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A Theravada code of conduct for good Buddhists: the Upasakamanussavinaya.

The purpose of this article is to provide a description of the Upasakamanussavinaya, a Pali text noted with interest by several scholars but not yet described in any detail in the secondary literature. (1) On the basis of this, I shall also make some observations on the issue of upasaka versus monastic practice in Theravada literature, a topic currently under reconsideration in Buddhist studies.

Theravada texts dedicated to lay practice have received relatively little attention in Buddhist studies, although that situation is changing. (2) Stephan Hillyer Levitt ascribed that lack of attention to the paucity of material composed specifically for the laity, and assessed the value of the Upasakamanussavinaya accordingly when cataloguing the copy held in the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania (1975: iii): "In the context of recent discussions, such as that of James P. McDermott, 'Nibbana as a Reward for Kamma,' in Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 93 (1973), pp. 344-47, which describe the absence of material in Buddhism on the laity, and in the context of recent discussions in Buddhist countries themselves, this text takes on importance."

Levitt's understanding that this is a text on lay practice comes from the title on his copy of the text, Upasakamanussavinaya, which is found on some manuscripts, while others bear similar titles. (3) Upasakamanussavinaya, which will be used here, means "a code of conduct (vinaya) for people (manussa) who are lay Buddhist practitioners (upasaka)" or "for people and lay Buddhist practitioners." The term upasaka is defined in the twelfth-century Upasakajanalamkara, the most detailed Theravada treatise dedicated to expounding the religious path for upasaka, as vatthuttayam ye samupasamana upasakattam abhisambhunanti (vs. 2, Saddhatissa 1965: 123). Saddhatissa translates this as "Those who closely associate with these three jewels obtain the status of Buddhist householdership" (1965: 2). The term he translates as "Buddhist householdership" is upasakattam, literally 'the state of being an upasaka'. Saddhatissa is careful here in his selection of a phrasal translation for the troublesome verb upasati, since choosing any of the range of translations that denote 'serve' might misrepresent the scope of the upasaka's religious activities, which, in the Upasakajanalamkara, include practicing austerities and meditation. The potential degree of involvement of an upasaka renders the translation of upasaka as "lay person" or "lay devotee" too weak. I shall use the term "lay practitioner" to translate upasaka. In canonical texts the term gihi 'householder' refers to any householder, irrespective of Buddhist affiliation, and the term upasaka only applies after an expression of faith in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha. (4) However, where adherence to Buddhism is assumed, the two terms do seem to be used as virtual synonyms within the tradition. (5) In practice, the term upasaka seems to be applied in Theravada contexts only when the practitioner is engaged in relevant activities, such as attending a temple on a holy day, and does not refer to a Buddhist more generally, as can be seen from its use as a term of address in folk tales. (6)

The people for whom the Buddha teaches the Upasakamanussavinaya are listed in the opening phrases of his address to Ananda at the start of the text: those who commit evil deeds, "be they a man or woman of the warrior caste, a male or female renouncer, a brahmin man or woman, any other woman or man, a minister or the commander of an army, a viceroy, town-watchman, or merchant, a poor man or poor woman or someone of great wealth, be they a Vaisya or Sudra or a beggar." While most of the people mentioned are lay people, the list mentions "a male or female renouncer" (samano va samani va), a phrase used to include, and often as a synonym for, Buddhist monks and nuns. This, along with the fact that the Upasakamanussavinaya also contains reference to what monks (bhikkhu) and novices (samanera) should do, raises the question of whether the term upasaka can be taken as inclusive of monastics also. Since there appears to be no evidence for such an inclusive use of the term upasaka, perhaps the phrase upasakamanussa in the title should be read as a dvanda, i.e., a vinaya for upasaka 'lay practitioners' and manussa 'people'. (7) We should bear in mind, however, that the Upasakamanussavinaya uses the parallel term jana as a collective noun to include both male upasaka and female upasika: evam saranagatehi pana upasakopasikajanehi (e.g., 175, cf. 245), later shortening this phrase to upasakajana (e.g., 294). Furthermore, the term upasakamanussa occurs elsewhere, to contrast with monks and deities. (8) While we can discern this use of jana in the Updsakajanalamkara because it is sufficiently discursive, the Upasakamanussavinaya is too concise to draw a firm conclusion regarding the correct analysis of this compound. Even if it is to be taken as a dvandva, the term manussa is likely to refer to other non-monastics, since there is a range of more specific terms for monastics. Though the text refers to general duties of monks, it does not go into details of how to carry out these duties or monastic rules. The inclusion of what one may generally expect of monastics may be appropriate in a text that is aimed overall at an audience of lay practitioners.

A shorter title, Manussavinaya, is found in the text's introductory verse, with the alternative reading Manussavineyya 'instruction for man' recorded by Oskar von Hinuber from a Lanna manuscript (1996: 196 [section]424). This title, without the term upasaka, reflects the inclusive nature of the text and may therefore be an earlier title rather than a shortened form. The addition of upasaka in the longer title may have been meant to distinguish this text clearly from the patimokkha rules.

Another version of the title for the text is the Upasakamanussavinayavannana. (9) The addition of vannana, in the sense of 'rendering/telling', rather than in the sense of 'explanation/commentary', does not appear to add meaning to a title, although it may confirm a Southeast Asian rather than Sri Lankan source for this text (on which see below), in spite of the fact that there appear to be more extant copies among Sinhalese manuscript collections. (10) One other title found in association with a manuscript of this text, Bhikkhu Dussila, is a cataloguing error. (11)

The inclusion of the word vinaya in the title suggests that this text may be a set of regulations for lay practitioners/people and the penalties to be imposed on them for breaking those regulations, on a par with the vinaya for monks and nuns, an issue to which we shall return below. However, the alternative reading Manussavineyya, while possibly a simple variant for Manussavinaya, may derive from the opening phrase of the text after the introductory verse, which reads sammdsambuddho ... dibbacakkhund veneyyabandhave oloketva anandam amantesi "The fully perfectly awakened one, having observed the kinsmen in need of training with his divine eye, addressed Ananda." (12) Moreover, the term vinaya frequently applies to training or correct practice more generally. For example, in the Singalovadasutta (Digha Nikaya sutta 31)--the locus classicus on lay practice--the householder Singala is advised to desist from his literal interpretation of the sacrifice of the six directions because it is not ariyavinaya 'the correct practice of the noble'. The Singalovadasutta itself had acquired the epithet gihivinaya 'code of conduct for householders' by the time of the commentaries, in contrast with the code of conduct for monks, bhikkhuvinaya or bhikkhupatimokkha. The latter terms apply in this context not to the patimokkha rules of the Vinaya Pitaka, but to the Anumanusutta (Majjhima Nikaya sutta 15), with reference to unskillful states of mind of which a monk should rid himself in order to ensure appropriate interactions within the Sangha. (13) So while the use of the term vinaya need not imply regulations, the title (Upasaka)manussavinaya/vineyya should indicate a text offering guidance for lay Buddhist training. Nevertheless, as noted above, the text does also include some advice on how monks should practice. Because of these ambiguities and the inclusion of some regulations pertaining to monks, I render the title of the text in translation as "A Code of Conduct for Good Buddhists."

Before looking more closely at use of the term vinaya here, I shall turn to the question of the division between Buddhist lay and monastic practice. Work in recent decades has begun to reconsider earlier simplistic statements on the issue of the lay/monastic divide, which attribute the role of donor and merit-maker to the former, and preservation of the Dharma and nibbanic practices to the latter, especially in Theravada Buddhism. Samuels' reconsideration of the situation in Theravada (1999), explicitly inspired by Schopen's interpretations of donative inscriptions from mainland South Asia, notes that teachings and practices for upasaka can be the same as those for monastics, i.e., include renouncer attitudes and meditation, aspects of the Buddhist path associated with the attainment of nibbana. Because he confines his textual analysis to the Sutta Pitaka, where the demarcation is sometimes made and sometimes not, he concludes that a stronger demarcation and demotion of the upasaka role may be an early Theravada attempt to redefine itself in response to emerging Mahayana. (14) Nevertheless, the Upasakajanalamkara, mentioned above, promotes such "renouncer" practices among upasaka, indicating a continued acceptance of "nibbanic" practice by laity at least among some Theravadins as late as the twelfth century. There is a notable range of attitudes in modern Theravada also, and the extent to which the involvement of laity in nibbana-oriented practices reflects traditional practice or modernism is a moot point. (15) To examine how widespread the enhanced demarcation between upasaka and monastic practices (other than vinaya adherence) was in Theravada (particularly in Sri Lanka, where the demarcation seems most assumed), we might turn to later Theravada sources that address lay practice, rather than relying on the simplistic representation of Theravada in such scholarship as that criticized by Samuels. One useful avenue of exploration might be to follow the developments in post-canonical texts for laity, of which several are available but still relatively ignored. In addition to the Upasakamanussavinaya under discussion here, such texts include the possibly early Pratipattisangaha in Sinhala, one of the texts also known as the Gihivinaya; (16) the Pali text called the Pratipattisangaha, hesitantly dated by Saddhatissa to the tenth century (1965: 51), (17) which inspired the Upasakajanalamkara (vs. 4, Saddhatissa 1965: 123), itself substantially drawn from the Sutta Pitaka; and the perhaps nineteenth-century Pratipattidipaniya, (18) which appears to cover topics similar to those in the Upasakajanalamkara initially, but then to diverge from the more "nibbanic" practices.

Whether or not upasaka undertake nibbanic practices, a clear distinction between them and monastics is that the behavior of the latter is circumscribed by the vinaya of the patimokkha rules. Therefore we expect the term vinaya in the title Upasakamanussavinaya to refer to a general code of conduct rather than to a set of specific regulations. As noted above, the title Gihivinaya 'vinaya/training for householders' is a generic term for lay Buddhist practice and is used with reference to several texts. In addition to being one of the names used for the Sigalovadasutta, discussed above, and to its retelling in the Saddharmavavadasangrahava, the name is also used for the Sinhala Pratipattisangaha. (19) The title Gihivinaya continues to be used in the modern or "revival" period. For example, the Cambodian modernist monks Vimalapanna Oum-Sou and Sanghasattha Choun-Nath (1969) called their compilation of canonical extracts for lay practice Gihivinayasankhepa, while Anagarika Dharmapala gave the title Gihivinaya to the list of rules for the laity written by him in 1898. Other than this last work, none of these texts with the title vinaya bears any similarity to the monastic vinaya code. Rather than listing rules for behavior and the penalty for breaking those rules, they all contain broader guidance for lay practice.

Anagarika Dharmapala's Gihivinaya has been regarded by some as the first work attempting to provide a lay vinaya by drawing up a list of specific regulations for laity--although, without a formalized membership in the Sangha, there can, of course, be no penalties imposed for breaking them, so that the similarity remains limited. Gombrich and Obeyesekere (1988: 213) see Dharmapala's composition as a feature of the urban "Protestant Buddhism" emerging among new Sinhalese middle and elite classes at the end of the nineteenth century. They write, "In the Buddhist scriptures the rules of conduct for the Order are minutely regulated, great emphasis being placed upon personal decorum and good manners. For the laity, by contrast, ethical principles are laid down, but no specific rules. This lack of specificity facilitated the spread of Buddhism among peasant societies with diverse and even mutually incompatible moral codes." (20)

The Upasakamanussavinaya shows that Dharmapala was not the first Theravadin to attempt this formalization of lay behavior, since it also contains specific rules for the conduct of non-monastics. While it does not have as many rules as his Gihivinaya, there are some overlapping areas of concern, such as treatment of parents and behavior in the temple (vihara), as we shall see below. Furthermore, many of the rules do fall under what might be termed "personal decorum and good manners," which are society-specific, rather than under universal ethics, the category to which the five precepts are often assigned, although these are also represented. One of the interesting features of the Upasakamanussavinaya is that it also defines penalties for breaking the rules, although not the kind of penalties that can actually be imposed. Before returning to a further, stylistic, similarity between this text and the monastic vinaya regulations, I shall give a more detailed account of its structure and content.

