Who gave Ashoka the teachings of the Buddhist religion?

By Sunil Kumar

s one of India’s most famous emperors; Ashoka’s life story has been a constant source of debate and discussion. According to 11th century royal historian Kalhana; Ashoka was a devout Hindu till his conversion to Buddhism; and his favorite deity was Shiva.

Nearly all accounts detail his brutal accession to the throne; but the story of conversion after the Kalinga war is disputed by some historians. According to most sources; the person who initiated Ashoka into the Buddhist religion was Upagupta.

See links:


Impact and Influence of Buddhism on King Ashoka the Great

Upagupta’s teacher was Sanavasi who was a disciple of Ānanda, the Buddha’s attendant. Due to the absence of his name in Theravada literature it is assumed that Upagupta was a Sarvāstivādin monk. In South East Asian countries he is revered as a cult figure. Also; in Myanmar; he’s known as Shin Upagutta.

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