Tag Archive | buddhism

Read transcript of Ep 4: Ashoka

Brahmi Inscription

Alternatively, follow this link to hear Ep 4: Ashoka and read the show notes. Transcription by Amy Carpenter.

[fade in, with devotional music playing in the distance]

Dr Bharati Pal:

… in Gujarat, in Maharashtra, in Andhra Pradesh, in Bihar, all… in Uttar Pradesh, in all parts of India.

Ian McDonald:

And in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Read More…

VegHist Ep 4: Ashoka. On India’s animal advocate Buddhist king and the spread of the śramanas; with Bharati Pal and Suchandra Ghosh; at the Kalinga rock edict, India

A sculptured elephant walks out of the stone. Brahmi "pinman" script is superposed on the background. There is a Buddhist pagoda in the background.

In the largest ancient Indian empire, at the height of its power, its Buddhist king advocates for animals in his edicts, and tries to change India for good.

Episode 4: Ashoka

In the fourth century BCE, the śramaṇa movement (anti-violence anti-ritual ascetics) has produced three religions: the vegetarian Jains, the freegan(ish) Buddhists, and the mysterious (and now vanished) Ājīvikas. The Mauryan Empire is absorbing almost all of the subcontinent, from present-day Afghanistan to the Bay of Bengal.

At its height in the middle of the third century BCE, the king – Ashoka – has edicts carved in stones and columns across the realm. Alongside the rulings and propaganda you might expect, his edicts oppose the slaughter and abuse of animals.

Ian travels to the Indian Museum in Calcutta to speak with historian Dr Suchandra Ghosh. And he visits a hillside that looks down on the battlefield that – King Ashoka says – turned him way from violence forever, and where Ashoka erected an edict that still stands today.

Play or download (44MB MP3) (via iTunes)

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Read transcript of Ep 3: Pythagoreans

Writing in Greek on gold leaf

Alternatively, follow this link to hear the episode & read the show notes. Transcription by Amy Carpenter.

[Chatter, doors, steps]

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Read transcript of Ep 2: Middle Path

Burmese writing in pattern

Alternatively, follow this link to hear the episode & read the show notes. Transcription by Amy Carpenter.

[Tibetan horns. Buddhist chanting]
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VegHist Ep 2: The Middle Path. On Siddharta Gautama, and Buddhism; with Rev Varasambodhi Thera, Peter Flugel, and Richard Gombrich; at Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya, India

Buddhist monks under a large tree

Ian travels to the tree where the Buddha is said to have achieved enlightenment, and explores the paradox of his early followers’ attitudes to vegetarianism.

Episode 2: The Middle Path

Of the many monks of the ancient Indian kingdom of Magadha, only one has become a global household name. Buddhism will spread ahimsa to the ends of the earth, and inspires many millions of vegetarians today.

And yet the oldest Buddhist texts seem to portray the Buddha eating meat. Hear commentary from theologians from both vegetarian and meat-eating interpretations of Buddhism, the insights of world-leading historians, and a dramatisation of the moment in early texts where vegetarian Jain activists clash with Buddhist meat-eating.

Play or download (43MB MP3) (via iTunes) or read transcript.
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"The Vegan Option Vegetarianism: The Story So Far - A Radio History