Journal of Buddhist Ethics

An online journal of Buddhist scholarship related to ethics.


Review: Luminosity and Personhood in Indian and Chinese Thought

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

Encounters of Mind: Luminosity and Personhood in Indian and Chinese Thought. By Douglas L. Berger. Albany: SUNY Press, 2015, 262 pages, ISBN 9781438454740 (paperback), $24.95.

Reviewed by Leah Kalmanson

Read article

Holistic Eco-Buddhism and the Problem of Universal Identity

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 22, 2015

Nature’s No-Thingness: Holistic Eco-Buddhism and the Problem of Universal Identity

Marek Sullivan
University of Oxford

“Holistic eco-Buddhism” has been roundly criticized for its heterodoxy and philosophical incoherence: the Buddha never claimed we should protect an “eco-self” and there are serious philosophical problems attendant on “identifying with things.” Yet this essay finds inadequate attention has been paid to East Asian sources. Metaphysical issues surrounding eco-Buddhism, i.e., problems of identity and difference, universalism and particularity, have a long history in Chinese Buddhism. In particular, I examine the notion of “merging with things” in pre-Huayan and Huayan Buddhism, suggesting these offer unexplored possibilities for a coherent holistic eco-Buddhism based on the differentiating effects of activity and functionality.

Read article

Review: Films about Chinese Monks

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 22, 2015

Alms & Vows. By E.A. Burger. Commonfolk Films, 2010 & 2013. $150/film.

Reviewed by Nicole Goulet

Read article

The Buddha’s Past Life as a Princess

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 22, 2015

Buddha’s Past Life as a Princess in the Ekottarika-āgama

Ven. Anālayo
University of Hamburg and Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts

In the present article I study the Ekottarika-āgama version of a past life of the Buddha as a princess. I begin with some general observations on the gender of the Buddha’s past lives as reported in jātaka narratives, followed by a translation of the relevant section from the Ekottarika-āgama. Then I compare this Ekottarika-āgama version to three other versions of this tale preserved in Pāli and Chinese, in particular in relation to the way they deal with the dictum that a woman cannot receive a prediction of future Buddhahood.

Read article

Review: The Religion of Falun Gong

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

The Religion of Falun Gong. By Benjamin Penny. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012, xiii + 262 pages, ISBN: 9780226655017 (cloth), $50.00.

Reviewed by Paul Hedges

Read article

Transforming Gender Bias in Tibetan Buddhism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

Blossoms of the Dharma: The Contribution of Western Nuns in Transforming Gender Bias in Tibetan Buddhism

Elizabeth Swanepoel
University of Pretoria

This article investigates the nature of gender imbalance in Tibetan Buddhism, particularly pertaining to the unavailability of bhikṣuṇī ordination, and the specific role Western nuns have played in contributing to transforming this imbalance. The article postulates that male privilege continues to dominate the institutional cultures of religious life in Tibetan Buddhism. However, fertile tensions have of late emerged between an underground tradition of highly accomplished female practitioners and the institutional preference for male practitioners. A revalorization process has been initiated in recent years by a number of Western female Buddhologists, some of whom are also fully ordained Tibetan Buddhist nuns. The article highlights the efforts of these accomplished nuns as well as a number of other prominent Western Tibetan Buddhist nuns.

Read article

Changes in Buddhist Karma

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

Escaping the Inescapable: Changes in Buddhist Karma

Jayarava Attwood

Early Buddhist karma is an impersonal moral force that impartially and inevitably causes the consequences of actions to be visited upon the actor, especially determining their afterlife destination. The story of King Ajātasattu in the Pāli Samaññaphala Sutta, where not even the Buddha can intervene to save him, epitomizes the criterion of inescapability. Zoroastrian ethical thought runs along similar lines and may have influenced the early development of Buddhism. However, in the Mahāyāna version of the Samaññaphala Sutta, the simple act of meeting the Buddha reduces or eliminates the consequences of the King’s patricide. In other Mahāyāna texts, the results of actions are routinely avoidable through the performance of religious practices. Ultimately, Buddhists seem to abandon the idea of the inescapability of the results of actions.

