Journal of Buddhist Ethics

An online journal of Buddhist scholarship related to ethics.


Canonical Exegesis in the Theravāda Vinaya

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 24, 2017

Canonical Exegesis in the Theravāda Vinaya

Bhikkhu Brahmāli
Bodhinyana Monastery
Bhikkhu Anālayo
University of Hamburg

In the present paper the two authors examine dimensions of the canonical exegesis found embedded within the text of the Theravāda Vinaya. In part one, Bhikkhu Anālayo examines the word-commentary on the rules found in the Suttavibhaṅga. In part two, Bhikkhu Brahmāli takes up the function of narrative portions in the Khandhakas.

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Guṇaprabha on Monastic Authority

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 24, 2017

Guṇaprabha on Monastic Authority and Authoritative Doctrine

Paul Nietupski
John Carroll University

This essay is based on sūtras 70–102 in Guṇaprabha’s seventh century Vinayasūtra, his Autocommentary, and the associated sections in all Indian and Tibetan commentaries on the Vinayasūtra. In this excerpt Guṇaprabha and the commentators include remarks on the requirements for monastic community authority and references to relevant authoritative doctrines. The guidelines for monastic authority include applications of procedures in medieval Indian monastic life, including prerequisites and exceptions in the ordination process. The references to authoritative doctrine in Guṇaprabha’s and the commentators’ works include comments on the interface of ethics, concentration, and wisdom, and how ethical guidelines are based on the correct understanding of epistemological value as presented in canonical treatises on doctrine.

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Ways of Forsaking the Order According to the Early Vinaya

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 24, 2017

Quitting the Dhamma: The Ways of Forsaking the Order According to the Early Vinaya

Ven. Pandita (Burma)
University of Kelaniya

In this paper, I argue that in the early Vinaya, contrary to the commentarial tradition: (1) two ways of forsaking the Order, equally valid, co-exist; and (2) nuns who have left the Order may be re-ordained without guilt.

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Buddhist Nuns’ Ordination in the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya Tradition

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

Buddhist Nuns’ Ordination in the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya Tradition: Two Possible Approaches

Bhikṣuṇī Jampa Tsedroen
Academy of World Religions and Numata Center for Buddhist Studies, University of Hamburg

This article examines the possibilities of reviving the Mūlasarvāstivāda lineage of fully ordained nuns (bhikṣuṇī). It explores two ways to generate a “flawless and perfect” Mūlasarvāstivāda bhikṣuṇī vow, either by Mūlasarvāstivāda monks alone or by Mūlasarvāstivāda monks with Dharmaguptaka nuns (“ecumenical” ordination). The first approach is based on a Vinaya passage which traditionally is taken as the Word of the Buddha, but which, from a historical-critical point of view, is dubious. The second approach is not explicitly represented in the Vinaya but involves “re-reading” or “re-thinking” it with a critical-constructive attitude (“theological” approach). Each approach is based on my latest findings from studying the Tibetan translation of the Bhikṣuṇyupasaṃpadājñāpti and related commentaries.

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Review: Family Matters in Indian Buddhist Monasticisms

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

Family Matters in Indian Buddhist Monasticisms. By Shayne Clarke. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2014, xiii+275 pages, ISBN 978-0-8248-3647-4 (cloth), $52.

Reviewed by Cuilan Liu

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The Going Forth of Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

The Going Forth of Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī in T 60

Bhikkhu Anālayo
University of Hamburg

In what follows I translate a discourse preserved as an individual translation in the Taishō edition under entry number 60, which reports the going forth of Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī. Following that is a discussion concerning the different attitudes toward women that emerge from this discourse and a comparison to the current setting in Thailand.

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Review: Meditation, Modern Buddhism, and the Burmese Monk Ledi Sayadaw

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 22, 2015

The Birth of Insight: meditation, modern Buddhism, and the Burmese Monk Ledi Sayadaw. By Erik Braun. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013, xvi + 257, ISBN 13: 978-0-226-00080-0 (cloth), US $45.00, ISBN 13: 978-0-226-00094-7 (e-book), US $7.00 to $36.00.

