[INDOLOGY] 17th I.B. Horner Lecture, 29 September 2017

Rupert Gethin Rupert.Gethin at bristol.ac.uk
Tue Sep 5 13:45:05 UTC 2017



Vincent Tournier (SOAS, University of London)

The Buddha’s Self-ordination: from the Vinaya mātṛkās to the Milindapañha

Friday, 29 September 2017, 5.30 p.m.

Room FG01 (Faber Building)
School of Oriental and African Studies
Thornhaugh Street
Russell Square
London WC1H OXG

All are welcome

This presentation will explore the status of the Buddha as an “ordained” (upasampanna) master, as it emerges primarily within Vinaya literature. In fact, while the issue of the Buddha’s ordination (upasampadā) is not directly addressed in the Vinaya of the Mahāvihāravāsins, a rich array of sources transmitted among other nikāyas understood the founder of the monastic lineage to have performed a specific kind of ordination, referred to as “autonomous” (svāmaṁ, svayambhūtva) or “master-less” (anācāryaka) upasampadā. Such an ordination features prominently in lists of types of upasampadā opening texts belonging to the Vinayamātṛkā genre. These lists may be fruitfully compared in terms of their contents, ordering, and function within their wider scriptural contexts. In particular, it may be established that the category of self-ordination was used as an important organising factor in Vinaya narratives. Moreover, the buddhological implications of this notion deserve to be explored, and in particular the relationship between definitions of self-ordination and conceptions of Śākyamuni’s bodhisattva career, of his Awakening, and of his status as the initiator of the śāsana. Finally, to take into consideration definitions and uses of this notion within sources of the (Mūla-)Sarvāstivādins, Mahāsāṅghika (‑Lokottaravādin)s, and Sāṁmitīyas allows to better contextualise and understand an intriguing passage from the Milindapañha. This may contribute to the discussion on the northern connections and the doctrinal eclecticism of this unique Pāli text, to the study of which P. Demiéville as well as I. B. Horner masterfully contributed.

Rupert Gethin
Professor of Buddhist Studies
University of Bristol
Department of Religion and Theology
3 Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 1TB, UK

Email: Rupert.Gethin at bristol.ac.uk<mailto:Rupert.Gethin at bristol.ac.uk>

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