrapani-Herakles.
Inscribed panel from Sanchi in Brahmi script in the British Museum
Kushan period Buddha Triad.
The last two letters to the right of this inscription in Brahmi form the word "dǎnam" (donation). This hypothesis permitted the decipherment of the Brahmi script by James Prinsep in 1837.
Buddha statue from Sanchi.
General view of the Stupas at Sanchi by F.C. Maisey, 1851 (The Great Stupa on top of the hill, and Stupa 2 at the forefront)
Birth of the Buddha, Kushan dynasty, late 2nd to early 3rd century CE.
The Great Stupa (Stupa No.1), started in the 3rd century BCE
The Infant Buddha Taking A Bath, Gandhara 2nd century CE.
Stupa No.2
6th century Gandharan Buddha.
Stupa No.3
Buddha at Cave No. 6, Ajanta Caves.
Buddhist Temple, No.17
Standing Buddha, c. 5th Century CE.
Remains of the Ashokan Pillar in polished stone (right of the Southern Gateway), with its Edict.
Sarnath standing Buddha, 5th century CE.
Sanchi Minor Pillar Edict of Ashoka, in-situ (detail of the previous image).
Seated Buddha, Gupta period.
Remains of the shaft of the pillar of Ashoka, under a shed near the Southern Gateway.
Seated Buddha at Gal Vihara, Sri Lanka.
Side view of the capital. Sanchi Archaeological Museum.<ref name="p.25-28 Ashoka pillar"/>
Chinese Stele with Sakyamuni and Bodhisattvas, Wei period, 536 CE.
Shunga balustrade and staircase.
The Shakyamuni Daibutsu Bronze, c. 609, Nara, Japan.
Shunga stonework.
Amaravati style Buddha of Srivijaya period, Palembang, Indonesia, 7th century.
Shunga vedika (railing) with inscriptions.
Korean Seokguram Cave Buddha, c. 774 CE.
Deambulatory pathway.
Seated Buddha Vairocana flanked by Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani of Mendut temple, Central Java, Indonesia, early 9th century.
Summit railing and umbrellas.
Buddha in the exposed stupa of Borobudur mandala, Central Java, Indonesia, c. 825.
Flame palmette.
Vairocana Buddha of Srivijaya style, Southern Thailand, 9th century.
Flame palmette and lotus.
Seated Buddha, Japan, Heian period, 9th-10th century.
Attack of Mara, 10th century, Dunhuang.
Woman riding a Centaur.
Cambodian Buddha with Mucalinda Nāga, c. 1100 CE, Banteay Chhmar, Cambodia
15th century Sukhothai Buddha.
Half lotus.
15th century Sukhothai Walking Buddha.
Sakyamuni, Lao Tzu, and Confucius, c. from 1368 until 1644.
Chinese depiction of Shakyamuni, 1600.
Elephant with branch.
Shakyamuni Buddha with Avadana Legend Scenes, Tibetan, 19th century
Floral motif.
Golden Thai Buddha statue, Bodh Gaya.
Lakshmi with lotus and two child attendants, probably derived from [[:File:Venus with two cupids 2.jpg|similar images of Venus]]<ref>An Indian Statuette From Pompeii, Mirella Levi D'Ancona, in Artibus Asiae, Vol. 13, No. 3 (1950) p. 171</ref>
Gautama statue, Shanyuan Temple, Liaoning Province, China.
Griffin with Brahmi script inscription.
Burmese style Buddha, Shwedagon pagoda, Yangon.
Female riding a Centaur.
Large Gautama Buddha statue in Buddha Park of Ravangla.
Lotus within beads and reels motif.
Stairway and railing.
Lotus medallions.
Floral designs.
Post relief.<ref>Marshall p. 82</ref>
Relics of Sariputra and Mahamoggallana.
Detail of the foreigners, in Greek dress and playing carnyxes and aolus flute. Northern Gateway of Stupa I (detail).
Foreigners holding grapes and riding winged lions, Sanchi Stupa 1, Eastern Gateway.<ref>"The Diffusion of Classical Art in Antiquity, John Boardman, 1993, p. 112 Note 91</ref>
Foreigners riding horses.
Foreign heroe fighting a Makara
Foreigners on horses, wearing headbands, caps and boots. Western gate of Stupa 1.
Hero with headband wrestling a Makara.
Indians riding horses.
Indians riding bulls.
Indians riding bulls.
Queen Maya lustrated by Elephants.
The Buddha represented by the Dharmacakra.
Bodhi Tree.
Winged lion.
Winged lions.
The Buddha represented by the Dharmacakra.
Men and Women on Elephants.
Men and Women on Elephants.
Stupa representing a Buddha.
Lakshmi lustrated by Elephants.
Men on lions.
Men on lions.
2nd panel
3rd panel
Second panel
Bottom panel Dvarapala guardian deity or devotee.
Second panel
Possibly demons, or the attack of Mara.
Second panel
Bottom panel Dvarapala guardian deity or devotee.
2nd panel
3rd panel
A Seated Buddha statue (Gupta temple).
Buddha Statue (Great Stupa).
Seated Buddha (Great Stupa).
Pillar 34 with lion.<ref>Marshall p. 52 Pillar 34</ref>
The winged lion capital of pillar 34 (lost).
Great Stupa, Eastern Gateway, in 1875.
West Gateway in 1882.
South Gateway in 1882.
Great Stupa, Northern Gateway in 1861.
Temple 18 in 1861.
A vision of ancient Indian court life, using motifs from Sanchi (wood engraving, 1878).

