Cover of Buddhist Monastic Traditions of Southern Asia
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Li Rongxi


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This text by the seventh-century Chinese monk Yijing, with its evocative subtitle, A Record of the Inner Law Sent Home from the South Seas, gives detailed reports of the monastic rules and forms followed in Southern Asia. Yijing had already travelled widely in India, and while sojourning in Sumatra, began compiling reports on what he had found, sending dispatches back to his monastic community in China. As a result of Yijing's intent -- to inspire the monastic communities of his own time and place -- the work reads as freshly now as it must have to his fellow monastics then. Complete in one volume.

Monastic rules of seventh century southern Asia


Taishō 2125

Volume 54

Buddhist Monastic Traditions of Southern Asia

Buddhist Monastic Traditions of Southern Asia is also known as A Record of the Buddhist Religions as Practiced in India and the Malay Archipelago. Yijing left China in C.E. 671 for India and Southeast Asia, and this work is a detailed record of his observations on monastic discipline and life in the monasteries he visited. These works were sent as dispatches back to China. Yijing wanted to help the monks at home to reflect upon the state of their own discipline by giving an indication of the strict rules observed by monks in India and neighboring countries. The resulting collection is thus a valuable source of material on the organization of the Buddhist community in these countries and the state of monastic discipline at the time.

Ch. Nanhai jigui neifa zhuan (南海寄歸内法傳), compiled by Yijing. 4 fascicles.

Table of Contents

A Message on the Publication of the English Tripiṭaka     NUMATA Yehan     v
Editorial Foreword     MAYEDA Sengaku     vii
Publisher’s Foreword     Kenneth K. Inada     ix
Translator’s Introduction     Li Rongxi     1

A Record of the Inner Law Sent Home from the South Seas

Fascicle One

    Foreword    7

  1. No Degradation Is Caused by a Breach of the Summer   21
  2. Behavior towards the Honored Ones    21
  3. Sitting on Small Chairs at Mealtimes    22
  4. The Distinction between Pure and Impure Food    24
  5. Cleansing after TakLeigh Janiak ing Meals    26
  6. Two Bottles for Keeping Water    27
  7. Morning Inspection of Water to Clear Away Insects    29
  8. Chewing Tooth Wood in the Morning    32
  9. Acceptance of an Invitation to a Feast    34

Fascicle Two

  1. The Requirements for Raiment and Food    53
  2. How to Wear the Robes    70
  3. The Robes and the Funeral Rites of a Bhiksuni    75
  4. The Purification of a Site    80
  5.  The Summer Retreat of the Five Groups    82
  6. The Ceremony of Confession    83
  7. The Use of Spoons and Chopsticks    86
  8. Salutation at Proper Times    87
  9. Answering the Call of Nature    88

Supplemental Remarks    91

Fascicle Three

  1. Regulations for Ordination    93
  2.  The Times for Taking a Bath    102
  3.  The Cloth for Sitting On    104
  4. Rules Concerning Sleeping and Resting    105
  5. Walking Up and Down for Good Health    107
  6. The Junior Worshiping the Senior    108
  7. Behavior between Teacher and Pupil    109
  8. Conduct towards Visitors and Friends    116
  9. The Treatment of Disease    118
  10. Rules for Taking Medicine    121
  11. Avoidance of Evil Drugs    127
  12. On Turning to the Right and the Observation of Time 129

Fascicle Four

  1. Bathing the Buddha’s Image    135
  2. The Ceremony of Chanting    138
  3. Absurd Ways of Worshiping the Buddha’s Image    144
  4. The Ways of Learning in India    145
  5. On Keeping Long Hair    155
  6. Disposal of the Property of a Deceased Monk    157
  7. Use of the Property of the Sangha    161
  8. The Impropriety of Self-Immolation    163
  9. The Bystanders Become Guilty    166
  10. Things Not Done by Virtuous Monks of Old    167

Glossary    183
Bibliography    187
Index    189
A List of the Volumes of the BDK English Tripiṭaka (First Series)