Reviewed by Douglas Ober

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The Cullavagga on Bhikkhunī Ordination

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 22, 2015

The Cullavagga on Bhikkhunī Ordination

Bhikkhu Anālayo
University of Hamburg

With this paper I examine the narrative that in the Cullavagga of the Theravāda Vinaya forms the background to the different rules on bhikkhunī ordination, alternating between translations of the respective portions from the original Pāli and discussions of their implications. An appendix to the paper briefly discusses the term paṇḍaka.

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Review: The Princess Nun

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 22, 2015

The Princess Nun: Bunchi, Buddhist Reform, and Gender in Early Edo Japan. By Gina Cogan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014, xvi+309 pages, ISBN 978-0674491977 (hardback), $49.95.

Reviewed by Febe D. Pamonag

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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

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Thailand’s Mae Chis and the Global Women’s Ordination Movement

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 22, 2015

Becoming Bhikkhunī? Mae Chis and the Global Women’s Ordination Movement

Lisa J. Battaglia
Samford University

Women’s full ordination as Buddhist nuns (Pāli: bhikkhunī, Sanskrit: bhikṣuṇī) has been a contested issue across Buddhist traditions and historical periods. Today, there is a global movement to secure women’s full participation in Buddhist monastic institutions. The present study examines this “bhikkhunī movement” in Thailand from the perspective of mae chis, Thai Buddhist female renunciates who abide by eight precepts yet do not have full ordination or ordination lineage. Employing an anthropological approach informed by postcolonial critical theory, my research reveals that mae chis, women who lead a Buddhist monastic lifestyle characterized by celibate practice and spiritual discipline, are not, on the whole, eager to relinquish their present status, fight against the existing socio-religious order, or pursue bhikkhunī ordination. A critical-empathic consideration of mae chis’ apparent illiberal subjectivities regarding gender hierarchy, female renunciant identity, and women’s liberation brings to light goals and strategies of the global bhikkhunī movement that do not necessarily resonate with the motivations, aims or cultural sensibilities of the Thai white-robed female renunciates.

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Bhikkhave and Bhikkhu as Gender-inclusive Terminology in Early Buddhist Texts

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

Bhikkhave and Bhikkhu as Gender-inclusive Terminology in Early Buddhist Texts

Alice Collett
York St John University

Bhikkhu Anālayo
University of Hamburg

In what follows we examine whether the use of the vocative bhikkhave or the nominative bhikkhu in Buddhist canonical texts imply that female monastics are being excluded from the audience. In the course of exploring this basic point, we also take up the vocative of proper names and the absence of the term arahantī in Pāli discourse literature.

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Attitudes Arising from Buddhist Nurture in Britain

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

Attitudes Arising from Buddhist Nurture in Britain

Phra Nicholas Thanissaro
University of Warwick

Focus groups comprised of seventy-five self-identifying Buddhist teenagers in Britain were asked to discuss value domains that previous research has identified to be of special interest to Buddhists. These included personal well-being, the nature of faith, the law of karma, monasticism, meditation, home shrines, filial piety, generosity, not killing animals, and alcohol use. The findings suggest that some attitudes held by teenagers were conscious and intrinsically nurtured (“worldview”) while others involved social constructs (“ideologies”). The study finds that parents and the Sangha are mainly responsible for shaping “ideological” patterns in young Buddhists whereas informal nurture by “immersion” (possibly facilitated by caregivers) may be responsible for “worldview” patterns.

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Violence and Nonviolence in Buddhist Animal Ethics

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

Violence and Nonviolence in Buddhist Animal Ethics

James Stewart
University of Tasmania

Boiled alive for killing an ant. Suffering endless demonic flagellation for trading as a butcher. According to some Buddhist writings, these are just a few of the punishments bestowed upon those who harm animals. Are such promises sincere or are they merely hollow threats intended to inculcate good conduct? Are there other non-prudential reasons for protecting animals? How do these views differ from preceding Indian traditions? These are some of the questions addressed in this paper. I will argue that the threat of a bad rebirth is a major factor in motivating Buddhists to abstain from animal cruelty. By comparing the Vinaya (both Mahāyāna and Theravāda) to the Sūtra literature I will argue that such claims may be exaggerations to motivate more compassionate conduct from Buddhist adherents. I also argue that Buddhist texts look unfavorably upon animal killing in a way unheard of in the Vedic religious tradition. Although there may be disagreement over what sort of harm may befall animal abusers, it is almost universally acknowledged amongst most Buddhist sects that animal killing is completely unacceptable. However, this pacifism lives in uneasy tension with the promise of extreme violence for impinging on these basic principles of nonviolence.