It was originally commissioned by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka the Great in the 3rd century BCE.

- Sanchi

Its nucleus was a simple hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha.

- Sanchi

He is remembered for erecting the Ashoka pillars and spreading his Edicts, for sending Buddhist monks to Sri Lanka and Central Asia, and for establishing monuments marking several significant sites in the life of Gautama Buddha.

- Ashoka

In the mid-3rd century BCE the Emperor Ashoka determined that Lumbini was Gautama's birthplace and thus installed a pillar there with the inscription: "...this is where the Buddha, sage of the Śākyas (Śākyamuni), was born."

- Gautama Buddha

Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, India

- Ashoka

Some of the earliest artistic depictions of the Buddha found at Bharhut and Sanchi are aniconic and symbolic.

- Gautama Buddha
A c. 1st century BCE/CE relief from Sanchi, showing Ashoka on his chariot, visiting the Nagas at Ramagrama.

5 related topics with Alpha


The Bharhut stupa, depicted on one of the friezes. Freer Gallery of Art


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Village located in the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh, central India.

Village located in the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh, central India.

The Bharhut stupa, depicted on one of the friezes. Freer Gallery of Art
The gateways (left) were made by northern (probably Gandharan) masons using Kharosthi marks, while the railings (right) were made by masons using marks in the local Brahmi script.
the Kharosthi letters were found on the balustrades
Bharhut pillar capital with rosette, beads-and-reels and flame palmette designs.
Adoration of the Dharmachakra.
Buddha sculpture at Bharhut 11-12th cent
Worship of the Bodhi tree.
Worship of the Dharmachakra.
Worship of the Bodhi tree, with Yakshini.
A Royal Couple Visits the Buddha.
Maya's dream, Sanchi, 1st century BCE.
Māyā's dream, Gandhara, 2–3rd century CE.
Dream of Mayadevi, Mardan.
Maya's Dream, Gandhara, 2nd-3rd century CE.
Asadrisa Jataka.
Bull and Tiger Jataka.
Dasaratha Jataka.
Chhandantiya Jataka.
Isi-Singe Jataka.
Latuwa Jataka.
Naga Jataka.
Yavamajhakiya Jataka.
Yambumane-Avayesi Jataka or Andha-Bhuta Jataka.
Kinara Jataka.
Hansa Jataka.
Monkey Jataka.
Monkey Jataka.
Female bust
Female Figure holding a Lotus
Female Figure holding a Torch
Male and Female Figures
Male Figure
Male Figure on top of Column
Male Figure
Male Figure holding a Lotus
Male Figure holding a Flower
Male Figure
East Gateway
Railing post.
Post with reliefs.
Restoration plans.
Bharhut excavation
The Yaksha relief at Bharhut being worshipped as Hanuman by local villagers
The ruined Bharhut Stupa; seen behind it is the Lal Pahadi (Red Mountain)
Railing section at Indian Museum.

