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The Offering

Retold by Rohini Chowdhury


Tales from History


The Offering

Robert Bruce and the Spider






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Ashoka was one of the greatest kings of ancient times. His empire consisted of most of present-day India, and extended as far west as Afghanistan, and included parts of Persia as well. In later life, he became a Buddhist and he is remembered for his just and wise rule. Ashoka inscribed his 'dhamma', his code, on rocks and pillars. These can still be seen in India today. Ashoka inscribed his edicts in Pali, the language spoken by the common people, so that everyone could understand his words. Ashoka ruled from 269 to 232 BC.

Read a story about Ashoka, that is related in the 'Ashokavadana', a book about the life and reign of Ashoka, written sometime in the 2nd century AD.


Long ago, in a little village in India, there lived a child called Jaya. One day Gautam Buddha came to his village.

The villagers gathered round the Buddha, welcoming him into their village. They made a comfortable seat for him in the cool shade of a leafy peepul tree. The women washed the dust of travel from his feet, and offered him fruit to eat and cool water to drink.

The child watched fascinated. He could not take his eyes off the face of the Buddha, the quiet calm countenance, the deep dark eyes, the air of contentment. He couldn't understand much of what the Buddha said, but marveled instead at the sound of his voice, soft, serene, and full of conviction. The men and women listened enthralled. The Buddha spoke all day and through the night. The child sat there - among the grown ups, all hunger and thirst forgotten. Some time during the night, he fell asleep, and when he awoke, he saw that the Buddha was getting ready to leave.

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Last updated: April 2010. Copyright © Rohini Chowdhury 2002. All rights reserved.

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