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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.

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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.

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Buddhism and Intellectual Property Rights

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

Buddhism and Intellectual Property Rights: The Role of Compassion

Soraj Hongladarom
Chulalongkorn University

I offer the outline of a theory that justifies the concept of intellectual property (IP). IP is usually justified by a utilitarian claim that such rights provide incentives for further discovery and protect the innovator through a monopoly. I propose to broaden the protection offered by the IP regime. My argument is based on the concept of compassion (karuṇā), the aim of relieving suffering in all others. An analysis of how patented products originate shows that they typically depend not only on scientists in the laboratory, but on numerous factors and elements, many of which do not belong to the corporation in which the experiments are conducted. Because these elements have a necessary role in the discovery of inventions, they also deserve fair treatment. In practice, this could mean that the resulting patented product would be made more accessible to the general population and that the corporation would be more actively involved in society. In the long run, this could prove beneficial for all parties, including the patent holders themselves.

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Female Monastic Healing and Midwifery

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

Female Monastic Healing and Midwifery: A View from the Vinaya Tradition

Amy Paris Langenberg
Eckerd College

Monastic lawyers who formulated the various classical Indian Buddhist Vinaya collections actively promoted the care of the sick within monastery walls and treated illness as a topic of great importance and relevance for monks and nuns, but also mandated that monastics should exercise caution with respect to practicing the healing arts and provide medical care to lay people only on a restricted basis. A closer examination of Vinaya sources shows that this ambivalence is gendered in interesting ways. The Vinaya lawyers regulated nuns’s involvement in the healing arts, and other types of service, with special care, suggesting that nuns were more likely than monks to take up community work, especially the work of healing. This study attempts to sort out the subtleties of Vinaya attitudes towards the public (as opposed to internal monastic) practice of medicine by nuns, suggesting that social constraints forced laywomen and nuns into relationships of collusion and mutual need and created a situation in which nuns were more likely than their male counterparts to engage in the healing arts. A female monastic ethic emphasizing reciprocity and mutual obligation made it doubly unlikely that Buddhist nuns would turn away from the medical needs of laywomen. Thus, a complex combination of factors accounts for the disproportionate focus on nuns in Vinaya prohibitions regarding the practice of the healing arts.

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Karma and Female Birth

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

Karma and Female Birth

Bhikkhu Anālayo
Numata Center for Buddhist Studies, University of Hamburg;
Dharma Drum Buddhist College, Taiwan

With the present paper I examine the notion that birth as a woman is the result of bad karma based on selected canonical and post-canonical Buddhist texts.

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Affective Dimensions of the Sri Lankan Bhikkhunī Revival

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

“We Love Our Nuns”: Affective Dimensions of the Sri Lankan Bhikkhunī Revival

Susanne Mrozik
Mount Holyoke College

In this paper I examine lay responses to the Sri Lankan bhikkhunī revival of the late 1990s. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted between 2010 and 2012, I argue that laity have very different concerns than do the scholars, activists, government officials, and monastic authorities engaged in public debate over the scriptural validity of the controversial revival. The primary concern of laity is whether or not they can get their religious needs met at their local bhikkhunī temple, not whether or not the bhikkhunī revival conforms to Theravāda monastic regulations (Vinaya). Taking a rural farming village as a case study, I focus particular attention on the affective ties between laity and nuns, demonstrating that laity in this village express their support for the bhikkhunī revival in the language of love (Sinhala: ādayara, ādare). I analyze what laity mean by the word “love” in the context of lay-nun relationships, and what this can tell us about the larger dynamics of the Sri Lankan bhikkhunī revival.

