Vinaya school

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A school of Chinese Buddhism that specialized in study of all aspects of the Vinaya.or rules of conduct for clergy and laity. Established by the monk Tao-hsüan (596–667), this school began by establishing which of the several redactions of the monastic regulations that had been translated into Chinese would become the standard. Tao-hsüan chose the Vinaya of the Dharmaguptaka school in India.in Chinese called the ‘Vinaya in Four Divisions’ (Chin., Ssu fen lü), as the standard. After this had been settled, the school went on to function as a sort of canon law department for Chinese Buddhism, producing commentaries on the Vinaya, establishing procedures for handling difficult cases, defining what constituted an infraction of a rule and setting up sanctions and mitigating circumstances, and so on. They also dealt with matters of clerical status, setting criteria for valid ordinations and expulsion. The school was never large, but because of this ‘gatekeeping’ function, had extraordinary influence over the character of the Chinese Saṃgha. See also Ritsu; Lü-tsung.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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