The Bharhut sculptures represent some of the earliest examples of Indian and Buddhist art, later than the monumental art of Ashoka (circa 260 BCE), and slightly later than the early Shunga-period reliefs on railings at Sanchi Stupa No.2 (starting circa 115 BCE).

Though more provincial in quality than the sculpture at Sanchi, Amaravati Stupa and some other sites, a large amount of sculpture has survived, generally in good condition.

They contain numerous birth stories of the Buddha's previous lives, or Jataka tales.

Ancient kingdoms and cities of India during the time of the Buddha (circa 500 BCE) – modern-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan


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Ancient kingdoms and cities of India during the time of the Buddha (circa 500 BCE) – modern-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan
The gilded "Emaciated Buddha statue" in an Ubosoth in Bangkok representing the stage of his asceticism
Enlightenment of Buddha, Kushan dynasty, late 2nd to early 3rd century CE, Gandhara.
The Buddha teaching the Four Noble Truths. Sanskrit manuscript. Nalanda, Bihar, India.
Traditional Tibetan Buddhist Thangka depicting the Wheel of Life with its six realms
Ramabhar Stupa in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh, India is regionally believed to be Buddha's cremation site.
An aniconic depiction of the Buddha's spiritual liberation (moksha) or awakening (bodhi), at Sanchi. The Buddha is not depicted, only symbolized by the Bodhi tree and the empty seat.
Dharma Wheel and triratna symbols from Sanchi Stupa number 2.
Buddhist monks and nuns praying in the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple of Singapore
A depiction of Siddhartha Gautama in a previous life prostrating before the past Buddha Dipankara. After making a resolve to be a Buddha, and receiving a prediction of future Buddhahood, he becomes a "bodhisattva".
Bodhisattva Maitreya, Gandhara (3rd century), Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Sermon in the Deer Park depicted at Wat Chedi Liam, near Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand.
Buddhist monks collect alms in Si Phan Don, Laos. Giving is a key virtue in Buddhism.
An ordination ceremony at Wat Yannawa in Bangkok. The Vinaya codes regulate the various sangha acts, including ordination.
Living at the root of a tree (trukkhamulik'anga) is one of the dhutaṅgas, a series of optional ascetic practices for Buddhist monastics.
Kōdō Sawaki practicing Zazen ("sitting dhyana")
Seated Buddha, Gal Viharaya, Polonnawura, Sri Lanka.
Kamakura Daibutsu, Kōtoku-in, Kamakura, Japan.
Statue of Buddha in Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, Phitsanulok, Thailand
An 18th century Mongolian miniature which depicts the generation of the Vairocana Mandala
A section of the Northern wall mural at the Lukhang Temple depicting tummo, the three channels (nadis) and phowa
Monks debating at Sera Monastery, Tibet
Tibetan Buddhist prostration practice at Jokhang, Tibet.
Vegetarian meal at Buddhist temple. East Asian Buddhism tends to promote vegetarianism.
A depiction of the supposed First Buddhist council at Rajgir. Communal recitation was one of the original ways of transmitting and preserving Early Buddhist texts.
Gandhara birchbark scroll fragments (c. 1st century) from British Library Collection
The Tripiṭaka Koreana in South Korea, an edition of the Chinese Buddhist canon carved and preserved in over 81,000 wood printing blocks
Buddhist monk Geshe Konchog Wangdu reads Mahayana sutras from an old woodblock copy of the Tibetan Kanjur.
Mahākāśyapa meets an Ājīvika ascetic, one of the common Śramaṇa groups in ancient India
Ajanta Caves, Cave 10, a first period type chaitya worship hall with stupa but no idols.
Sanchi Stupa No. 3, near Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, India.
Map of the Buddhist missions during the reign of Ashoka according to the Edicts of Ashoka.
Extent of Buddhism and trade routes in the 1st century CE.
Buddhist expansion throughout Asia
A Buddhist triad depicting, left to right, a Kushan, the future buddha Maitreya, Gautama Buddha, the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, and a monk. Second–third century. Guimet Museum
Site of Nalanda University, a great center of Mahāyāna thought
Vajrayana adopted deities such as Bhairava, known as Yamantaka in Tibetan Buddhism.
Angkor Thom build by Khmer King Jayavarman VII (c. 1120–1218).
Distribution of major Buddhist traditions
Buddhists of various traditions, Yeunten Ling Tibetan Institute
Monastics and white clad laypersons celebrate Vesak, Vipassakna Dhaurak, Cambodia
Chinese Buddhist monks performing a formal ceremony in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China.
Tibetan Buddhists practicing Chöd with various ritual implements, such as the Damaru drum, hand-bell, and Kangling (thighbone trumpet).
Ruins of a temple at the Erdene Zuu Monastery complex in Mongolia.
Buryat Buddhist monk in Siberia
1893 World Parliament of Religions in Chicago
Interior of the Thai Buddhist wat in Nukari, Nurmijärvi, Finland
Percentage of Buddhists by country, according to the Pew Research Center, as of 2010
A painting by G. B. Hooijer (c. 1916–1919) reconstructing a scene of Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world.
Frontispiece of the Chinese Diamond Sūtra, the oldest known dated printed book in the world
The Dharmachakra, a sacred symbol which represents Buddhism and its traditions.
An image of a lantern used in the Vesak Festival, which celebrates the birth, enlightenment and Parinirvana of Gautama Buddha.