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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.

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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.

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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

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The Legality of Bhikkhunī Ordination

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

The Legality of Bhikkhunī Ordination

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

This paper examines the legal validity of the revival of the Theravāda bhikkhunī ordination that has had the 1998 Bodhgayā ordinations as its starting point.

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Review: Purification Buddhist Movement of Korea, 1954-1970

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

Purification Buddhist Movement, 1954-1970: The Struggle to Restore Celibacy in the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. By Ven. Chanju Mun. Honolulu, Hawai’i: Blue Pine Books, 2011, ISBN 978-0-9777553-6-3 (paperback), $35.

Reviewed by Ryan Anningson

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The Revival of the Bhikkhunī Order and the Decline of the Sāsana

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

The Revival of the Bhikkhunī Order and the Decline of the Sāsana

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

In this article I study the revival of the bhikkhunī order in the Theravāda traditions and its supposed relation to a decline of the Buddha’s dispensation.

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Review: Buddhism, Wealth, and the Dhammakāya Temple

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

Nirvana for Sale?: Buddhism, Wealth, and the Dhammakāya Temple in Contemporary Thailand. By Rachelle M. Scott. Albany: SUNY Press, 2009, xiii + 242 pages, ISBN 978-1-4384-2784-3 (paperback), $29.95, ISBN 978-1-4384-2783-6 (hardcover).

Reviewed by Jordan Johnson

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Review: Social Dimension of Shin Buddhism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

The Social Dimension of Shin Buddhism. Ugo Dessi, Editor. Leiden: Brill, 2010, 286 pages; ISBN 978-90-04-18653-8 (Cloth), $153.00.

Reviewed by Glenn R. Willis

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Bad Nun

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

Bad Nun: Thullanandā in Pāli Canonical and Commentarial Sources

Reiko Ohnuma
Dartmouth College

In Pāli literature, Thullanandā is well known for being a “bad nun”—a nun whose persistent bad behavior is directly responsible for the promulgation of more rules of the Bhikkhunī Pātimokkha than any other individually named nun. Yet these very same sources also describe Thullanandā in significantly more positive terms—as a highly learned nun, an excellent preacher, and one who enjoys significant support among the laity. In this article, I analyze the Pāli traditions surrounding Thullanandā. I argue that her portrayal is quite complex in nature and often extends beyond herself as an individual to suggest larger implications for the nature of monastic life and monastic discipline. In addition, once Thullanandā is labeled as a “bad nun,” she becomes a useful symbolic resource for giving voice to various issues that concerned the early sangha. In both ways, Thullanandā reveals herself to be far more than just a “bad nun.”

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Review: Violence and Liberation in Tibetan Buddhism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

The Taming of the Demons: Violence and Liberation in Tibetan Buddhism. By Jacob P. Dalton. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011, x + 311 pages, ISBN 978-0-300-18796-0 (paper), $27.50; ISBN 978-0-300-15392-7 (cloth), $40.00.

Reviewed by Sarah F. Haynes

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Review: Korean Buddhist Nuns and Laywomen

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 19, 2012

Korean Buddhist Nuns and Laywomen: Hidden Histories, Enduring Vitality. Edited by Eun-Su Cho. Albany: SUNY Press, 2011, xiv+210 pages, ISBN 978-1438435107 (paper), $23.95.

Reviewed by Erik Hammerstrom

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Intellectual Property in Early Buddhism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 19, 2012

Intellectual Property in Early Buddhism: A Legal and Cultural Perspective

Ven. Pandita (Burma)
University of Kelaniya

In this paper, I examine the modern concepts of intellectual property and account for their significance in monastic law and culture of early Buddhism. As a result, I have come to the following conclusions: (1) the infringement of copyrights, patents, and trademarks does not amount to theft as far as Theravādin Vinaya is concerned; (2) because a trademark infringement involves telling a deliberate lie, it entails an offense of expiation (pācittiya), but I cannot find any Vinaya rule which is transgressed by copyright and patent infringements; and (3) although the Buddha recognized the right to intellectual credit, commentarial interpretations have led some traditional circles to maintain that intellectual credit can be transferred to someone else.

