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is yet another example of truth turning into fiction through subsequent retelling and embellishment Although it is difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction a story that has survived for over 2500 years must contain some portion of fact But do the facts inspire or is it how the story is told Approximately 500 - 600 years after the death of the Buddha the Buddha-Karita Acts of the Buddha from which the Enlightenment of the Buddha has been reworked was originally written by the Indian poet Ashvaghosha Although a consensus has not yet been reached it is believed he lived sometime between AD 50 - 150 It is documented that he became the spiritual counselor for the court of Kanishka a Buddhist emperor of the Kushana dynasty after the defeat of Pataliputra Kanishka is mostly remembered for convening the fourth great Buddhist council in Kashmir which was organized by Ashvaghosha this marked the beginning of pantheistic Mahayana Buddhism Ashvaghosha was born into a Brahmin family not in the predominantly Buddhist northern India Although he did not start out being Buddhist Ashvaghosha became a true follower of the Buddhas teachings As a highly intelligent man his Brahminical beliefs led him to debate the virtues of Buddhism with anyone who would dare Ashvaghoshas reputation preceded him During his travels he arrived at Magadha in central India a Buddhist stronghold A northern Buddhist thinker Parshva decided not only to propose a challenge to Ashvaghosha but also to convert him to Buddhism This proposal included a debate after which the defeated individual would become a disciple of the victor Ashvaghosha accepted those terms and allowed for Parshva to ask the first question Parshva asked Ashvaghosha in front of a large assembly one simple question What shall we have to do in order to keep the kingdom in perfect peace to have the king live long to let the people enjoy abundance and prosperity all free from evils
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