The Rules of Buddhist Monks: Issues of Property and Pollution

Malcolm Voyce

in Law and Anthropology

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199580910
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723025 | DOI:

Series: Current Legal Issues

 The Rules of Buddhist Monks: Issues of Property and Pollution

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The translations by Buddhist scholars of Pāli Vinaya texts reflected the mental predispositions of those involved. These scholars were not legally trained and tended to see the Vinaya as a series of prohibitions and duties. Furthermore, early translators were not necessarily situated to appreciative the importance of ritual, and did not incorporate the insights from inscriptional evidence. This chapter shows, through the concept of legal pluralism, neglected aspects of ‘Vinaya jurisprudence’. First, it examines the situation where monks were directed to obey ‘outside dictates’ of the Dharmaśāstra to facilitate business and to ensure the continued support of donations. In this regard it is shown how the Vinaya replicated wider norms within the Dharmaśāstra as regards the requirements of other business communities with which the Sangha (Buddhist order) aspired to do business. Secondly, the chapter examines the situation where monks had to adhere to wider notions of Indian society based on notions of purity and pollution.

Keywords: Buddhism; Pāli Vinaya texts; Buddhist monks; legal pluralism; Vinaya

Chapter.  8096 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Law

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