The Upasakamanussavinaya is a relatively short text, between seven and nine folios in manuscript form, producing about thirteen pages in a critical edition. (21) It is mainly in prose with a few verses that introduce the sutta and summarize parts of the content, a combination of verse and prose similar to that of the Singalovadasutta. In both texts some sections are followed by summary verses introduced by the expression etad avoca sattha (Singalovadasutta) or sattha aha (Upasakamanussavinaya), "the teacher (Buddha) said."

The narrative of this non-canonical text is presented as a teaching of the Buddha to Ananda, given while staying in the Jetavana at Savatthi. The opening does not follow the standard evam me sutam formula for introducing the Buddha's teaching found in both canonical and "apocryphal" suttas. Rather, the text opens with a verse, relating that the Buddha taught it out of compassion for the benefit of those caught in samsara:
 samsare samsarantanam manussanam hitavaham
 karunneneva desesi manussavinayam imam
 sunanta sadhukanneva sunantu jinadesitam (22)

The sermon of the Buddha is framed by an introductory nidana and a conclusion similar to those found in canonical suttas. The nidana states why, where, and to whom the Buddha taught the sermon. The conclusion states what happened when the Buddha had finished teaching this dhammadesana, namely that many samanas and brahmanas progressed to the spiritual attainment of stream-entry (sotapatti).

The teaching the Buddha gives to Ananda is an explanation of the causes that entrap people in samsara, namely their evil deeds. Although, as noted above, several versions of the title include the term upasaka and this term is found in the colophon, the teachings occasionally address the behavior of monks and ascetics, as well as those of lay people of different stations. The text's treatment of monks allows an assessment of this text's approach to the lay/monastic divide. The duties of monks include their specific vinaya regulations, summarized as keeping the "vow of conduct" (silasamvara) and four forms of "conduct of purity" (parisuddhisila), the first being the patimokkha rules. The duties of novices are to keep the ten precepts, serve their teacher (dcariya) and preceptor (upajjhaya), and look after the cetiya, Bo tree, and Buddha image. It is the duty of both monks and novices to perform paritta, recite the qualities of Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha (i.e., the itipiso and related liturgies), and practice the meditation on impermanence. This will lead them to heaven and eventually nibbdna. This specific reference to the patimokkha and nibbanic practices for members of the Sangha, as well as their ritual role in performing paritta, places this text among those advocating a clear demarcation between monastic and lay practitioners in terms of goals and practices. Other forms of behavior that lead to heaven (but not nibbana) include honoring one's parents and having one's son or daughter ordained as a novice.

The main focus of the text is the samsaric repercussions of one's actions through rebirth in heaven or hells, rather than activity directly relating to the path to nibbana. Thus it appears again to be a text that regards lay practice as relevant to samsaric rather than nibbanic concerns. Nibbana is mentioned twice, each time as a distant benefit that will be attained after first enjoying better rebirth in samsara, especially in heaven. Nibbana is presented as a result of monks keeping the duties mentioned above and practicing meditation. Nibbana is also presented in the concluding verses as the ultimate outcome of meritorious activity motivated by faith, including worshipping Buddhas, Paccekabuddhas, arahants, and venerable people. It is the third type of happiness resulting from merit, following that experienced when reborn as a human and that found in heaven. (23)

As in the similar Sutra of the Causes and Effects of Actions, preserved in Sogdian and Chinese, ways of ensuring rebirth in heaven and the eventual attainment of nibbana receive little attention compared with reasons for incurring rebirth in hell (MacKenzie 1970). These two unrelated texts resemble each other in addressing the same subject, the effects in future lives of good and bad deeds. They are both addressed to Ananda, who often represents lay and female interests. The lack of any interdependence between the two makes them of potential interest in assessing diversity of etiquette among Buddhist traditions and exploring the extent to which "diverse and even mutually incompatible moral codes" (Gombrich and Obeyesekere, discussed above) came to be encoded in pre-modern forms of Buddhism.