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Esoteric Teaching of Wat Phra Dhammakāya

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 19, 2012

Esoteric Teaching of Wat Phra Dhammakāya

Mano Mettanando Laohavanich
Pridi Banomyong International College,
Thammasat University

Thailand’s controversial Wat Phra Dhammakāya has grown exponentially. In just three decades, it has come to have millions of followers in and outside of Thailand and over forty branches overseas. The esoteric teaching of meditation taught by the leaders of the community has inspired thousands of young men and women from various universities to sacrifice their lives to serve their Master, something that has never been seen before in Thailand or elsewhere in the Theravāda world. What is the nature of this esoteric teaching? Why is it so appealing to these young minds? These questions are discussed and analyzed by the author, who was one of Wat Phra Dhammakāya’s founding members.

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Parental and Spousal Consent in Early Buddhism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 19, 2012

Did the Buddha Correct Himself?

Ven. Pandita (Burma)
University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka

In this paper, I look at two related issues in Vinaya, (1) the requirement of parental consent for all candidates wishing to join the Order and (2) the additional requirement of spousal consent for female candidates but no such requirement for male candidates, and I try to prove that both these regulations stemmed from the same principle.

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Review: Modern Buddhist Conjunctures in Myanmar

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 19, 2012

Modern Buddhist Conjunctures in Myanmar: Cultural Narratives, Colonial Legacies, and Civil Society. By Juliane Schober. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2011, 190 pages, ISBN 978-0824833824 (pbk), $49.00.

Reviewed by Kelly Meister

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Burmese Alms-Boycott

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 19, 2012

The Burmese Alms-Boycott: Theory and Practice of the Pattanikujjana in Buddhist Non-Violent Resistance

Martin Kovan
University of Melbourne

This essay presents a general and critical historical survey of the Burmese Buddhist alms-boycott (pattanikujjana) between 1990 and 2007. It details the Pāli textual and ethical constitution of the boycott and its instantiation in modern Burmese history, particularly the Saffron Revolution of 2007. It also suggests a metaethical reading that considers Buddhist metaphysics as constitutive of that conflict. Non-violent resistance is contextualized as a soteriologically transcendent (“nibbanic”) project in the common life of believing Buddhists—even those who, military regime and martyred monastics alike, defend a fidelity to Theravāda Buddhism from dual divides of a political and humanistic fence.

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If Intention Is Karma

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 19, 2012

If Intention Is Karma: A New Approach to the Buddha’s Socio-Political Teachings

Ven. Pandita (Burma)
University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka

I argue in this paper that early Buddhist ethics is one of absolute values and that we can consistently use those absolute values to interpret some early teachings that seemingly show an ethic of context-dependent and negotiable values. My argument is based on the concept of intention as karma, the implications and problems of which I have also discussed.

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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.

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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.

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Review: Forest Bodhisattvas and the Formation of the Mahāyāna

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

Bodhisattvas of the Forest and the Formation of the Mahāyāna: A Study and Translation of the Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā-sūtra. By Daniel Boucher. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2008, xxiii + 287 pages, ISBN 978-0-8248-2881-3 (cloth), US$54.00.

Reviewed by Alexander Wynne

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Review: Emotion in Sri Lankan Monastic Culture

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

Attracting the Heart: Social Relations and the Aesthetics of Emotion in Sri Lankan Monastic Culture. By Jeffrey Samuels. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2010, xxx + 167 pages, ISBN: 978-0824833855 (cloth), US $36.00.

Reviewed by Mavis L. Fenn

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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

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Noviciation in Theravādin Monasticism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

Tithiyaparivāsa vis-à-vis Noviciation in Theravādin Monasticism

Ven. Pandita (Burma)
University of Kelaniya

Tithiyaparivāsais a particular type of probation in Theravādin monasticism that former ascetics of certain heretic groups must undergo if they wish to gain admission to the Buddhist Order. In the extant probation procedure as found in the Pāli Vinaya tradition, there is no explicit accounting for the stage of novicehood. Why? This paper attempts to answer that question and in the process discovers an unexpected insight into the legally ambiguous status of noviciation.