Read article

Bhikkhunī Academy: A Case of Cross-Tradition Exchange

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

Bhikkhunī Academy at Manelwatta Temple: A Case of Cross-Tradition Exchange

Cheng Wei-yi
Hsuan Chuang University

This article is the result of an investigation continued from an earlier article on an exchange between Buddhists in Taiwan and Sri Lanka (“A Cross-Tradition Exchange Between Taiwan and Sri Lanka,” Journal of Buddhist Ethics, vol. 18, 2011). In that article, I investigated the exchange between a Mahāyāna Taiwanese nunnery and a Theravāda Sri Lankan missionary monk. After the initial exchange, described in the 2011 article, a more permanent institute for the education of Sri Lankan Buddhist nuns has been established. This article describes the cross-tradition exchange behind the founding of the educational institute and its implication for exchanges across different Buddhist traditions in Asia.

Read article

Review: Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China. Edited by Paul Williams and Patrice Ladwig. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012, ISBN: 9781107003880 (paper-back), $39.99.

Reviewed by Nicolas Sihlé

Read article

Review: Buddhism and Iconoclasm in East Asia

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

Buddhism and Iconoclasm in East Asia: A History. By Fabio Rambelli and Eric Renders. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2012, xvi + 247 pages, ISBN 978-1-4411-4509-3 (hardback), $120.00.

Reviewed by Joseph P. Elacqua

Read article

Rethinking the Precept of Not Taking Money

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

Rethinking the Precept of Not Taking Money in Contemporary Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese Buddhist Nunneries

Tzu-Lung Chiu
University of Ghent

According to monastic disciplinary texts, Buddhist monastic members are prohibited from accepting “gold and silver,” and arguably, by extension, any type of money. This rule has given rise to much debate, in the past as well as in the present, particularly between Mahāyāna and Theravāda Buddhist communities. The article explores the results of my multiple-case qualitative study of eleven monastic institutions in Taiwan and Mainland China, and reveals a hitherto under-theorized conflict between Vinaya rules and the bodhisattva ideal, as well as a diversity of opinions on the applicability of the rule against money handling as it has been shaped by socio-cultural contexts, including nuns’ adaptation to the laity’s ethos.

Read article

The Gurudharma on Bhiksunī Ordination

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

The Gurudharma on Bhikṣuṇī Ordination in the Mūlasarvāstivāda Tradition

Bhikṣuṇī Jampa Tsedroen and Bhikkhu Anālayo
Academy of World Religions & Center for Buddhist Studies,
University of Hamburg

This article surveys the stipulation on bhikṣuṇī ordination made in the different Vinayas as part of a set of eight principles to be respected (gurudharma), and explores the possibility, indicated by the formulation of the relevant gurudharma, that a legally valid Mūlasarvāstivāda bhikṣuṇī ordination could be conducted by bhikṣus only.

Read article

Review: Religion and the Making of Modern East Asia

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

Religion and the Making of Modern East Asia. By Thomas David DuBois. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, xii+ 259 pages, ISBN 987-1107400405 (paperback), ISBN 978-1107008090 (cloth) $81.00.

Reviewed by Yueh-Mei Lin

Read article

Review: Sanctity and Self-Inflicted Violence in Chinese Religions

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

Sanctity and Self-Inflicted Violence in Chinese Religions, 1500-1700. By Jimmy Yu. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012, xiv + 272 pages, ISBN 978-0-19-984490 (paperback), $29.95.

Reviewed by Nikolas Broy

Read article

Review: Bodh Gaya Jataka

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

Cross-disciplinary Perspectives on a Contested Site: Bodh Gaya Jataka. Edited by David Geary, Matthew R. Sayers, and Abhisek Sing Amar. London: Routledge, 2012, ISBN 978-0415684521 (hardback), $150.00.

Reviewed by Brooke Schedneck

Read article

Review: Buddhist Miracle Tales from Early Medieval China

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 19, 2012

Signs from the Unseen Realm: Buddhist Miracle Tales from Early Medieval China. By Robert Ford Campany. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2012, ix + 300 pages, ISBN 978-0-8248-3602-3 (cloth), $65.00.