In the Upasakamanussavinaya the standard set of five extremely grave offenses, namely killing one's parents or an arahant, spilling the blood of a Buddha, causing schism in the Sangha, or raping a nun, not only ensure hell but also make one parajika 'defeated', i.e., expelled from the Sangha and not allowed to rejoin, even if one is not ordained at the time of committing them. Other offenses ensuring hell include showing disrespect, particularly to the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha, parents, teachers, and the elderly; eating particular meats, such as the flesh of cats or dogs, but also some quite ordinary meats, such as fowl, deer, and birds; behaving inappropriately in temple precincts or near a Buddha image, e.g., by wearing a hat, spitting, urinating, or defecating; and theft from or stinginess toward the Sangha. After listing the evil deeds leading to hell, the text repeats each deed and specifies the hell to which the perpetrator will fall and the duration in world ages that he/she will spend there. Sometimes the subsequent rebirth following the stay in hell is also named, e.g., as a peta, a poor man, or a type of animal, or the impossibility of meeting the future Buddha Metteyya is mentioned.

The style of this latter part of the text, the list of consequences, gives another clue as to why it received the title vinaya, for the structure of this section mirrors the format of the vinaya rules as recorded in the Patimokkha sutta. The Patimokkha sutta gives each rule in the formula of infringement followed by penalty: yo pana bhikkhu (does x) so parajiko hoti or yo pana bhikkhu (does x) sanghadiseso. The Upasakamanussavinaya lists the wrongdoing and consequence in similar fashion:
 yo paresam danam dussitva nivareti so paccantaniraye patati.
 yo bodhirukkham cetiyam bhindeti so accantaniraye patati.
 yo musavadamaccherakammam karoti so niraye pacitva mahantam dukkham
 anubhavam karoti metteyyabodhisattam datthum na labhati.
 yo devatd pathavicandimasuriyam iddhimabrahmadayo paribhasati so
 kukkulaniraye patati.
 yo danam adatva paresam danam garahitva nivaretva buddhagunam
 dhammagunam samghagunam na jandti so angaraniraye patati.
 yo panatipatadi antamaso bilarakukkurasukarani khddati so
 samidhaniraye patati. (24)
 Whoever prevents the generosity of others by disparaging it falls into
 the proximate hell.
 Whoever breaks a Bo tree or a caitya falls into the extreme hell.
 Whoever speaks falsely or acts selfishly, after roasting in hell,
 experiences great suffering and will never get to see the Bodhisatta
 Whoever abuses deities, such as the moon and sun, Indra, the great
 Brahma, and so on, falls into the hell of embers.
 Whoever does not give and, finding fault with and preventing the
 generosity of others, fails to recognise the virtue of the Buddha,
 the virtue of the Dhamma, or the virtue of the Sangha falls into the
 hell of hot charcoals.
 Whoever, bringing about the death of living beings, eats even cats,
 dogs, or pigs falls into the hell of kindling.

Thus this text appears to be an attempt to create a list of rules and penalties that apply to monastics and lay practitioners alike. However, since the penalties are formulated as samsaric rather than this-life institutional repercussions, this text is not a vinaya or a legal code on a par with the patimokkha for monastics, and it does not merge the formal divide between monastic and laity.

As can be seen from the excerpt above, the language of the text is simple. The Pali is almost standard with some exceptions. I will discuss a few examples here, giving uncorrected readings from the passage above. There is frequently a lack of concord between noun or pronoun and verb in all manuscripts consulted, and it is hard to judge whether this is scribal error or a feature of the text. Plural subjects are regularly accompanied by a singular verb, and it may be the summarizing of the sinners given in the previous section combined with the singular verb of the patimokkha model that causes this oddity, although sometimes the discord is reversed. The same lack of concord applies between relative and correlative clauses: e.g., yo bodhirukkham cetiyam bhindeti te accantaniraye patanti, literally "one who breaks a bo-tree or a caitya, they fall into the extreme hell." A more distinctive oddity is the repeated use of a verbal noun plus the verb karoti 'to do', to express an action, e.g., mahantam dukkham anubhavam karonti, literally "they do an experience which is great suffering," i.e., "they experience great suffering," where the object of the periphrastic present is also in the accusative. Finally, words that are properly components of a single compound are broken up and interrupted by particles: e.g., so paccantam pi niraye patati for so paccantaniraye (pi) patati, in this instance also without concord.

