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date: 29 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on the Vinaya Piṭaka, which is the first of the three traditional components of Buddhist scripture. Following an introduction that contextualizes this literature and its role in regulating the moral and ethical behaviour of Buddhist monks and nuns, it considers the Vinaya in its three traditional components: Paracanonical, Canonical, and Non-Canonical Vinaya Literature. The Paracanonical Vinaya literature is comprised of two basic components: the Prātimokṣa Sūtra, or those rules governing the individual lives of monks and nuns, and the Karmavācanā, which governs the basic life of the Buddhist saṃgha. As these two texts were expanded into fully canonical versions, noted as Buddhavacana, they developed into texts known as the Sūtravibhaṅga and Skandhaka, which included stories explaining the promulgation of the Vinaya rules, their applications, and exceptions. Finally, we consider the Non-Canonical Vinaya Literature, which includes commentaries and miscellaneous texts providing additional information about the Buddhist disciplinary tradition.

Keywords: Vinaya Piṭaka, Sūtravibhaṅga, Skandhaka, prātimokṣa, Karmavācanā, Upasaṃpadā, Poṣadha, Saṃgha, Saṃghabheda, bhikṣu

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