Walser, Joseph Joseph.Walser at tufts.edu
Tue May 21 10:32:31 UTC 2013

Your student should probably check out Gregory Schopen's article "Dead monks and bad debts: Some provisions of a Buddhist Monastic inheritance law" in _Buddhist Monks and Business Matters_. I don't think the buddhists who wrote the vinayas were in a position to declare a jubilee year. That would be the perogative of the king.

Other than that, I seem to recall the issue of debts only coming up in the Yajnavalkya and Katyayana smrtis, though it might be in Manu as well. I don't have them with me at the moment, but could find references if need be.

Hope this is of some help.


Joseph Walser

Associate Professor

Department of Religion

Tufts University

From: INDOLOGY [indology-bounces at list.indology.info] on behalf of Jonathan Silk [kauzeya at gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 6:15 AM
To: Indology
Subject: [INDOLOGY] debt

dear Colleagues,

I've been asked whether (tout court) Buddhism or Hinduism have any clear attitudes toward debt. I understand the question not to refer to spiritual debt, but to monetary debt, and the origins of the questions to probably be whether we find things comparable to the idea of the Jubilee, or the Biblical necessity to release Hebrew slaves after 7 years of service (the origin of the Sabbatical, by the way!), and the like (at least as far as I know, there is no such provision in pre-modern India for manumission).
Any advice would be most welcome, thanks!


J. Silk
Instituut Kern / Universiteit Leiden
Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, LIAS
Johan Huizinga Building, Room 1.37
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
The Netherlands

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