Buddhism



After Buddha's death, followers collected teachings, called the dharma. Dharma means true nature of things, often symbolized by wheel. Monks and nuns in religious communities made Buddhism a formal religion. Some Buddhists became wandering holy men, tried to live like Buddha. Buddhism later split into branches but most worshiped Buddha as a God. Different branches stressed different approaches to enlightenment.

Asoka, the Buddhist King, Chandragupta's grandson, greatest Maurya king began rule in 269 B.C., fought bloody war to take nearby kingdom. Later gave up warfare, ruled peacefully by Buddhist teachings, law. He carved policies of nonviolence, truth, kindness on rocks, pillars. He sent missionaries to spread Buddhism, but allowed other religions and he improved travel by building wells, hospitals, rest houses by roads.

Chandragupta Maurya became king of Magadha around 321 B.C. He conquered land, spread Maurya Empire over much of subcontinent. He Kept control with spies, army; taxed land, crops to pay officials. Legend says he became nonviolent Jainist monk at end of life. The Jainism religion also began in India that teaches ahimsa ornonviolence. The Jains believe all living things have souls and should not be hurt.