Earliest Cultural Globalization: A Study Through Buddha’s Political Thoughts And Theories

Buddha’s Political Thoughts And Theories

Dr. Ashwaveer Gajbhiye

The scholar and Historians of the culture and civilization are well acknowledged that Buddha’s teachings (Dhamma) is only confined to the particular designation of man but also this concerned and applied to every one person in the living world. His teachings is to be applied on a man and women, whether he or she is a lay women or men, an officer, minister, representative of any political and cultural institute, or in another words whether he would have a poor or beggar or a king. Therefore, his teachings are relevance forever since ancient past to every individual in respect to his designations and status, in every field of culture and civilization. He taught his Dhamma in same excellence to the poorest in poor and richest in the rich. Particularly the taught some distinguishing teachings to the rulers on politics.

            The object of this paper is to be show the importance of his political thoughts and theories on king an kingship and how the first cultural globalization has been taken place in the history of world civilization. The sources shows that due to the ennoble ideals and his teaching the first cultural globalization has been taken place by the dint of the first great Buddhist ruler namely the King Ashoka in 3rd Century B.C. Because Buddha’s teaching is not confined for and one country, it is worldwide, cosmopolitan is its nature. And due to having zealous faith in Buddhism the King Ashoka attempted for the world peace by dispatching missionaries abroad in the world.

Buddha’s political thought:

          When Siddharth Gautama obtained Enlightenment, and became Arhat, Samyak-Sambudha, he was visited by each and every kinds of individuals. He also personally wandered everywhere, wherever it was possible to him for the preaching of his Dhamma. In this course he had number of ruling people, to whom he taught his Dhamma. In this connection the king Bimbisar of Magadha was first one, who heard and was converted into Buddhism. Second one immediate later him was the king Prasenjit of Kosala. Buddha taught him thus- ‘‘Our good or evil deeds fallow us continually like shadows…….Regard your people as we do only son. Do not oppress them, do not destroy There is no profit in vexing oneself by austerities, but meditate on Dhamma and might the righteous law. We are enclosed on all sides by the rocks of sorrow and ill and only are considering the true law can we escape from this sorrow filled mountain ’’ Buddha taught him his rights and duties towards his subject for the betterment of himself as well as for kingdom and his subjects. While giving his sermons on socio political question, he advocated that do not depend on the favour of princes. He taught, if the king is righteous his subjects will be righteous. He taught, it is the social system on which depends political and military strength. He declared war is not essential, it is wrong. While giving his sermon on the duty of the victor, he taught that if peace had any meaning it means that the victor has a duty to use his victory for the service of the vanquished.

Cultural Globalization Through Buddha’s Political Thoughts:

The path of good living, which was promulgated by the Buddha and for the first time, it was exposed to the five parivrajakas (ascetics) at Sarnath (Isipatan-the Deer park) was called by himself ‘Dhamma’. Historically this ennoble Dhamma was remained confined to the old Magadhan and Kosala State (Modern Bihar and Uttar Pradesh) for centuries after the Mahaprinirvana (Death) of Buddha till 3rd Century B.C. The real combination of Buddha’s spiritual and political thoughts has been applied for the welfare of whole world for the first time by the king Ashoka.

For the first time in Indian history, it was only, propagated and propounded in all over ancient Indian Sub-continent and beyond the border of India, abroad in the world, by the great Buddhist King Ashoka, in the 3rd Century B.C. He was the first king in the history of world civilization and culture, who laboured greatly for the propagation of Dhamma in the world, in order to establishing common brotherhood among peoples of different nations. This is the conclusions in the light of epigraphical, archaeological and literary records.

The king Ashoka, after his ordination in Buddhism, the Buddhism spread not only in all over India but also to Ceylon, Burma and South-East Asian countries. The son of the king Ashoka, Mahendra was sent along with other monks to Ceylon for propagating Buddhism. And consequently the first cultural globalization has been taken place.

The king Ashoka was a zealous Buddhist. He was aware about what is good and what is evil to the good health of society, and ultimately for the welfare and happiness of the whole of human being. For this ennoble task he had unshakable faith that the only Buddhist way of life is worthy.

Officially the king Ashoka had made two types of arrangements. Firstly, he created a new department in his government the department of ‘Socio-Cultural Affairs’ or ‘The department of censors’, called the department of Mahamattras’, because the head of this department was entitled, ‘Mahamatra’ itself. Secondly, he made arrangement for this, through establishing and engraving inscriptions on stone, pillars and rocks. According to Pillar Edict VI, (Delhi-Tappa Text) he inscribed pillar for the welfare and happiness of the people. For the purpose he dispatched missionaries in all over his state and beyond the border of his state.

It is said that, the missionaries were sent after the so called third great Buddhist Council at Pataliputra under the supervision of Mogallipurta Tishya. According to epigraphical and literary tradition the king Ashoka dispatched three types of missionaries in and outside of his State. First he dispatched his Envoys (Major Rock Edict XIII), secondly he dispatched Dhammamahatra (Major Rock Edict V), and thirdly he dispatched religious missionaries who were deputed exclusively for religious purpose. Regarding the importance of /Buddhist missionaries sent by Ashoka, Dr. D. R. Bhandarkar says- ‘‘It may now be asked’ What was the upshot of the phenomenal missionary activity dispatched by Asoka? Did it lead to a similarly phenomenal spread of Buddhism in India or outside? The question has to be answered decidedly in the affirmative. For we do find Buddhism suddenly spread over a very wide area from about the middle of the third century B.C. onwards and studding the various parts of India and Afghanistan with /Buddhist edifices, such as stupas, monasteries and caves.’’

According to Dipavamsa the group of missionaries were constituted of a four member. In this way-

Mahasthavir Mazzantik dispatched to Gandhar country (Kashmir and Peshawar),Sthavira Mahadeva was dispatched to Mahishna Mandala (Mysore, Khandesh, the Western Part of Narmada),

Mahasthavir Rakshita was dispatched to Vanavasa (North Kanara)Yavanak Dharmarakshita was dispatched to Aparatak Pradesh (North-west frontier provinces),

Sthavir Mazzim was dispatched to Himalayan Pradesh with Kashyapagotra, Sahadeva and Sthavir Malukdeva,

Sthavir Uttara and Sona were sent to Suvarnabhoomi (Myanmar) and Mahendra and Sanghamitra were dispatched to Lankadvipa (Ceylon) with other four Sthavira.


The evidences shows that the king Ashoka’s religious zeal and his missionary activities imparted far reaching effect in all over the country as well as outside of Indian subcontinent.  This missionary activity dispatched by the great Buddhist king played its vital role regarding the establishment of world peace besides, the spread of Buddhism in and outside of India, and the earliest cultural globalization has been taken place. The upshot of Buddha’s political thoughts and theories has been seen in the theory and concept of ‘Dhammachakkavati Sinhanad Sutta’ Buddha wanted to establish ruled on righteous. For this he gave concept and theory of ‘Dhammachakkavati’. According to this theory the ruler reigned this rule without the strength of weapon but on the basis of Dhamma peacefully. This concept and theory was applied by the king Ashoka first.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *