25: Vinaya Studies

Wed., Aug. 20th, 16:00 - 18:00

The Vinaya's Ban on the Ordination of Paṇḍakas and the Case of Laura/Michael Dillon

Cabezon, Jose (University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA)


Monastic Hat-wearing, Textualization of Heteropraxy, and Sources of Authority in a Seventeenth-Century Burmese Document

Kirichenko, Alexey (Institute of Asian and African Studies, Moscow State University)

The paper is a discussion of a manuscript text allegedly compiled by Taungbila Hsayadaw Tipiṭakālaṅkāra (1578-1651), a famous Burmese monk and monastic jurist best known to the field of Buddhist studies as the author of Vinayālaṅkāra-ṭīkā (a commentary on Vinayasaṅgaha aṭṭhakathā), in response to royal query about the origins and correctness of the then-contemporary monastic practice of wearing hats. Though the practice of monastic hat-wearing is well attested in early modern Southeast Asia and survives in certain areas until now, it is not supported by canonical Pāli texts and thus was criticized by some monks in Burma at least since the late seventeenth century. Historical origins of this practice are obscure and very few known documents shed light on it. The manuscript in question provides interesting perspective on how an argument for the legitimacy of hat-wearing was constructed and what means were employed to recast heteropraxy in more “normative” or scripturally grounded terms.
Another value of exploration of the document lies in its seeming subversiveness for the image of Tipiṭakālaṅkāra as practitioner locating scriptural, practical, and legal authority in canonical Vinaya, which is attested by his arguments in Vinayālaṅkāra-ṭīkā and argued in his biographies (composed between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries). This aspect highlights the fluidity of monastic biography that allowed making multiple claims via a single person and the vibrancy of debate on orthopraxy in Burma. The paper thus will explore how claims to real and apocryphal textual authorities and monastic references were used as arguments for competing forms of practice in the seventeenth and eighteenth century Burma and what insights that offers for our understanding of normative practices, legal cultures, and disciplinary debates in Southeast Asian Buddhism.


Due Process in the Pali Vinaya Viewed in the Light of Modern Jurisprudence

Pinte, Gudrun (Ghent University, Melle, BEL)

In Pali monastic literature, we can distinguish some basic principles for any ecclesiastical trial: only if plaintiff and accused express their willingness to accept the verdict, the investigation can begin; the presence of the accused is essential and acknowledgement of the facts after interrogation is a prerequisite for being charged. Furthermore, a conscientious but incompetent plaintiff should be given guidance when he brings his case forward and the possibility of appeal is seemingly absent. In this paper, these characteristics of a Buddhist ecclesiastical case will be investigated and discussed in the light of modern jurisprudence.


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