Buddhism, also known as Dharmavinaya — "doctrines and disciplines" — and Buddha Dharma, is an Indian religion or philosophical tradition based on a series of original teachings attributed to Gautama Buddha.

Buddhism may have spread only slowly throughout India until the time of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka (304–232 BCE), who was a public supporter of the religion.

The support of Aśoka and his descendants led to the construction of more stūpas (such as at Sanchi and Bharhut), temples (such as the Mahabodhi Temple) and to its spread throughout the Maurya Empire and into neighbouring lands such as Central Asia and to the island of Sri Lanka.

Territories of the Maurya Empire conceptualized as core areas or linear networks separated by large autonomous regions in the works of scholars such as: historians Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund; Burton Stein; David Ludden; and Romila Thapar; anthropologists Monica L. Smith and Stanley Tambiah; archaeologist Robin Coningham; and historical demographer Tim Dyson.

Maurya Empire

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Geographically extensive ancient Indian Iron Age historical power in South Asia based in Magadha, having been founded by Chandragupta Maurya in 322 BCE, and existing in loose-knit fashion until 185 BCE.

Geographically extensive ancient Indian Iron Age historical power in South Asia based in Magadha, having been founded by Chandragupta Maurya in 322 BCE, and existing in loose-knit fashion until 185 BCE.

