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date: 26 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the legal details surrounding the full ordination of women into the Buddhist monastic traditions. These legal details need be appreciated in order to understand difficulties involved in current attempts to revive an order of female monastics, bhikṣuṇīs, where it has come to be extinct. The chapter begins with the account of the foundation of the bhikṣuṇī order in the way this is found in the Dharmaguptaka, Mūlasarvāstivāda, and Theravāda Vinayas. Next it surveys the legal parameters that emerge from one of these gurudharmas, which concerns bhikṣuṇī ordination, and how according to these three Vinayas subsequent ordinations were carried out. Then it turns to the transmission of the bhikṣuṇī ordination lineage until modern times to set the frame for appreciating the present situation.

Keywords: bhikṣuṇīs, full ordination, gender, gurudharma, Mahāprajāpatī, Vinaya

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