During his reign, Emperor Asoka of Maurya accomplished moral reform due to his conversion to Buddhism. Emperor Asoka's program of moral reform manifested itself in three ways during his reign: instilling Buddhist practices and policies on the people, instituting the Law of Piety and following the practice of vegetarianism within the royal court.
- Instilling Buddhist practices and policies on the people: In 256 B.C., Asoka went to war with three Kalinga kingdoms, in what is known as Orissa. More than 100,000 people died during that war. Due to the devastation that the war caused, Emperor Asoka changed his way of thinking, and he never sent his army into battle again. He converted to Buddhism, and he has been credited with being the first Emperor to try to instill the Buddhist practices and policies on people everywhere.
- Instituting the Law of Piety: He created a moral idealism known as the Law of Piety, wherein he declared that respect must be given where it was due, particularly to parents, superiors, elders, teachers, and relations. Emperor Asoka also sent missionaries to far places, such as China and Greece, in an attempt to get others to follow the Law of Piety.
- Following the practice of vegetarianism within the royal court: Emperor Asoka prohibited the act of slaying animals for food.
It was his humanitarian principles that have earned him a spot as one of the leading moral teachers in history.