Reviewed by Kendall Marchman

Read article

Vinaya Narrative and the Promulgation of the Rule on Celibacy: the Tibetan Version

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 19, 2012

The Story of Sudinna in the Tibetan Translation of the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya

Giuliana Martini
Dharma Drum Buddhist College, Taiwan

This article, a companion to the study of the narrative that according to the canonical Vinaya accounts led to the promulgation of the rule on celibacy for Buddhist monks (first pārājika) published by Bhikkhu Anālayo in the same issue of the Journal of Buddhist Ethics, offers an annotated translation of the narrative as preserved in the Tibetan translation of the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya (’Dul ba), in comparison with its Chinese parallel.

Read article

Vinaya Narrative and the Promulgation of the Rule on Celibacy

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 19, 2012

The Case of Sudinna: On the Function of Vinaya Narrative, Based on a Comparative Study of the Background Narration to the First Pārājika Rule

Ven. Anālayo
Center for Buddhist Studies, University of Hamburg
Dharma Drum Buddhist College, Taiwan

In this article I study the tale that according to the canonical Vinaya accounts led to the promulgation of the rule on celibacy for Buddhist monks, using this as an example to understand the function of Vinaya narrative.

Read article

A Reexamination of Buddhist Teachings on Female Inferiority

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 19, 2012

Right View, Red Rust, and White Bones: A Reexamination of Buddhist Teachings on Female Inferiority

Allison A. Goodwin
College of Liberal Arts
National Taiwan University

Hundreds of psychological and social studies show that negative expectations and concepts of self and others, and discrimination based on the idea that a particular group is inferior to another, adversely affect those who discriminate as well as those who are subject to discrimination. This article argues that both genders are harmed by negative Buddhist teachings about women and by discriminatory rules that limit their authority, rights, activities, and status within Buddhist institutions. Śākyamuni Buddha’s instructions in the Tripiṭaka for evaluating spiritual teachings indicate that because such views and practices have been proven to lead to harm, Buddhists should conclude that they are not the True Dharma and should abandon them.

Read article

Founding the Buddhist Order of Nuns

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

Mahāpajāpatī’s Going Forth in the Madhyama-āgama

Ven. Anālayo
Center for Buddhist Studies, University of Hamburg
Dharma Drum Buddhist College, Taiwan

The present article provides an annotated translation of the Madhyama-āgama account of the founding of the Buddhist order of nuns, followed by a discussion of some of its significant aspects, which open new perspectives on the way this event is presented in the canonical scriptures.

Read article

A Cross-Tradition Exchange Between Taiwan and Sri Lanka

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

A Cross-Tradition Exchange Between Taiwan and Sri Lanka

Wei-Yi Cheng
Hsuan Chuang University

This paper uses as an example an alms-offering ceremony that took place on October 5, 2010 to illustrate cross-tradition exchanges between Asian Buddhists of different geographic locations. This ceremony had been intended to give alms to all of the bhikkhunīs in Sri Lanka and was thus itself noteworthy. However, the attention of this paper is on the two main players behind this ceremony. One is a Sri Lankan monk who has been a long term Theravāda missionary in Mahāyāna Taiwan, and the other is a Taiwanese nunnery which has not limited its works to Taiwan. This paper wishes to shed light on cross-tradition exchanges among Asian Buddhists.

Read article

Review: The Reinvention of Chan in Seventeenth Century China

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

Enlightenment in Dispute: The Reinvention of Chan Buddhism in Seventeenth-Century China. By Jiang Wu. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008, 457 pages, ISBN: 978‐0195333572 (cloth), US $74.00.

Reviewed by Jack Meng-Tat Chia

Read article

Review: Taiwan’s Buddhist Nuns

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

Taiwan’s Buddhist Nuns. By Elise Anne DeVido. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2010, xvii + 188 pages, ISBN: 978-1438431482 (paper), US $24.95.

Reviewed by Mavis L. Fenn

Read article

Review: Buddhism and Taoism in Medieval China

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

Buddhism and Taoism Face to Face: Scripture, Ritual, and Iconographic Exchange in Medieval China. By Christine Mollier. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2008, xi + 241 pages, ISBN: 0824831691 (hardcover), US $55.00.

Reviewed by Alyson Prude

Read article

Review: Fabrication in Tang Dynasty Chan

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

Fathering Your Father: The Zen of Fabrication in Tang Buddhism. By Alan Cole. Berkeley:University of California Press, 2009, xix + 340 pages, ISBN: 8-0520254855 (paperback), US $29.95; ISBN 978-0520254858 (cloth).

