Buddhist Saints in India: A Study in Buddhist Values and Orientations

By Reginald A. Ray | Go to book overview

in the forest, and a preoccupation with meditation--were deemphasized, ignored, or repudiated by the more (at least to us) visible Buddhism of the settled monastery.

Did this mean, however, that these earlier trends ceased to exist? Some scholars have suspected their ongoing, if mostly invisible, presence in India. Frauwallner, for example, remarks that

the strongly mystical element, which was powerful in Buddhism from its early days and which in the final analysis went back to the Buddha himself, did not simply allow itself to be eliminated. There were always many members of the community for whom meditative experience was the essential thing and who were indifferent to dogmatic scholarship. ( 1969, 143)

But who were these people? What was their Buddhism like? How did they understand themselves? How did others see them? It is the intent of the following chapters to begin to provide some answers to these questions.


Notes
1.
I adopt this terminology from Peter Brown ( 1981), who uses it in his examination of the rise and function of the cult of saints in Latin Christianity. Schopen ( 1988, 153ff.) has made reference to the applicability of this model to the Buddhist case. See also Lancaster's different way of relating Brown's two-tiered model to Buddhism ( Lancaster 1984).
2.
This is not an unreasonable assumption, as the Theravāda along with its classic texts and practices originated in India.
3.
The use in this chapter of masculine terms to refer to the settled monastic ("the monk") as presented in the two-tiered model is intentional. This usage follows the tendency of those favoring the two-tiered model to discuss monastics only in terms of the fully ordained man. The nun (bhikṣuṇī; P., bhikkhunī) represents a special case to be discussed later. Her status as a renunciant would seem to locate her in the upper tier, but because she is a woman and thus theoretically debarred from enlightenment, when she is mentioned, she tends to be linked with the lower. In general, however, as we shall see, she is usually ignored in literature, both Buddhist and scholarly, articulating the two-tiered model. See Ku 1984.
4.
For a useful collection of citations of, and quotations from, Buddhist texts describing Buddhist community in terms of this two-tiered model, see Lester 1973, 47-150.
5.
Useful summaries of the monastic ideal are given by Lamotte ( 1958, 58-71), Hirakawa ( 1966), Lester ( 1973, 48-56; 83-129), and Bunnag ( 1973). By far the clearest and textually best grounded summary has been provided by Wijayaratna ( 1990). See also Gombrich's helpful review of the original French edition ( 1986).
6.
Lit. "burden of books" ( PTSD 243.1); cf. Tambiah ( 1984, 53) and Khantipalo ( 1965, 5-7). In this study, the phrase "vocation of texts and scholarship," which translates the Pāli, will be used more generally to designate the characteristic settled monastic pursuits connected with textual learning.
7.
These two primary preoccupations are discussed by S. Dutt ( 1962, 25ff. and 50ff.), Bunnag ( 1973, 30ff. and 50ff.), Khantipalo ( 1979, 91-127), and Tambiah ( 1984, 53ff.).
8.
Gombrich additionally comments that in Buddhaghosa's classic Visuddhimagga, the monastic "śīla is envisaged as a kind of protective cloak in which the monk is to remain

-36-

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Buddhist Saints in India: A Study in Buddhist Values and Orientations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Contents xi
  • Conventions xiii
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Introduction 3
  • Notes 10
  • 1 - The Buddhist Saints and the Two-Tiered Model of Buddhism 15
  • Notes 36
  • 2 - Buddha Śākyamuni as a Saint 44
  • Notes 68
  • 3 - Saints of the Theragāthā and Therīgāthā 79
  • Notes 99
  • 4 - Some Orthodox Saints in Buddhism 105
  • Conclusion 136
  • Notes 141
  • 5 - Saints Criticized and Condemned 151
  • Notes 173
  • 6 - Cults of Arhants 179
  • Notes 205
  • 7 - The Solitary Saint, the Pratyekabuddha 213
  • Notes 241
  • 8 - Bodhisattva Saints of the Forest in Mahāyāna Sūtras 251
  • Appendix: the Minor Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā Sūtra on Forest Bhikṣus 275
  • Appendix: the Minor Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā Sūtra on Forest Bhikṣus 280
  • 9 - Ascetic Traditions of Buddhist Saints 293
  • Notes 318
  • 10 - The Buddhist Saints and the Stūpa 324
  • Notes 352
  • 11 - The Cult of Saints and Buddhist Doctrines of Absence and Presence 358
  • Notes 386
  • 12 - The Buddhist Saints and the Process of Monasticization 396
  • Notes 423
  • Conclusion: Toward a Threefold Model of Buddhism 433
  • Notes 447
  • Bibliography 448
  • Index 469
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