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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

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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

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Early Buddhist Attitudes Towards Nuns

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 17, 2010

Attitudes Towards Nuns: A Case Study of the Nandakovāda in the Light of its Parallels

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

The present article provides an annotated translation of the Saṃyukta-āgama parallel to the Nandakovāda-sutta of the Majjhima-nikāya, followed by a discussion of differences between these two versions that are relevant for an assessment of the attitude towards nuns in early Buddhist discourse. An appendix to the article also provides a translation of the Tibetan parallel to the Nandakovāda-sutta.

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Restoring Mūlasarvāstivāda Bhikṣuṇī Ordination

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 17, 2010

The Mūlasarvāstivāda Bhikṣuṇī Has the Horns of a Rabbit: Why the Master’s Tools Will Never Reconstruct the Master’s House

Bhikṣuṇī Lozang Trinlae
Buddhist Hong Shi College

At the First International Congress on the Buddhist Women’s Role in the Saṅgha held at the University of Hamburg in 2007, Venerable Samdhong Rinpoche offered the pronouncement, “Our efforts toward re-establishing the Mūlasarvāstivāda bhikṣuṇī ordination are not driven by Western influence or feminist concerns about the equality of the sexes—this issue cannot be determined by social or political considerations. The solution must be found within the context of the Vinaya codes” (Mohr and Tsedroen 256). Using the perspective and comparative analysis of contemporary moral theory, I argue to the contrary that restoration of Mūlasarvāstivāda bhikṣuṇī communities by Vinaya [discipline rules] alone is most unlikely, if not entirely impossible, without a consideration of gender equality, and, by extension, social considerations and Western influence. Thus, Vinaya code compliance may be seen as a necessary but insufficient condition for producing Mūlasarvāstivāda (Mula) bhikṣuṇī communities. Furthermore, not only the result of bhikṣuṇī Vinaya restoration, but also the cause of it, a desire for its existence, is also very unlikely, if not entirely impossible, in a convention-determined Vinaya framework whose stance is self-defined as being mutually exclusive with post-conventional morality. A fundamental change of attitude embracing modern perspectives of women’s rights is itself necessary.

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Review: Visions of Buddhist Vinaya

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 15, 2008

Going Forth: Visions of Buddhist Vinaya. Edited by William M. Bodiford. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2005, x + 317 pages, ISBN: 0-8248-2787-2, US $48.00 (cloth).

Reviewed by Brian Nichols

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Review: Buddhist Female Ascetics and Gendered Orders in Thailand

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 15, 2008

Making Fields of Merit: Buddhist Female Ascetics and Gendered Orders in Thailand. By Monica Lindberg Falk. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2007, 238 pages, ISBN 0-2959-8726-X, US $30.00.

Reviewed by Vanessa R. Sasson

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Aquinas and Dōgen on Poverty and the Religious Life

SSN 1076-9005
Volume 13, 2006

Aquinas and Dōgen on Poverty and the Religious Life

Douglas K. Mikkelson
University of Hawaii at Hilo

Recent efforts to articulate Buddhist ethics have increasingly focused on “Western” ethical systems that possess a “family resemblance” sufficient to serve as a bridge. One promising avenue is the employment of Aristotelian-Thomistic thinking in seeking to understand certain manifestations of Buddhism. More specifically, we can explore how the thinking of Thomas Aquinas may serve to illuminate the moral vision of the Zen Master Dōgen on specific topics, such as that of “poverty and the religious life.” Two texts seem particularly conducive as foci for this approach, namely IIaIIae 186.3 of the Summa Theologiae and the Shōbōgenzō Zuimonki. This modus operandi reveals how Dōgen’s views on poverty and the religious life are significantly similar to, and yet in certain respects distinctively different from, those of Aquinas.

