King Ashoka

One day King Ashoka was in his palace-fortress. Suddenly he heard a voice chanting, "Buddham saranam gacchami" (I take refuge in the Lord Buddha). Again and again he heard this voice chanting the same words. It was so soothing to him. He thought of the Buddha's Compassion and he felt that a change was taking place in his life.

When he went outside into the streets, he saw one of the greatest followers of the Buddha chanting nearby. King Ashoka approached him and said, "Please forgive me, but I have heard your chanting, and now I wish to be initiated. I wish to be a follower of the Lord Buddha."

After that, Ashoka took refuge in the Lord Buddha — in the Buddha's Compassion and in the Buddha's Light. He no longer paid any attention to his kingdom or to his throne. Everywhere Ashoka went — even inside mountain caves and on pillars — the Buddha's message was inscribed: Ahimsa paramo dharma (Non-violence is the greatest virtue).