PASSAGE A – HIS – History
Edicts of Ashoka
The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of thirty-three inscriptions on the Pillars of Ashoka, as well as boulders and cave walls dispersed throughout the areas of modern day Pakistan, Nepal, and India. These edicts mention that Buddhism reached as far as the Mediterranean, and many Buddhist monuments were created in a wide area. Buddhism and the Buddha are mentioned, the edicts focus on social and moral precepts rather than religious practices.
The contents of the edicts make it clear that all the legends about his wise and humane rule are more than justified and qualify him to be ranked as one of the greatest rulers. In these edicts, he spoke of what might have been called state morality, and private or individual morality. Both types of morality were instilled with the Buddhist values of compassion, moderation, tolerance, and respect for all life. This made people very open to what he had to say.
It is very clear that Buddhism was the most influential force in Ashoka’s life and that he hoped his subjects would adopt his religion. He went on pilgrimages to Lumbini and Bodh Gaya, sent teaching monks to various regions in India and beyond its borders, as he was familiar enough with the sacred texts to recommend some of them to the monastic community. It is also very clear that Ashoka saw the reforms he instituted as being a part of his duties as a Buddhist. But, while he was an enthusiastic Buddhist, he was not biased towards his own religion or intolerant of other religions. Which is why this was most likely a reason that people were more inclined to accept this religion, they were open minded. He seemed to have genuinely hoped to be able to encourage everyone to practice his or her own religion with the same conviction that he practiced his.
He proved to be a tolerant monarch who, although himself a Buddhist, never sought to impose his personal religion on his subjects. In his twelfth major Rock Edict, he states that in honoring of other sects’ lies the honor of one’s own sect. As a king, Ashoka set a very high ideal for himself. He saw himself as a father and the subjects as his children. He communicated his thoughts and philosophy to his people by inscribing them on stone pillars and rock surfaces. These edicts are remarkable examples of Mauryan architecture and also of engineering skills. They are the living monuments of his times.
PASSAGE B – ESC – Earth Science
The glacier that I chose is called Vatnajökull, also known as the Water Glacier, formed over 2000 years ago in Iceland. I chose this glacier because it is the largest glacier in Iceland and the largest glacier mass in all of Europe. Throughout the years, global warming has begun to impact the giant glacier. Giant chunks of ice have been falling off of it and washing up to the Jökulsárlón Lagoon, which is about 200 miles away from the glacier. Unfortunately, this lagoon was only formed about 60 years ago due to the recession of the glacier as it melted, leaving giant gorges and water left behind. According to the Icelandic government Committee on Climate Change predicts that by the next century, there will be no more glaciers in Iceland. There is an estimate of melting ice by one meter per year while its outlet glaciers are melting at a more rapid rate. Below I attached a picture of a portion of the giant glacier!
Please and Thank You.