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Zen Social Ethics: Satori and the Moral Dimension of Enlightenment

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 13, 2006

Satori and the Moral Dimension of Enlightenment

Dale S. Wright
Occidental College

This essay addresses the question posed by Brian Victoria’s description of “moral blindness” in twentieth-century Japanese Zen masters by claiming that since Zen monastic training does not include practices of reflection that cultivate the moral dimension of life, skill in this dimension of human character was not considered a fundamental or necessary component of Zen enlightenment. The essay asks what an enlightened moral sensitivity might require, and concludes in challenging the Zen tradition to consider re-engaging the Mahāyāna Buddhist practices of reflection out of which Zen originated in order to assess the possible role of morality in its thought and practice of enlightenment.

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Review: Tibetan Buddhist Monk’s Education

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 12, 2005

The Sound of Two Hands Clapping: The Education of a Tibetan Buddhist Monk.By Georges B. J. Dreyfus. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2003. 445 pages. ISBN: 0-520-23260-7.

Reviewed by William Edelglass

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Review: Religion, Identity and Difference

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 12, 2005

Colors of the Robe: Religion, Identity and Difference By Ananda Abeysekara. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2002. xvi + 271 pages. ISBN: 1570034672.

Reviewed by Joseph Walser

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Survey of the Sources of Buddhist Ethics

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 11, 2004

A Survey of the Sources of Buddhist Ethics

Ian J. Coghlan
Georgetown University

This article surveys two sources of ethics in Therāvada Buddhism. Firstly, it briefly surveys the texts that record the process of the proclamation of training rules. Secondly, it investigates the main events which provoked proclamation. This process of setting down an ethical standard itself emerges from both an intuitive sense of ethics held by society and the realized ethics of the Buddha. Further, though the proclamation of the 227 vows is designed to restrain physical and verbal action, the underlying purpose of the vows is to control the mind’s motivating unethical action. This survey will show that of the three roots of ignorance, aversion, and attachment, the vows are primarily directed to eliminating the root of attachment.

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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.

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Conference: Buddhism and Conflict in Sri Lanka

SSN 1076-9005
Volume 10 2003

Bath Conference on “Buddhism and Conflict in Sri Lanka”

  

Theravāda Attitudes Toward Violence

Dr. Mahinda Deegalle

Recording, Translating and Interpreting Sri Lankan Chronicle Data

Bhikku Professor Dhammavihari

Response to Ven. Prof. Dhammavihari

Prof. Heinz Bechert

The Buddha’s Attitude Toward Social Concerns as Depicted in the Pāli Canon

Dr. Mudagamuwe Maithrimurthi

An Analysis of the Selected Statements Issued by the Mahanayakas on the North-East Problem of Sri Lanka

Ven. Akuratiye Nanda

The Place for a Righteous War in Buddhism

Prof. P.D. Premasiri

The Role of the Sangha in the Conflict in Sri Lanka

Prof. Asanga Tilakaratne

Buddhism, Ethnicity, and Identity: A Problem of Buddhist History

Prof. Gananath Obeyesekere

Review: Identity Among Exiled Tibetan Buddhist Nuns

SSN 1076-9005
Volume 9 2002

Identität in Exil. Tibetisch-Buddhistische Nonnen und das Netzwerk Sakyadhita. By Rotraut Wurst. Edited By H.-J. Greschat, H. Jungraithmayr, and W. Rau. Marburger Studien zur Afrika- und Asienkunde Series C, vol. 6. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 2001, 314 pages, ISBN 3-496-02711-8.

Reviewed by Eva K. Neumaier

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A Jātaka Defence for A Monk Accused

ISSN:1076–9005
Volume 5, 1998

Echoes of Nalinika: A Monk in the Dock

Enid Adam
Edith Cowan University

How can Nalinika, one of the Buddhist Jātaka tales, be used in the Perth District Court in Perth, Western Australia, as an illustration in the defence of a Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka? In the dock sat Pannasara Kahatapitye, a high-ranking monk from Colombo, facing eleven charges of sexual assault. Was this a case of cultural, religious, and political bias and misunderstanding, or of a monk breaking monastic vows and practicing immorally? Was this man a charlatan or a genuine monk being framed by dissident Sinhalese groups in Australia? Over ten days the drama developed as evidence was given before judge and jury. Throughout, the accused sat motionless in the dock, smiling benignly at all in the courtroom. Innocent or guilty? This paper describes how the issues were resolved as seen from the author’s role as a consultant to the crown prosecutor, and examines their implications for the general Buddhist community in Western Australia.