Territories of the Maurya Empire conceptualized as core areas or linear networks separated by large autonomous regions in the works of scholars such as: historians Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund; Burton Stein; David Ludden; and Romila Thapar; anthropologists Monica L. Smith and Stanley Tambiah; archaeologist Robin Coningham; and historical demographer Tim Dyson.
Pataliputra, capital of the Mauryas. Ruins of pillared hall at Kumrahar site.
Territories of the Maurya Empire conceptualized as core areas or linear networks separated by large autonomous regions in the works of scholars such as: historians Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund; Burton Stein; David Ludden; and Romila Thapar; anthropologists Monica L. Smith and Stanley Tambiah; archaeologist Robin Coningham; and historical demographer Tim Dyson.
The Pataliputra capital, discovered at the Bulandi Bagh site of Pataliputra, 4th–3rd c. BCE.
A silver coin of 1 karshapana of the Maurya empire, period of Bindusara Maurya about 297–272 BC, workshop of Pataliputra. Obv: Symbols with a sun. Rev: Symbol. Dimensions: 14 × 11 mm. Weight: 3.4 g.
Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath. c. 250 BCE.
Ashoka pillar at Vaishali.
Fragment of the 6th Pillar Edict of Ashoka (238 BCE), in Brahmi, sandstone, British Museum.
Statuettes of the Mauryan era
Maurya statuette, 2nd century BCE.
Bhadrabahu Cave, Shravanabelagola where Chandragupta is said to have died
The stupa, which contained the relics of Buddha, at the center of the Sanchi complex was originally built by the Maurya Empire, but the balustrade around it is Sunga, and the decorative gateways are from the later Satavahana period.
The Dharmarajika stupa in Taxila, modern Pakistan, is also thought to have been established by Emperor Asoka.
Mauryan architecture in the Barabar Caves. Lomas Rishi Cave. 3rd century BCE.
An early stupa, 6 meters in diameter, with fallen umbrella on side. Chakpat, near Chakdara. Probably Maurya, 3rd century BCE.
The two Yakshas, possibly 3rd century BCE, found in Pataliputra. The two Brahmi inscriptions starting with Gupta ashoka y.svgGupta ashoka khe.jpg... (Yakhe... for "Yaksha...") are paleographically of a later date, circa 2nd century CE Kushan.
Mauryan ringstone, with standing goddess. Northwest Pakistan. 3rd Century BCE
A map showing the north western border of Maurya Empire, including its various neighboring states.
Figure of a foreigner, found in Sarnath, 3rd century BCE. This is a probable member of the West Asian Pahlava or Saka elite in the Gangetic plains during the Mauryan period.
The Kandahar Edict of Ashoka, a bilingual edict (Greek and Aramaic) by king Ashoka, from Kandahar. Kabul Museum. (See image description page for translation.)
Hoard of mostly Mauryan coins.
Silver punch mark coin of the Maurya empire, with symbols of wheel and elephant. 3rd century BCE.{{citation needed|date=July 2017}}
Mauryan coin with arched hill symbol on reverse.{{citation needed|date=July 2017}}
Mauryan Empire coin. Circa late 4th-2nd century BCE.{{citation needed|date=July 2017}}
Mauryan Empire, Emperor Salisuka or later. Circa 207-194 BCE.<ref>CNG Coins {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20170827130159/https://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=304898 |date=27 August 2017 }}</ref>
Remains of the Ashokan Pillar in polished stone (right of the Southern Gateway).
Remains of the shaft of the pillar of Ashoka, under a shed near the Southern Gateway.
Pillar and its inscription (the "Schism Edict") upon discovery.
The capital nowadays.<ref>Described in Marshall p.25-28 Ashoka pillar.</ref>
The distribution of the Edicts of Ashoka.<ref>Reference: "India: The Ancient Past" p.113, Burjor Avari, Routledge, {{ISBN|0-415-35615-6}}</ref>
Map of the Buddhist missions during the reign of Ashoka.
Territories "conquered by the Dharma" according to Major Rock Edict No. 13 of Ashoka (260–218 BCE).{{sfn|Kosmin|2014|p=57}}<ref name=ME368>Thomas Mc Evilly "The shape of ancient thought", Allworth Press, New York, 2002, p.368</ref>

During Ashoka's rule (ca.

For example, peacock figures are found on the Ashoka pillar at Nandangarh and several sculptures on the Great Stupa of Sanchi.

The Buddhist texts state that Chandragupta belonged to the "Moriya" clan of the Shakyas, the tribe to which Gautama Buddha belonged.

The Piprahwa stupa is one of the earliest surviving stupas.


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Mound-like or hemispherical structure containing relics (such as śarīra – typically the remains of Buddhist monks or nuns) that is used as a place of meditation.

Mound-like or hemispherical structure containing relics (such as śarīra – typically the remains of Buddhist monks or nuns) that is used as a place of meditation.

