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Indian cultures: focus on Hinduism and Buddhism


Before answering the question, read the following excerpt.
"In the beginning, Ashoka ruled the empire like his grandfather did, in an efficient but cruel way. He used military strength in order to expand the empire and created sadistic rules against criminals.
During the expansion of the Mauryan Empire, Ashoka led a war against a feudal state named Kalinga … . The disaster in Kalinga was supreme: with around 300,000 casualties, the city devastated and thousands of surviving men, women and children deported.
What happened after this war has been subject to numerous stories and it is not easy to make a sharp distinction between facts and fiction. What is actually supported by historical evidence is that Ashoka issued an edict expressing his regret for the suffering inflicted in Kalinga and assuring that he would renounce war and embrace the propagation of dharma. What Ashoka meant by dharma is not entirely clear: some believe that he was referring to the teachings of the Buddha and, therefore, he was expressing his conversion to Buddhism."
From "Ashoka," Ancient History Encyclopedia, September 2013.
According to the available evidence, Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism
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