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

By Reginald A. Ray | Go to book overview

the same time, according to the two-tiered model, the Buddhist saints embody a deviation from the authenticity of the monastic norm, a falling back to the type of the non-Buddhist renunciant. The argument as typically made runs that the forest renunciants have little or nothing to do with the monastery, are not most typically concerned with purity of behavior or with textual learning, do not tend toward the most extreme separation from their non-Buddhist environment, and are comfortable with kataphatic modes of expression, the adoration of the laity, cultic activities, and so on--that is, with "Hindu" forms. Yet in this study, it has been argued that this interpretation is overly superficial and that we must pay more attention to the deep structures and intentions of the Buddhist forest saints themselves, as reflected in the texts. In fact, as we have seen, the very evidence that is adduced as incriminating by the proponents of the two-tiered model of Buddhism may, when seen from a different angle, equally--perhaps even more forcefully and convincingly--make a case for just the opposite conclusion: that the forest saints embody the highest ideals of Indian Buddhism and represent a unique kind of Buddhist creativity, without an appreciation of which the origin and much of the dynamics of Buddhism in India cannot be adequately understood.


Notes
1.
The works of contemporary anthropologists cited in this study, including Tambiah, Bunnag, Carrithers, Schober, and others, have all provided food for thought. Particularly helpful has been Tambiah, who, in his study of Buddhist forest saints in Thailand ( 1984), has already suggested, if not fully explicated, the kind of model proposed here. Thus in a section entitled "Paradigms," Tambiah presents two "schematic maps," identifying the major sources of institutionalized power, authority, and action within the Thai Buddhist context ( 1984, 72-77). In the first map, Tambiah describes a structure of triadic relations including political ruler, village/town-dwelling monastic saṃgha, and forest-dwelling monks (sects/fraternities). In the second, he describes a structure of pentadic relations including central political authority, town-and-village monk communities, forest-monk communities, and town-and-village laity. The present threefold model differs from Tambiah's in three respects: (1) its emphasis is on groups as embodiments of ideal types and on their interactions; (2) it identifies the primary types as forest renunciant, monastic, and layperson (with royalty as a subcategory of the laity); and (3) in Tambiah's model, the forest monk is an ordained monastic living in some communal setting, whereas for the threefold model the forest renunciant is not necessarily an ordained monastic and does not necessarily live in a community.
2.
Maquet makes this point in relation to contemporary forest Buddhism in Sri Lanka ( 1980, 146).
3.
See Keyes 1982 for an example.
4.
Nālandā and Trungpa 1982.

-447-

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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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