Bones, Stones, and Buddhist Monks: Collected Papers on the Archaeology, Epigraphy, and Texts of Monastic Buddhism in India

By Gregory Schopen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
The stūpa Cult and the Extant Pāli Vinaya

ONE OF THE MORE curious things about the Pāli Vinaya as we have it is that it contains no rules governing the behavior of monks in regard to stūpas. In this respect it is, among the various vinayas that have come down to us, unique: "tous les Vinayapitaka...à la seule exception du vinaya pāli, contiennent," according to Bareau, "d'intéressantes données concernant la construction et le culte des stūpa" (emphasis added).1 Bareau seems to see the absence of such "données" in the Pāli Vinaya as a function of the chronology of the compilation of the various vinayas and seems to suggest that the absence of such material results from the relatively earlier date of the closing of its compilation.2 Roth explains the absence of such rules in the Pāli Vinaya in a somewhat different way: "The Pāli tradition apparently did not include such a section, as the compilers of the ancient Pali canon were governed by a tradition according to which the construction and worship of a stūpa was the concern of laymen and not of monks. Therefore, there was felt to be no need for a particular stūpa-section to be included in the Khandhaka-section of the Pāli Vinaya."3 There is, however, a passage in a twelfth centurySinhalese Katikāvata, or monastic code, a passage in the Visuddhimagga. and several passages in the Sutta-vibhaṇga. that might suggest quite a different possible explanation.

The Mahā-Parākramabāhu Katikāvata, which has come down to us in a twelfth century inscription from Galvihāra,4 was promulgated as a part of one of the many attempts to "purify" or "reform" the Sri Lankan Saṇgha, and its authors claim that it "was formulated also without deviating from the tradition of the lineage of preceptors {ädurol = ācārya­kula and after the consultation of Dhamma and Vinaya."5 One of the sections intended to regulate the daily life of the monks says, in part, in Ratnapala's translation:

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