chapter  2
83 Pages

Survey of Vinaya Literature

Although Buddhological research in the West is well into its second hundred years, study of the early Buddhist srupgha and the monastic code governing it remains in its infancy. In pursuits of this nature it is customary to begin with an exposition emphasizing the difficulty of securing any accurate historical data concerning the ancient Indian tradition. W. Pachow expresses the dilemma succinctly:

They appear to possess little sense of what is called "history" in the modern sense of the term. We presume, that it was the habit of sages in ancient India to attach hardly any importance to chronology of events as we do to-day. Hence, we find that India did not make much progress in the development of a historical sense as China did in her old days. Being deprived of the facilities of authentic history, the workers in this field have to labour extremely hard; they have to sift the facts from heap of legends, study the archaeological data, and investigate the original literature preserved in Chinese, Tibetan, and other languages and also to get confirmation from early foreign travellers who came to India mainly from China and Greece, with the hope that a flood of light may be thrown on unsolved problems and fairly reliable conclusions drawn from

Dr. Pachow's statement, however, contains much more than a mere indictment of India's historical sense, as he presents a terse but functional statement of the methodology necessary for the Vinaya scholar. Preliminary to exercising even the finest methodology, one must gather all the available research materials, and in the case of Vinaya literature, this proves no easy task. To date, there are only three works which systematically review a substantial portion of Vinaya literature: (1) Etienne Lamotte's Histoire du Bouddhisme Indien des origines tll'ere Saktl (section on the Vinaya PiW<a, pp. 181-197), now also translated into English by Sara Boin-Webb, (2) A.kira Hirakawa's Ritsuw no Kenkyu (A Study of the Vinaya Pifaktl), and (3) A.kira Yuyama's Systematische iibersicht uber die Buddhistische Sanskrit-Literatur (Erster Teil: Vinaya-Texte). Mitsuo Sato's Genshi Bukkya Kyadan no Kenkyu (A Study of the Early Buddhist Order in the Vinaya Pifaktl) is also an imfortant source for study of the Buddhist Vinaya tradition. Consequently, this survey is designed to cite and classify the Vinaya texts of the major early Indian Buddhist nikayas, specify the Vinaya texts which we can no longer associate with a particular ni.kaya, and note a substantial volume of secondary literature pertaining to Vinaya (including some outstanding ancillary studies) stemming from or utilizing Vinaya literature.