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All early Buddhist accounts agree that there were only five patriarchs between the death of the Buddha and the reign of Emperor Ashoka.
Dating the Buddha’s life based on the succession of patriarchs seems to be a much more reliable method of calculation than basing it on any dates which are often inaccurate and contradictory.
This view favours a date closer to a hundred years before the time of Ashoka’s reign: a nearly 220 year gap (which is the amount of time suggested by the corrected long chronology) seems to be too much time for only five patriarchs.
Indian Emperor Ashoka the Great (304–232 BCE), who ruled India from 268 to 232 BCE, seems to have turned Buddhism into a state religion and encouraged Buddhist missionary activity.
He also provided a favourable climate for the acceptance of Buddhist ideas, and generated among Buddhist monks certain expectations of patronage and influence on the machinery of political decision making.
There are still areas in which there is no agreement among scholars and these include disputes over translations of different key doctrinal terms, reliability of different sources, even the date in which the Buddha was born and died is uncertain.
As research increases and becomes more specific in different areas, we come across the paradox of scholars knowing more and more about less and less.
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