Was King Ashoka Mahayana or Theravada?

Was King Ashoka Mahayana or Theravada or did his form of Buddhism pre-exist both? It’s an interesting question which scholars are divided on.

If he was Mahayana, then Mahayana Buddhism originated earlier than some assert today.

Asoka’s period is pre-sectarian period of Buddhism, there’s no Theravada or Mahayana in that time.


And to build on Seniya’s reply, all of the explicit Dhamma we can glean from Ashoka’s writings, in terms of texts mentioned, concepts, ethics, and so on, pertain to Early Buddhism. It is part of the common heritage of all schools.


These are questions that I definitely don’t have an answer for. Please allow me to clarify that a better term for this discussion than Mahayana might be proto-Mahayana.