Chapter

A New Hat for Hārītī

Gregory Schopen

in Little Buddhas

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199860265
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979929 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860265.003.0001

Series: AAR Religion, Culture, and History

A New Hat for Hārītī

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No matter where one looks in Buddhist monastic literature there are indications that the monks who wrote it were concerned in a variety of ways with safe childbirth and sick children, and had devised a number of practices to deal with both. Several examples are given here, but the main focus is on a practice for which the converted demonness Hārītī is presented as the model. Although she is said to be the protector of children in the secondary literature, in an important account that has been largely overlooked but can be shown to have circulated in India, Hārītī herself is said to have given her own children to the monastic community when they were in need of protection. Buddhist monks and nuns are represented as the real protectors of children. Detailed instructions are provided for sending threatened children to monks and nuns and how the children should be treated.

Keywords: Hārītī; Vinaya; childbirth; children; protection; monastery

Chapter.  13369 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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