The Piprahwa stupa is one of the earliest surviving stupas.
Buddha's ashes Stupa built by the Licchavis, Vaishali and one of the earliest stupas
An early stupa, 6 m in diameter, with fallen umbrella on side at Chakpat, near Chakdara; probably Maurya, 3rd century BCE
an inscribed dedication
The Ahin Posh stupa was dedicated in the 2nd century CE under the Kushans, and contained coins of Kaniska I.
The Chinese Songyue Pagoda
Row of stupas on roadside east of Leh, Ladakh.jpg (523 CE) is thought to derive from the Gandharan tower-stupa model.
Borobudur bell-shaped stupas
A Jain stupa, Mathura, 1st century CE
Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal
View of the Wat Phra Kaew complex from the northeast, temple complex of the Emerald Buddha with stupas
The sharing of the relics of the Buddha. Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, 2-3rd century CE. ZenYouMitsu Temple Museum, Tokyo.
Buddha relics from Kanishka's stupa in Peshawar, Pakistan. These surviving relics are now housed in Mandalay, Myanmar.
The Eight Great Stupas
Row of chortens at roadside near Leh, Ladakh
Enlightenment Stupa at Ogoy Island, Russia
Sanchi Stupa No.2, the earliest known stupa with important displays of decorative reliefs, circa 125 BCE<ref name="Bell 15">Didactic Narration: Jataka Iconography in Dunhuang with a Catalogue of Jataka Representations in China, Alexander Peter Bell, LIT Verlag Münster, 2000 p.15ff</ref>
East Gateway and Railings of Bharhut Stupa. Sculptured railings: 115 BCE, toranas: 75 BCE.
The Great Stupa at Sanchi<ref name="Alī Jāvīd p.50">World Heritage Monuments and Related Edifices in India, Volume 1 p.50 by Alī Jāvīd, Tabassum Javeed, Algora Publishing, New York </ref> Decorated toranas built from the 1st c. BCE to the 1st c. CE.
Amaravati stupa, 1st-2nd century CE
A model resembling the Saidu Sharif Stupa, with square base and four columns (1st century CE).<ref>Le Huu Phuoc, Buddhist Architecture, Grafikol 2009, p.174-176</ref>
Loriyan Tangai decorated stupa, in the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara (2nd century CE).
A tower-shaped stupa, thought to be the design of the second (rebuilt) Kanishka stupa, Jaulian monastery
Stupa-shaped reliquary, Kushan period, about 2nd century CE
Chilas petroglyphs, Buddhist stupa, circa 300-350 CE based on paleography<ref>Dated "between A.D. 300-350 based on Kharosthi, Brahmi, and Sodian inscriptions written before and after the drawing was completed (fig.3) In the center of the triptych, a spectacular stupa with a relatively small dome [anda], a chattravali with seven disks, columns, banners, and multiple bells illustrates a trend towards decorative profusion." {{cite journal |journal=Bulletin of the Asia Institute |date=2002 |title=Chital petroglyphs|page=152 |url=https://books.google.com/books?id=RuhtAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA152 |publisher=Wayne State University Press |language=en}}</ref>
The Great Stupa at Sanchi, which contained the relics of Buddha, the oldest known stupa
An early stupa at Guntupalle, probably Maurya Empire, third century BCE
Buddha statue inside a votive stupa, Sarnath
Abayagiri Dageba, Sri Lanka
Chorten near Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet
The white stupa in Miaoying Temple, China
The Kalachakra stupa in Karma Guen, Spain
Stupa of Kantha Bopha
Stupa of King Norodom Suramarit
Main stupa at Wat Phnom
Stupa at Wat Botum
Stupa at Oudong
Golden stupa at Wat Ounalom
thumb|Roadside stupa. Kathmandu 1979
Boudhanath Stupa
Kaathe Swyambhu
Tahiti stupa
Yetkha Stupa
thumb|Small stupa in Kathmandu street

According to Buddhist tradition, Emperor Ashoka (rule: 273—232 BCE) recovered the relics of the Buddha from the earlier stupas (except from the Ramagrama stupa), and erected 84,000 stupas to distribute the relics across India.

In effect, many stupas are thought to date originally from the time of Ashoka, such as Sanchi or Kesariya, where he also erected pillars with his inscriptions, and possibly Bharhut, Amaravati or Dharmarajika in Gandhara.

The main stupa is the crown part of the monument, while the base is a pyramidal structure elaborated with galleries adorned with bas relief scenes derived from Buddhist texts and depicting the life of Gautama Buddha.

A northern example of Brahmi epigraphy: ancient terracotta sculpture from Sugh "Child learning Brahmi", showing the first letters of the Brahmi alphabet, 2nd century BCE.

Brahmi script

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Writing system of ancient South Asia that appeared as a fully developed script in the third century BCE.

Writing system of ancient South Asia that appeared as a fully developed script in the third century BCE.