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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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Review: Vinaya for Theravāda Nuns

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Die Vorschriften für die Buddhistische Nonnengemeinde im Vinaya-Piṭaka der Theravādin. By Ute Hüsken. (Monographien zur Indischen Archäologie, Kunst und Philologie. Edited By Marianne Yaldiz, Vol. 11.) Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 1997, 519 pages, ISBN 2-496-02632-4, DM 148.00.

Reviewed by Eva K. Neumaier

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Review: Struggle for Liberation in the Therigatha

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 5 1998

Women in the Footsteps of the Buddha: Struggle for Liberation in the Therigatha. By Kathryn R. Blackstone, Curzon Critical Studies in Buddhism, The Curzon Press, 1998, xiii + 185 pages, ISBN: 0-7007-0962-2.

Reviewed by Nancy J. Barnes

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Review: Wandering Monks in Twentieth-Century Thailand

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 5 1998

Forest Recollections: Wandering Monks in Twentieth-Century Thailand. By Kamala Tiyavanich. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1997, xxi + 410 pages, ISBN 0-8248-1781-8, US$29.95.

Reviewed By Tessa Bartholomeusz

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Review: Buddhist Monastic Ethics for Women

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 5 1998

Sisters in Solitude: Two Traditions of Buddhist Monastic Ethics for Women. By Karma Lekshe Tsomo. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1996, xii + 198 pages, ISBN 0-7914-3089-8 (Cloth). $59.50, 0-7914-3090-1 (Paper), $19.95.

Reviewed by Charles S. Prebish

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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

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Review: Buddhism Through American Women’s Eyes

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 5 1998

Buddhism Through American Women’s Eyes. Edited by Karma Lekshe Tsomo. Ithaca, New York: Snow Lion, 1995, 179 pages, ISBN 1-55939-047-6, US $12.95, UK £8.95.

Reviewed by Enid Adam

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Review: Monasticism in Theravāda Buddhism and Medieval Catholicism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 4 1997

Virtuosity, Charisma, and the Social Order: A Comparative Sociological Study of Monasticism in Theravāda Buddhism and Medieval Catholicism. By Ilana Freidrich Silber. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995, x + 250 pages, ISBN 0-521-41397-4, $54.95.

Reviewed by Mavis Fenn

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Review: Buddhist Nuns in Sri Lanka

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 4 1997

Women Under the Bo Tree: Buddhist Nuns in Sri Lanka. By Tessa Bartholomeusz. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994, xx, 284 pages, 0-5214-6129-4 (cloth), $59.95.

Reviewed by Kate Blackstone

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Review: Indo-Tibetan Scholasticism

SSN 1076-9005
Volume 3 1996

Buddhism and Language: A Study of Indo-Tibetan Scholasticism. By José Ignacio Cabezón (Foreword by Frank E. Reynolds), SUNY Series, Toward a Comparative Philosophy of Religions, Frank E. Reynolds and David Tracy, editors. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1994, xiii + 299 pages, ISBN 0-7914-1900-2 (paper).

Reviewed by Mark Siderits

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Vinaya in American Theravāda Temples

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 1 1994

Vinaya in Theravāda Temples in the United States

Paul David Numrich
University of Illinois at Chicago
 
Vinaya (the monastic discipline) plays an essential role in defining traditional Theravāda Buddhism. This article examines the current state of vinaya recitation and practice in the nearly 150 immigrant Theravāda Buddhist temples in the United States, and also speculates on the prospect of traditional Theravāda’s firm establishment in this country. Specific vinaya issues discussed include the pātimokkha ceremony, the discussion about vinaya adaptation to the American context, adaptations in the areas of monastic attire and relations with women, and principles of adaptation at work in Theravāda temples in the United States. 

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