This is the recording of a live session with Dr. Sonam Kachru who is an Asst. Professor in the Dept of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, USA. He teaches a number of courses in Buddhism at the University and has written some wonderful articles on Ashoka from a Buddhist as well as contemporary perspective. This interview is based on some questions that he was kind enough to respond to for Long History Short with Ranjit.
The discussion included a critical examination of Ashoka's edicts in which he announced having turned an Upasak or a practising Buddhist. Also, other edicts where Ashoka talks about the Dhamma that upholds values of non-violence, truthfulness, good speech, respect for other religions and sects, as well as putting the welfare of society above all other responsibilities of a ruler. Dr. Kachru explains how Ashoka may have tried to create a universal code of ethics rather than simply transmitted the teachings of any one sect alone.
Enjoy this interesting conversation, the first amongst many more to be produced by Long History Short with Ranjit.