A northern example of Brahmi epigraphy: ancient terracotta sculpture from Sugh "Child learning Brahmi", showing the first letters of the Brahmi alphabet, 2nd century BCE.
A later (mistaken) theory of a pictographic-acrophonic origin of the Brahmi script, on the model of the Egyptian hieroglyphic script, by Alexander Cunningham in 1877.
Coin of Agathocles with Hindu deities, in Greek and Brahmi.
Obverse: Balarama-Samkarshana with Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΓΑΘΟΚΛΕΟΥΣ.
Reverse: Vasudeva-Krishna with Brahmi legend:𑀭𑀸𑀚𑀦𑁂 𑀅𑀕𑀣𑀼𑀓𑁆𑀮𑀬𑁂𑀲 Rājane Agathukleyesa "King Agathocles". Circa 180 BCE.
A 2nd-century BCE Tamil Brahmi inscription from Arittapatti, Madurai India. The southern state of Tamil Nadu has emerged as a major source of Brahmi inscriptions dated between 3rd to 1st centuries BCE.
A proposed connection between the Brahmi and Indus scripts, made in the 19th century by Alexander Cunningham.
The word Lipī used by Ashoka to describe his "Edicts". Brahmi script (Li= La+ i; pī= Pa+ ii). The word would be of Old Persian origin ("Dipi").
Connections between Phoenician (4th column) and Brahmi (5th column). Note that 6th-to-4th-century BCE Aramaic (not shown) is in many cases intermediate in form between the two.
The Prakrit word "Dha-ṃ-ma" (Dharma) in the Brahmi script, as inscribed by Ashoka in his Edicts. Topra Kalan pillar, now in New Delhi (3rd century BCE).
Calligraphical evolution: 3rd century BCE calligraphy (top), and a sample of the new calligraphic style introduced by the Indo-Scythians (bottom, fragment of the Mirzapur stele inscription, in the vicinity of Mathura, circa 15 CE). The text is Svāmisya Mahakṣatrapasya Śudasasya "Of the Lord and Great Satrap Śudāsa"
Classification of Brahmi characters by James Prinsep in March 1834. The structure of Brahmi (consonantal characters with vocalic "inflections") was properly identified, but the individual values of characters remained undetermined, except for four of the vocalic inflections. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal Volume 3 (March 1834).
Norwegian scholar Christian Lassen used the bilingual Greek-Brahmi coinage of Indo-Greek king Agathocles to correctly achieve in 1836 the first secure decipherement of several letters of the Brahmi script, which was later completed by James Prinsep.
Consonants of the Brahmi script, and evolution down to modern Devanagari, according to James Prinsep, as published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, in March 1838. All the letters are correctly deciphered, except for two missing on the right: 𑀰(ś) and 𑀱(ṣ). Vowels and compounds [[:File:Brahmi script vowels according to James Prinsep March 1838.jpg|here]]. All scripts derived from Brahmi are gathered under the term "Brahmic scripts".
The word Brā-hmī in modern Brahmi font
Brahmi consonants.
Some major conjunct consonants in the Brahmi script.
Early Brahmi vowel diacritics.
The Brahmi symbol for /ka/, modified to represent different vowels
A 1st century BCE/CE inscription from Sanchi: "Vedisakehi daṃtakārehi rupakaṃmaṃ kataṃ" (, "Ivory workers from Vidisha have done the carving").
Middle Brahmi vowel diacritics
1800 years separate these two inscriptions: Brahmi script of the 3rd century BCE (Edict of Ashoka), and its derivative, 16th century CE Devanagari script (1524 CE), on the Delhi-Topra pillar.
Kya (vertical assembly of consonants "Ka" Brahmi k.svg and "Ya" Brahmi y.svg), as in "Sa-kya-mu-nī " ( 𑀲𑀓𑁆𑀬𑀫𑀼𑀦𑀻, "Sage of the Shakyas")
Sva (Sa+Va)
Sya (Sa+Ya)
Hmī (Ha+Ma+i+i), as in the word "Brāhmī" (𑀩𑁆𑀭𑀸𑀳𑁆𑀫𑀻).
