Among the most striking identity markers of a Buddhist monastic community are the robes worn by its members. It is therefore not surprising that disciplinary (vinaya) texts contain a wealth of guidelines on robes, and that much research has been done on how to make and wear such robes. The present article focuses on a much less studied, yet equally essential, aspect: the care of monastic robes. As we will see, disciplinary texts are similarly informative on this issue, although in this instance the guidelines are scattered throughout the various chapters of the vinayas. Taking care of one’s robes involved washing and dyeing them properly, and many details are provided on exactly how to do both. The vinayas offer a wealth of information on both the material culture of early Buddhist India and the monastic way to deal with the guidelines relating to robes. In sum, their rules provide an intriguing picture of how a Buddhist monastic community in India ideally took care of one of its most visible features — the monastic robe.
The present paper gives a detailed analysis of the guidelines on sleeping practices as stipulated in Buddhist monastic disciplinary texts and in Chinese manuals. It shows how sleep is perceived in normative texts, both in India and in China, and how monastics should deal with their daily need for sleep. The analysis reveals a striking contrast between sleep as a relatively innocent time when one’s actions incur no guilt, and sleep as a potentially harmful time of the day, given its assocation with disrespect, inactivity and sexual practices, and given the fact that during one’s sleep one might unwillingly display one’s true nature, which for some monastics appears to be quite detrimental.
In early Buddhist monasteries, the end of the rain retreat is the starting point of the robe season. This season lasts one month. During this month, lay people offer robes and robe material to the Buddhist community. The community can lengthen this period by holding the kathina ceremony. It is the start of the kathina period, during which monks and nuns also enjoy several privileges. In this article, the time schedule of this most important period for the Buddhist community is examined referring to the extant Pali, Sanskrit and Chinese sources. This study provides a new comparative table of the lunar year, and allows us to outline a general time schedule of the kathina period, as well as to point out some remarkable differences.
One of the most visible identity markers of Buddhist monasticism is clothing. The robes of monks and nuns have been paid considerable attention by researchers. By contrast, other pieces of monastic clothing have attracted far less attention, and this is particularly the case with footwear. Although shoes certainly play a secondary role compared to robes, they still present the monastic community with a number of complex issues. Shoes touch the ground, so they inevitably get dirty. Hence, wearing shoes could be considered disrespectful when meeting someone or paying homage, but so could showing one’s naked feet. Meanwhile, shoes protect the feet from dirt and injury on difficult roads, so they may be viewed as essential attire. Additional issues relate to the material and the shape of the footwear, and which shoes are the most appropriate in various situations. This study discusses early Buddhist disciplinary (vinaya) texts’ guidelines on issues relating to footwear, and explores how these guidelines were later received within China. It also provides a detailed picture of early Indian and Chinese Buddhist communities’ attitudes to shoes, a problematic element of monastic clothing.
One of the most distinguishing features of a Chinesemonk and nun is therefusal to eat or drink certain types of food: it is forbidden to drink alcohol, to eat meat or fish, or to consume five products that have a strong flavour. This was not merely a matter of monastic code. Under the influence of Mahāyāna, with its strong emphasis on compassion, the monastic discipline was subjected to an increased moralisation. At the same time, we see how the secular authorities interfered with the monastic discipline on an increasing scale, until they finally even took it upon them to enforce these monastic rules by including them into the secular law codex. The Daoseng ge, Regulations for the Daoist and Buddhist Clergy, included in the civil Tang code issued in 637 by Emperor Taizong, is a prime example. Based on disciplinary (vinaya) texts, Chinese commentaries written by vinayamasters, and historical accounts, the present paper studies thedevelopment of disciplinary rules on forbidden food in the Buddhist monastic community. At the beginning, a wrong-doer was a mere offender of the monastic code. He gradually became a sinner, and finally also a state criminal (at least in theory).
The first recorded biography of Daoxuan 道宣 (596–667) – regarded as the de facto founder of the Vinaya ‘school’ in China – was a stele inscription composed by the scholar-official Li Yong 李邕 (678–747). No longer extant, this inscription was the main biographical source on Daoxuan until the Song Dynasty as well as Zanning’s 贊寜 (919–1001) primary source for his entry on Daoxuan in the Song gaoseng zhuan 宋高僧傳 (Biographies of Eminent Monks [Compiled] under the Song Dynasty). This paper investigates how Li Yong engaged with a monastic community headed by Daoxuan’s disciples in the prefecture of Zizhou 淄州, Henan Circuit. We argue that this group of monks commissioned Li Yong to compose a number of stele inscriptions for Daoxuan himself and several of his disciples and associates.