[from V. The Third Recital]

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[The Conversion of Asoka - 2]
306-330 = Mhv. 62-86

Because of that established sense of love the King very quickly summoned him, but he approached in his peaceful way. “Sit down, Dear, on a suitable seat” said the Lord of the Earth. Not having seen any other monk, he approached the lion’s seat. As he approached the throne the King reflected: “Today this novice will be the master in my house.”

He took hold of the King’s hand and ascended the throne, and sat below the white canopy over the King’s throne. Having seen him sitting there the Lord of the World Asoka was satisfied at heart that he honoured him according to his virtue.

Having satisfied him with the food prepared for himself, he questioned the novice about the Dhamma taught by the Perfectly Awakened One. The novice recited the Section on Heedfulness Geiger mentions that there are 11 sections of the Thematic Discourses with this title; but the section that came to my mind was the second in the Dhammapada.01 to him; after hearing that, the Protector of the Earth found faith in the Victor’s Dispensation.

He said to him: “Dear, I give you eight meals in perpetuity.” He said: “I give them to my preceptor, King!” Again when eight more were given he gave them to his teacher, and with the giving of eight more he gave them to the Community of monks. With the giving of eight more, being wise, he accepted them for himself.

He took thirty-two monks and went on the second day, and they were satisfied with the King’s own hand, and he taught the Lord of the Earth Dhamma and established him and the multitude in the Refuges and the Precepts.

After that the faithful King day by day increased the number of monks by successively doubling them until there were sixty thousand. After putting aside sixty thousand of the sectarians, he ever fed sixty thousand Buddhist monks in his house.

To feed the sixty thousand monks he had the very best staple and non-staple foods quickly got ready, adorned the city and went and invited the Community to his house. He led them back, and after feeding them he gave them many things needed by an ascetic. Such as bowls, robes, strainers, etc.02

Then he asked: “How much Dhamma was taught by the Teacher?” Then the Elder Moggaliputta Tissa explained it to him. After hearing: “There are eighty-four thousand sections,” the Lord of the Earth said: “I will worship each of them with a monastery.”

Then the Lord of the World placed riches worth nine-hundred and sixty millions in the eighty-four thousand cities on the earth and made them start building the monasteries right there and then; and he himself undertook to have the Asokārāma built.

For the Three Treasures, Nigrodha and the sick in the Dispensation, he gave day by day separately one hundred thousand. With the wealth given to the Awakened One they continually made innumerable offerings to the Shrines in innumerable monasteries. With the wealth given to the Dhamma the people continually presented the four noble requisites to the monks who were bearers of the Dhamma.

From the water of the Anotatta See v. 267 above.03 he gave four measures to the Community; day by day he gave one to the sixty Elders who knew the Three Baskets;Those who knew the Tipiṭaka, or Three Baskets of the Teaching by heart.04 but two he had given to Queen Asandhimittā; and the Lord of the World enjoyed two himself. As there are only eight measures, the numbers do not add up, and we should read ekaṁ in the verse above, with Mhv.05 Day by day he gave toothpicks made from betel wood to sixty thousand monks and to sixteen thousand dancing women.