Reviewed by Matthew J. Wilhite

Read article

Review: Life of 20th Century Chinese Monk

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

Heart of Buddha, Heart of China: The Life of Tanxu, a Twentieth-Century Monk. By James Carter. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010, viii+221 pages, ISBN 019539885-4 (cloth), US $29.95.

Reviewed by Erik Hammerstrom

Read article

Review: Monastic Practice in East Asia

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

Buddhist Monasticism in East Asia: Places of Practice. Edited by James A. Benn, Lori Meeks, and James Robson. New York: Routledge, 2010, 248 pages, ISBN: 9780415489775 (hardcover), US $135.00.

Reviewed by Pei-Ying Lin

Read article

Paternalist Deception in the Lotus Sūtra

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

Paternalist Deception in the Lotus Sūtra:
A Normative Assessment

Charles A. Goodman
Binghamton University

The Lotus Sūtra repeatedly asserts the moral permissibility, in certain circumstances, of deceiving others for their own benefit. The examples it uses to illustrate this view have the features of weak paternalism, but the real-world applications it endorses would today be considered strong paternalism. We can explain this puzzling feature of the text by noting that according to Mahāyāna Buddhists, normal, ordinary people are so irrational that they are relevantly similar to the insane. Kant’s determined anti-paternalism, by contrast, relies on an obligation to see others as rational, which can be read in several ways. Recent work in psychology provides support for the Lotus Sūtra’s philosophical anthropology while undermining the plausibility of Kant’s version. But this result does not necessarily lead to an endorsement of political paternalism, since politicians are not qualified to wield such power. Some spiritual teachers, however, may be morally permitted to benefit their students by deceiving them.

Read article

Review: Cultural Practices of Modern Chinese Buddhism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 17, 2010

The Cultural Practices of Modern Chinese Buddhism: Attuning the Dharma. By Francesca Tarocco. London: Routledge, 2008, 208 pages, ISBN: 978-0415375030 (hardcover), US$160.00.

Reviewed by Justin Ritzinger

Read article

Review: Chan in Song-Dynasty China

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 17, 2010

How Zen Became Zen: The Dispute over Enlightenment and the Formation of Chan Buddhism in Song-Dynasty China. By Morten Schlütter. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2008, 289 pages, ISBN: 978-0-8248-3255-1 (cloth), US$48.00.

Reviewed by Jack Meng-Tat Chia

Read article

Chinese and Pāli Parallels On Women’s Inabilities

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 16, 2009

The Bahudhātuka-sutta and its Parallels On Women’s Inabilities

Anālayo
University of Hamburg
Dharma Drum Buddhist College, Taiwan

The present article offers a comparative study of the Bahudhātuka-sutta, based on a translation of one of its parallels found in the Madhyama-āgama preserved in Chinese translation. The study focuses in particular on the dictum that a woman cannot be a Buddha, which is absent from the Madhyama-āgama version.

Read article

The Sixfold Purity of an Arahant

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 15, 2008

The Sixfold Purity of an Arahant According to the Chabbisodhana-sutta and its Parallel

Anālayo
University of Hamburg
Dharma Drum Buddhist College

In continuation of two articles published in the last two issues of the JBE, in which I studied aspects of early Buddhist ethics based on comparing parallel versions of a discourse preserved in Pāli and Chinese, the present article examines the treatment of the six-fold purity of an arahant in the Chabbisodhana-sutta of the Majjhima-nikāya and in its Madhyama-āgama parallel, based on an annotated translation of the latter.

Read article

Review: The Political Ascendancy of Chan Buddhism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 15, 2008

Monks, Rulers, and Literati: The Political Ascendancy of Chan Buddhism. By Albert Welter. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006, 334 pages, ISBN: 978-0195175219, US $55.00 (cloth).

Reviewed by Charles B. Jones

Read article

Review: Chinese Monks in the Struggle against Japanese Aggressions

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 15, 2008

Buddhism, War, and Nationalism: Chinese Monks in the Struggle against Japanese Aggressions, 1931-1945. By Xue Yu. New York: Routledge, 2005, xiii + 278 pages, ISBN 0415975115, US $85.00 (cloth).

