Buddhist Parallels in Inscriptions

Section Three concerns the inscriptions of famed Indian Buddhist king Ashoka or Aśōka (fl. 262-239 BCE), who sent out Buddhist missionaries to "all parts" of the known world. The traces of the missionaries can be found, evidently, all the way to Great Britain, although the extent of this reach remains a matter of debate.

Lockwood's anthology includes a survey of Ashokan texts, such as the rock edicts from Erragudi, Andhra Pradesh, in which the emperor clearly states, referring to the "conquest through Dharma" or Buddhist practices:

And such a conquest has been achieved by the "Beloved of the Gods" not only here [in his own dominions] but also in the territories bordering [on his dominions], as far away as [at the distance of] six hundred Yojanas, [where] the Yavana king named Antiyoka [is ruling and where], beyond [the kingdom of] the said Antiyoka, four other kings named Tulamaya, Antikeni, Maka and Alikasundara [are also ruling], [and] towards the south, where the Codas and Pandyas [are living], as far as Tamraparni. (Lockwood, 51)

Lockwood (53) notes that "Antiyoka" is Antiochus II (fl. 261-246 BCE), the Greek ruler of the Seleucid Empire, and "Tulamaya" is Ptolemy II Philadelphius (fl. 285-247 BCE), while "Antikeni" is Antigonas Gonatas of Macedonia (fl. 277-239 BCE), "Maka" is Magas of Cyrene (fl. c. 288-258 BCE), and "Alikasundara" is Alexander II of Epirus (fl. 272-255 BCE).

As Lockwood demonstrates by including several other such inscriptions, the same proclamation can be found in multiple places around the relevant area, providing further evidence of Buddhism's migration into the Near East, Greece, Egypt and Africa during the third century BCE.

Source: Buddhism's Relation to Christianity