Early/Middle Brahmi legend on the coinage of Chastana: RAJNO MAHAKSHATRAPASA GHSAMOTIKAPUTRASA CHASHTANASA "Of the Rajah, the Great Satrap, son of Ghsamotika, Chashtana". 1st–2nd century CE.<ref>{{cite book |title=Seaby's Coin and Medal Bulletin: July 1980 |date=1980 |publisher=Seaby Publications Ltd. |page=219 |url=https://archive.org/details/seabyscoinmedalb1980base_r0l5/page/218}}</ref>
Inscribed Kushan statue of Western Satraps King Chastana, with inscription "Shastana" in Middle Brahmi script of the Kushan period (Gupta ashoka ss.svg{{sub|Gupta ashoka sta.jpg}}Gupta ashoka n.svg Ṣa-sta-na).<ref name="JBO">"The three letters give us a complete name, which I read as Ṣastana (vide facsimile and cast). Dr. Vogel read it as Mastana but that is incorrect for Ma was always written with a circular or triangular knob below with two slanting lines joining the knob" in {{cite book |title=Journal of the Bihar and Orissa Research Society |date=1920 |publisher=The Society |url=https://books.google.com/books?id=yKZEAQAAMAAJ |language=en}}</ref>
The rulers of the Western Satraps were called Mahākhatapa ("Great Satrap") in their Brahmi script inscriptions, as here in a dedicatory inscription by Prime Minister Ayama in the name of his ruler Nahapana, Manmodi Caves, circa 100 CE.<ref>{{cite book|last1=Burgess|first1=Jas|title=Archaeological Survey Of Western India|date=1883|page=103|url=https://archive.org/stream/in.ernet.dli.2015.35775}}</ref>
Nasik Cave inscription No.10. of Nahapana, Cave No.10.
Gupta script on stone Kanheri Caves, one of the earliest descendants of Brahmi
The Gopika Cave Inscription of Anantavarman, in the Sanskrit language and using the Gupta script. Barabar Caves, Bihar, or 6th century CE.
Coin of Alchon Huns ruler Mihirakula. Obv: Bust of king, with legend in Gupta script (Gupta_allahabad_j.svg)Gupta_allahabad_y.svgGupta_allahabad_tu.jpg{{sup|Gupta_allahabad_mi.jpg}}{{sup|Gupta ashoka hi.jpg}}Gupta_allahabad_r.svgGupta_allahabad_ku.jpgGupta_allahabad_l.svg,<ref>The "h" (Gupta ashoka h.svg) is an early variant of the Gupta script</ref> (Ja)yatu Mihirakula ("Let there be victory to Mihirakula").<ref>{{cite book |last1=Verma |first1=Thakur Prasad |title=The Imperial Maukharis: History of Imperial Maukharis of Kanauj and Harshavardhana |date=2018 |publisher=Notion Press |isbn=9781643248813 |page=264 |url=https://books.google.com/books?id=09FqDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT264 |language=hi}}</ref><ref>{{cite book |last1=Sircar |first1=D. C. |title=Studies in Indian Coins |date=2008 |publisher=Motilal Banarsidass |isbn=9788120829732 |page=376 |url=https://books.google.com/books?id=m1JYwP5tVQUC&pg=PA376 |language=en}}</ref><ref>{{cite book |last1=Tandon |first1=Pankaj | pages=24–34|title=Notes on the Evolution of Alchon Coins Journal of the Oriental Numismatic Society, No. 216, Summer 2013 |date=2013 |publisher= Oriental Numismatic Society |url=http://coinindia.com/galleries-alchon-early.html}} also Coinindia Alchon Coins (for an exact description of this coin type)</ref>
Sanchi inscription of Chandragupta II.

The Lalitavistara Sūtra states that young Siddhartha, the future Gautama Buddha (~500 BCE), mastered philology, Brahmi and other scripts from the Brahmin Lipikāra and Deva Vidyāiṃha at a school.

As of 2018, Harry Falk refined his view by affirming that Brahmi was developed from scratch in a rational way at the time of Ashoka, by consciously combining the advantages of the pre-existing Greek script and northern Kharosthi script.

James Prinsep then analysed a large number of donatory inscriptions on the reliefs in Sanchi, and noted that most of them ended with the same two Brahmi characters: "𑀤𑀦𑀁".