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An alphabet (vaṇṇamālā) is a set of letters or symbols in a fixed order used for writing a language. The Buddha's discourses were first written in India, probably around the 2nd century BCE, in a script called Brahmi. The edicts of King Ashoka were written in this same script. Brāhmī has 72 letters and was written from left to right. All later Indian scripts evolved from Brahmī as did Sinhalese, Tibetan, Burmese, Thai and the ancient scripts of the Malay world.

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