Scarecrows, <i>Up</i><i>ā</i><i>sakas</i>, Fetuses, and Other Child Monastics in Middle-Period Indian Buddhism

Amy Paris Langenberg

in Little Buddhas

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199860265
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979929 | DOI:

Series: AAR Religion, Culture, and History

Scarecrows, Upāsakas, Fetuses, and Other Child Monastics in Middle-Period Indian Buddhism

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This chapter explores children’s participation in monastic life according to texts from the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya, the Avadānaśataka, the Mahāvastu, and other Sanskrit Buddhist sources, documenting the Indian Buddhist tradition’s ongoing and evolving legal and ritual accommodation of children in monastic communities. It concludes that, where it concerned children, monastic practice was a particularly porous site of interface with the lay community, borrowing from the lay ritual repertoire and adapting monastic ritual forms to the needs of parents and their offspring. Far from renouncing “the world,” Indian Buddhist monks (and nuns) of all ages engaged in a highly articulated, graduated, and complex form of Indian communal life that was thoroughly enmeshed, socially and ritually, with the world beyond the monastery gates.

Keywords: Upāsaka; Indian Buddhism; urdination; monasticism; Vinaya; Pravrajyā; Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya; Pāli Vinaya; buddhist novice; Ānanda

Chapter.  17161 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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