As far as I know, the only evidence having claim over the fact about Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism is the Ashokavadana, a work of the Buddhists themselves. Nor is this fact verifiable by Ashoka's Edicts or Pillars.

Do we have any independent evidence (documentary or otherwise), about Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism? Maybe through the writings of any of the Greek Historians like Megasthenes or somebody?


Dipavamsa VI 18 states (see page 43 in Oldenburg's work)

Asoko rajjam kâresi Pàțaliputte prurruttame,

Abhisitto tîņi vassâni pasanno buddhasàsane

Which roughly translates to,

Ashoka ruled in Pataliputra, best of towns, Three years after his coronation, he converted to Budhhism

So, yes there is a source.

  • 1
    Three years after coronation? And what about all the stories that after the Kalinga war he felt a lot of remorse and because of that he converted. Kalinga war was much later than 3 years after coronation (10 years if I remember correctly). Mar 6 '15 at 10:47
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    @Prahalad Yeri " Kalinga war was much later than 3 years after coronation (10 years if I remember correctly)." Were you there in Ashoka's time? :) History which we see today, are speculations deduced from various tangible sources. And Dipavamsa is one of the sources contributing in deduction
    – Rohit
    Mar 6 '15 at 10:56
  • @Rohit "Were you there in Ashoka's time?". That does not fit into History Stack Exchange. History is about not being there. So try to answer the question directly.
    – Rajib
    Mar 7 '15 at 6:32
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    Chronology does not descend from heavens right? People conclude that this must have happened at this and this time, because this and this points to so.
    – Rohit
    Mar 7 '15 at 17:20
  • 2
    I'm not sure what the problem is here. The OP asked if there exist any historical evidence of the conversion other than the one listed. Rohit answered the question with what looks to me like independent evidence. Asked and answered and very well done at that (sourced and all.)
    – CGCampbell
    Apr 5 '15 at 12:11

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