Journal of Buddhist Ethics

An online journal of Buddhist scholarship related to ethics.


Rules for Bhikṣuṇīs and Bhikṣus

ISSN:1076–9005
Volume 6, 1999

A Buddhist View of Women: A Comparative Study of the Rules for Bhikṣuṇīs and Bhikṣus Based on the Chinese Prātimokṣa

In Young Chung
Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley

A generalized view of women in Buddhism is imposed by almost one hundred additional rules and the “Eight Rules” upon nuns. Some scholars, writers, and practitioners have asserted that the rules in the Prātimokṣa subordinate nuns to monks. However, I argue that the additional pārājikas for nuns treat sexual matters seriously because of the fertility of females. Some sa.mghĀva”seṣas for nuns provide safeguards against falling victim to lustful men. Some ni.hsargika-pāyantikas for monks forbid them from taking advantage of nuns. Two aniyatas for monks show a landmark in trust in women. Furthermore, seven adhikara.na”samathas provide evidence of the equality of men and women. Many of the additional pāyantikas for nuns originated because of nuns’ living situations and social conditions in ancient India. Finally, the totally different tone and discrepancies in penalties for the same offenses between the pāyantikas and the “Eight Rules” suggest that the “Eight Rules” were appended later.

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Problems with Bhikkhunīs in the Pāli Vinaya

ISSN:1076–9005
Volume 6, 1999

Damming the Dhamma: Problems with Bhikkhunīs in the Pali Vinaya

Kate Blackstone
University of Manitoba

Why should one of the contesting voices insist on the decline of saddhamma? How can women’s subordination help preserve the dhamma? This paper poses a possible answer. The Vinaya represents a very formalized statement of both the individual and communal dimensions of monastic life. It prescribes the activities, appearance, decorum, and lifestyle of individual bhikkhus and bhikkhunīs. It also specifies the procedures and protocol for the administration of the sangha. In so doing, the Vinaya authorizes and delimits the mandate of the monastic community over its members and in relation to its supporting community. In the terms of my analysis, it articulates a model of self-identity and a set of guidelines for the expression of that identity.

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