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==Religion==
 
===Jainism===
[[File:Shravanabelagola2007 - 44.jpg|thumb|Bhadrabahu Cave, [[Shravanabelagola]] where [[Chandragupta Maurya|Chandragupta]] is said to have died]]
Chandragupta Maurya embraced [[Jainism]] after retiring, when he renounced his throne and material possessions to join a wandering group of Jain monks. Chandragupta was a disciple of the Jain monk [[Bhadrabahu|Acharya Bhadrabahu]]. It is said that in his last days, he observed the rigorous but self-purifying Jain ritual of [[santhara]] (fast unto death), at [[Shravana Belgola]] in [[Karnataka]].{{sfn|R. K. Mookerji|1966|pp=39-41}}{{sfn|Romila Thapar|2004|p=178}}{{sfn|Hermann Kulke|2004|pp=64-65}}{{sfn|Geoffrey Samuel|2010|pp=60}} [[Samprati]], the grandson of [[Ashoka]], also patronized Jainism. Samprati was influenced by the teachings of Jain monks like Suhastin and he is said to have built 125,000 [[derasar]]s across India.{{sfn|John Cort|2010|p=142}} Some of them are still found in the towns of Ahmedabad, Viramgam, Ujjain, and Palitana.{{citation needed|date=April 2019}} It is also said that just like Ashoka, Samprati sent messengers and preachers to [[Greece]], [[Persia]] and the [[Middle East]] for the spread of Jainism, but, to date, no research has been done in this area.{{sfn|John Cort|2010|p=199}}<ref>{{cite book |last=Tukol |first=T. K. |authorlink=T. K. Tukol |title=Jainism in South India |url=http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~pluralsm/affiliates/jainism/article/south.htm |deadurl=no |archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20160304191052/http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~pluralsm/affiliates/jainism/article/south.htm |archivedate=4 March 2016 |df=dmy-all }}</ref>
 
Thus, Jainism became a vital force under the Mauryan Rule. Chandragupta and Samprati are credited for the spread of Jainism in [[South India]]. Hundreds of thousands of temples and stupas are said to have been erected during their reigns.
 
===Buddhism===
[[File:Sanchi2.jpg|thumb|The [[stupa]], which contained the relics of Buddha, at the center of the [[Sanchi]] complex was originally built by the Maurya Empire, but the balustrade around it is [[Sunga]], and the decorative gateways are from the later [[Satavahana]] period.]]
[[File:Taxila1.jpg|thumb|The [[Dharmarajika]] [[stupa]] in [[Taxila]], modern [[Pakistan]], is also thought to have been established by Emperor [[Asoka]].]]
[[Magadha]], the centre of the empire, was also the birthplace of [[Buddhism]]. Ashoka initially practised Hinduism but later embraced Buddhism; following the [[Kalinga War]], he renounced expansionism and aggression, and the harsher injunctions of the ''[[Arthashastra]]'' on the use of force, intensive policing, and ruthless measures for tax collection and against rebels. Ashoka sent a mission led by his son [[Mahinda (buddhist monk)|Mahinda]] and daughter [[Sanghamitta]] to [[Sri Lanka]], whose king [[Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura|Tissa]] was so charmed with Buddhist ideals that he adopted them himself and made Buddhism the state religion. Ashoka sent many Buddhist missions to [[West Asia]], [[Greece]] and [[South East Asia]], and commissioned the construction of monasteries and schools, as well as the publication of Buddhist literature across the empire. He is believed to have built as many as 84,000 stupas across India, such as [[Sanchi]] and [[Mahabodhi Temple]], and he increased the popularity of Buddhism in [[Afghanistan]], [[Thailand]] and [[North Asia]] including [[Siberia]]. Ashoka helped convene the [[Buddhist Councils|Third Buddhist Council]] of India's and South Asia's Buddhist orders near his capital, a council that undertook much work of reform and expansion of the Buddhist religion. Indian merchants embraced Buddhism and played a large role in spreading the religion across the Mauryan Empire.<ref>Jerry Bentley, ''Old World Encounters: Cross-Cultural Contacts in Pre-Modern Times'' (New York: Oxford University Press), 46</ref>
 
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