Reviewed by Brooks Jessup

Read article

Review: Films About Buddhist Practice in China and Nepal

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 14, 2007

Amongst White Clouds. Edward A. Burger: filmmaker, cinematography, music. Producer, Chad Pankewitz. DVD, 86 min. NTSC and PAL versions. Distributor: Cosmos Pictures Inc., Canada, 2004.

On the Road with the Red God Macchendranath. Kesang Tseten. 2005. DVD. Color, 72min. NTSC & PAL versions. Distributor: Kesang Tseten, c/o Hidden Treasure Tours, 509 Lincoln Blvd., Long Beach, NY 11561.

Reviewed by Joanna Kirkpatrick

Read article

Bodhisattva Precepts in Ming Society

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 13, 2006

Bodhisattva Precepts in the Ming Society: Factors behind their Success and Propagation

William Chu
University of California, Los Angeles

The wide popularization of versions of Bodhisattva precepts that were based on apocrypha coincided with certain medieval developments in technology and social/political developments. All these changes facilitated a much more pervasive “Confucianization” of Chinese society, notably during the Song dynasty (960-1279), and were accentuated in the Ming (1368-1643). Riding on these trends, it was only natural that the apocryphal Bodhisattva precepts that were so much tailored to Confucian ethical norms found a much greater popular basis at the same time. This paper also takes a cultural comparativist perspective and analyzes the propagation of the same apocryphal precepts in Japan, which could also be explained by comparable conditions in political and technological infrastructure.

Read article

Chinese and Pāli versions of the Ten Courses of Action

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 13, 2006

The Saṃyukta-āgama Parallel to the Sāleyyaka-sutta and the Potential of the Ten Courses of Action

Ven. Anālayo
Philipps University

The present article offers a translation of the Saṃyukta-āgama parallel to the Sāleyyaka-sutta of the Majjhima-nikāya on the subject of the ten courses of action, followed by an examination of the differences found between the Chinese and Pāli versions. This comparison shows the degree to which oral transmission has influenced the shape of the two versions.

Read article

Filial Piety in Early Buddhism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 12, 2005

Filial Piety in Early Buddhism

Guang Xing
University of Hong Kong

Buddhist scholars like Kenneth Ch’en thought that filial piety was a special feature of Chinese Buddhism. Later, John Strong employed “popular Buddhist stories” to show that filial piety was also important in Indian Buddhism, but he asserted that it was “a Buddhist compromise with the Brāhmanical ethics of filiality operating at the popular level.” On the other hand, Gregory Schopen, who mainly used Indian Buddhist epigraphical material in his research, pointed out the same idea but he could not find definitive support from the early Buddhist textual sources. My investigation of the early Buddhist texts and analysis of the relevant passages clearly shows that filial piety is one of the important aspects of the early Buddhist ethical teachings. Filial piety was practiced by the early Indian Buddhists (1) as a way of requiting the debt to one’s parents; (2) as a chief ethical good action; and (3) as Dharma, the social order. And on this basis it also shows that the early Indian Buddhists practiced filial piety not as a “compromise with the Brāhmanical ethics of filiality” but as an important teaching taught by the master.

Read Article

Review: Religion in Modern Taiwan

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 11, 2004

Religion in Modern Taiwan: Tradition and Innovation in a Changing Society. Edited by Philip Clart and Charles B. Jones. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2003, 352 pages, ISBN 08248-2564-0 (cloth), $52.00.

Reviewed by Marc L. Moskowitz

Read article

Review:Reform and Self-examination in Modern Taiwanese Buddhism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 11, 2004

Taiwan jindai fojiao de biange yu fansi (Reform and self-examination in modern Taiwanese Buddhism). By Jiang Canteng (Chiang Tsan-t’eng). Taipei: Dongda, 2003. 400 pages. ISBN 9571925233. Price NT$400.

