Thursday, February 17

Buddhist Monks and Marriage

I didnt know that Buddhist Monks used to be married. See this note. I betcha this will come as much as a rude shock to some as the fact that Hindu’s ate beef came as a shock to some gits.

       University of Tokyo Faculty of Humanities
Fuse Academic Lecture

Hosted by the Department of Indian Philosophy and Buddhist Studies
University of Tokyo

We are happy to announce the upcoming lecture by Dr. Shayne Clarke
of McMaster University, who has recently concluded ground-breaking
research in the area of Vinaya Studies. Dr. Clarke's lecture is
supported by the Fuse academic fund.

Presenter: Dr. Shayne Clarke (McMaster University)
Title: The Good Monk and His Wife are Seldom Parted: Reflections on
Married Monks in Indian Buddhism
Date/Time: February 16 (Weds.), 15:00-17:00
Place: Indian Philosophy and Buddhist Studies Seminar Room (Hō-bun
Bldg. 2, 3rd floor)
Presentation Language: English

Abstract: It is often assumed that Buddhist monks in India were not
married. Although we find occasional references to married monks in
Mahāyāna sūtras, the lifestyle of these monks is generally viewed as
an aberration of the monastic life, and their conduct is thought of as
being in contravention of the extant Vinayas.

In the present paper I investigate the position of married monks in
canonical Vinaya literature. The extant Vinayas contain several
interesting narratives that assume the existence of married monks in
India. Not only could monks continue to visit their lay (former?)
wives after ordination, but they could also leave home for the
religious life together with their wives. Husband and wife could enter
the religious life as monk and nun. Moreover, divorce, which is said
to be unknown in Brahmanical India, is mentioned in a number of Vinaya
texts. Although the canonical authors of the extant Vinayas knew about
divorce or some process by which unhappy couples could annul their
marriages, they never seem to insist that men get divorced before
becoming monks. I conclude, then, not that monks never marry in India,
but that monks in fact never divorce.

1 comment:

Kunal said...

How interesting. Loved the last line/ punch line.
To add to your comment about the beef eating fact - might I add venison (though I have no textual reference handy).
Good salty.