The Rules of Buddhist Monks: Issues of Property and Pollution

Malcolm Voyce*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The translations by Buddhist scholars of Pāli Vinaya texts reflected the mental predispositions of those involved. These scholars were not legally trained and tended to see the Vinaya as a series of prohibitions and duties. Furthermore, early translators were not necessarily situated to appreciative the importance of ritual, and did not incorporate the insights from inscriptional evidence. This chapter shows, through the concept of legal pluralism, neglected aspects of 'Vinaya jurisprudence'. First, it examines the situation where monks were directed to obey 'outside dictates' of the Dharmaśāstra to facilitate business and to ensure the continued support of donations. In this regard it is shown how the Vinaya replicated wider norms within the Dharmaśāstra as regards the requirements of other business communities with which the Sangha (Buddhist order) aspired to do business. Secondly, the chapter examines the situation where monks had to adhere to wider notions of Indian society based on notions of purity and pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCurrent Legal Issues
EditorsMichael Freeman, David Napier
Place of PublicationOxford, New York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780191723025
ISBN (Print)9780199580910
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010


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