Reviewed by Bret Hinsch

Read article

Foundations of Ethics and Practice in Chinese Pure Land Buddhism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 10 2003

Foundations of Ethics and Practice in Chinese Pure Land Buddhism

Charles B. Jones
The Catholic University of America

The primary goal of this project was to find a Chinese text that took on the relationship between human religious activity and the saving power of Amitābha in a systematic way. Alas, such a text has so far eluded me. However, by looking at several texts, I have been able to find hints and indications here and there which, added together, constitute a fairly complete and consistent soteriological scheme that relates self-power to other-power. Fully aware of the hermeneutical dangers one faces in collating proof-texts from works spanning greatly-separated times and places around the Chinese empire, I will venture to lay it out as best I can with some confidence that it indeed represents a characteristically Chinese way of approaching the relationship of self-power and other-power, human striving and the Buddha’s original vow-power. I will do this by focusing on a particular arena of human religious activity: ethics and precepts, “ethics” indicating general norms of human behavior, and “precepts” meaning specific vows taken in ritual contexts.

Read article

Luminary Nuns in Contemporary Taiwan

SSN 1076-9005
Volume 10 2003

Luminary Buddhist Nuns in Contemporary Taiwan: A Quiet Feminist Movement

Wei-yi Cheng
School of Oriental and African Studies

Luminary order is a well-respected Buddhist nuns’ order in Taiwan. In this essay, I will examine the phenomenon of Luminary nuns from three aspects: symbol, structure, and education. Through the examination of the three aspects, I will show why the phenomenon of Luminary nuns might be seen as a feminist movement. Although an active agent in many aspects, I will also show that the success of Luminary nuns has its roots in the social, historical, and economic conditions in Taiwan.

Read article

Review: Buddhism in the Sung

ISSN 1076—9005
Volume 8, 2001

Buddhism in the Sung. Edited By Peter N. Gregory and Daniel A. Getz. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2002.

Reviewed by Michael J. Walsh

Read article

Review: The Zen Works of Stonehouse

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 7, 2000

The Zen Works of Stonehouse: Poems and Talks of a Fourteenth-Century Chinese Hermit. Translated by Red Pine. San Francisco: Mercury House, 1999, xvi + 231 pages, ISBN: 1–56279–101–X, US $14.95.

Reviewed by Eric Reinders

Read article

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.

Read article

Review: Buddhist Ethics for Everyday Life

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Being Good: Buddhist Ethics for Everyday Life. By Master Hsing Yun; translated by Tom Graham. New York and Tokyo: Weatherhill, 1999, 176 pages, ISBN 0-8348-0458-1, US $14.95.

Reviewed by Damien Keown

Read article

Review: Mothers and Sons in Chinese Buddhism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 5 1998

Mothers and Sons in Chinese Buddhism. By Alan Cole. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998, 292 pages, ISBN: 0-8047-3152-7, US$49.50.

Reviewed By Charles B. Jones

Read article

Review: Medieval Chinese Hagiography

SSN:1076-9005
Volume 5 1998

The Eminent Monk: Buddhist Ideals in Medieval Chinese Hagiography. By John Kieschnick. Honolulu: University of Hawaii / Kuroda Institute (Studies in East Asian Buddhism 10), 1997, vii + 218 pages, ISBN 0-8248-1841-5, $27.00.

Reviewed by Eric Reinders

Read article

Review: Ch’an Enlightenment and Social Virtuosity

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 5 1998

Liberating Intimacy: Enlightenment and Social Virtuosity in Ch’an Buddhism. By Peter D. Hershock. Albany: SUNY Press, 1996, xv + 236 pages, ISBN 0-79142-982-2, $62.50 (cloth), $20.95 (paper).

Reviewed by Steven Heine

Read article

Development of Buddhist Economic Ethics

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 3 1996

Continuity and Change in the Economic Ethics of Buddhism:­ Evidence From the History of Buddhism in India, China and Japan

Gregory K. Ornatowski
Boston University

This paper offers an outline of the development of Buddhist economic ethics using examples from early Theravāda Buddhism in India and the Mahāyāna tradition as it evolved in India, medieval China, and medieval and early modern Japan, in order to illustrate the pattern of continuities and transformations these ethics have undergone. By “economic ethics” the paper refers to four broad areas: (1) attitudes toward wealth, i.e., its accumulation, use, and distribution, including the issues of economic justice and equality/ inequality; (2) attitudes toward charity, i.e., how and to whom wealth should be given; (3) attitudes toward human labor and secular occupations in society; and (4) actual economic activities of temples and monasteries which reflect the lived-practice of Buddhist communities’ economic ethics.

Read article