were suited to different purposes, and therefore the locations and the contents
of the kinds of Edicts follow a certain pattern.
    The Major Rock Edicts are placed along the borders of the empire,
including the two Kalinga Edicts in the newly conquered territory on the Bay
of Bengal. The Fourteen Major Rock Edicts cover a very large scope,
opening with two edicts on specific provisions concerning the slaughtering of
animals and the provision of medical and welfare services; then proceeding to
the consideration of broader applications of dhamma in morality and the
administration of justice, the nature of dhamma, and its effects in tolerance,
ritual, and charity; and closing with the history of the Kalinga war and its
    The two Kalinga Edicts (sometimes called Edicts XV and XVI) substitute
for three Edicts (XI on charity and the kinship of mankind, XII on religious
tolerance, and XIII on the Kalinga war and the ‘change of heart’) two edicts
addressed to the officials administering the conquered territory concerning
the problems of morality, the administration of justice, and the problem of
reducing the apprehensions of neighbouring peoples and promoting
international peace.
    The Major Pillar Edicts were erected in important cities and along roads
within the empire. Three of the pillars are found on the road from Pataliputra
to the Buddhist holy places at the foot of the Himalayas. The pattern of their
contents is simpler; they open with two edicts on the nature of dhamma,
proceed to three which apply dhamma to the control of sin and passion, the
promulgation of morality and justice, and the regulation of feasts and animal
slaughter, and close with an edict (or two edicts in the case of the Topra
column) on means of promulgating morality.
    The Minor Rock Edicts are for the most part concentrated in the south
and central parts of the empire. They are concerned with Asoka’s activity as a
Buddhist lay disciple, with a practical code of ethics, and finally in the only
edict addressed to the Buddhist clergy, Minor Rock Edict III with Buddhist
texts on dhamma.
    Two of the three Minor Pillar Edicts and the two Pillar Inscriptions (in
Nepal) are concerned with Buddhism. The, Cave Inscriptions, found in the
Barabar Hills, are brief dedications of shelter for monks during the rainy