At present there is little basis for conjecturing a date for the Upasakamanussavinaya. The earliest material evidence is the manuscript preserved at Vat Lai Hin in northern Thailand, dated in the colophon to the year 1726, which, however, tells us little about the date of composition (von Hinuber 1996: 196). Nevill, who collected three copies from Sri Lanka at the end of the nineteenth century, rarely gives reasons why he regards as "very important" or "very old" certain of the texts in his collection, and the reliability of his estimations of dates is variable. (25) Of the Upasakamanussavinaya he writes, "A small, but apparently ancient and important work. It is very scarce. I have however two very good copies, and it is perhaps worth publication." (26) All Nevill's copies appear to be eighteenth or nineteenth century. They may derive from the literature brought over from Siam in 1756 as part of the revival and centralization of Buddhism in Sri Lanka under Sangharaja Saranamkara and King Kirti Sri Rajasinha, since the Upasakamanussavinaya is quoted in a letter sent with the envoy by the Mahasenapati at the royal court of Siam, as noted by von Hinuber (1988: 182). (27) However, it is not among the books listed as being sent with the envoy in that same letter, so the quote may reflect an assumption of familiarity with the text in both countries at that time. While the language features noted above, especially lack of concord, are regarded as a typical feature of Pali of the Kandyan period, this again could only tell us about the period when the manuscripts were copied, not the date of composition.

The content provides one clue as to date. The teaching that heaven can be ensured by having either one's son or one's daughter take lower ordination suggests a date prior to the end of the female ordination lineage in Theravada and reflects a motif apparent in texts from the fifth century onwards. In Sri Lanka the last evidence for a nun's ordination lineage appears to be from the eleventh century, while Skilling (1994: 37), in his survey of the datable evidence for the nuns' lineages in South and Southeast Asia, notes that the twelfth-century Cambodian inscription of memorial verses dedicated by Queen Indradevi in Cambodia to her late sister Jayarajadevi mentions that Jayarajadevi had girls take ordination (pravrajayat, the same verb as in the Upasakamanussavinaya). It is possible that the reference to the ordination of daughters in our text is formulaic, just as the mention of the sin of raping a nun, which also occurs in this text, is part of a standard formula and does not necessarily imply the continued existence of a nun's ordination lineage at the time of a text's composition. Similarly, the mention in the text of two of the other most severe sins, that of killing arahants or spilling the blood of a Buddha, does not presuppose contemporary belief in the current existence of arahants or a Buddha. (28) Furthermore, the reference to the lower ordination for daughters as evidence for dating is perhaps contradicted by the silence on the duties of nuns, whereas the duties of monks and male novices are listed. On the other hand, further references to nuns include the penalty for finding fault with a nun and the penalty for not liberating a slave man or slave woman after having had them take the lower ordination. On this basis, we might very tentatively suggest a date of twelfth century or earlier for the Upasakamanussavinaya.

The place of origin of the text is also unknown. Manuscript distribution across at least the Lanna region of northern Thailand, central Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and possibly the Shan states suggests its widespread popularity throughout the Theravada world before the modern period. (29) The term vannana discussed above may point to mainland Southeast Asia as a source, or might only reflect its preservation there. The predominance of Sri Lankan copies is difficult to assess because texts imported from mainland Southeast Asia were widely copied and distributed throughout Sri Lanka following the eighteenth-century reform there and under further introductions of monastic lineages in the nineteenth century. None of the Sri Lankan manuscripts indicates a date prior to these developments. The restrictions on the eating of flesh are curious in the Theravada context and perhaps suggest a non-Theravada influence, or the influence of a form of Theravada now unrepresented institutionally other than in the prohibition on beef-eating in some nikaya, although this is the only strikingly un-Theravada indication in the text.

While it is clear that the text was found over a wide geographical area, the extent and exact context of its use are also hard to assess. Sometimes we can gain an idea of a text's usage from the other texts bound in the same manuscript. (30) In this case, while several of the manuscripts are single-text manuscripts, the University of Pennsylvania manuscript (Levitt 1973: 56-64) also contains a number of vandana praise texts (of the Bo tree and relics), ritual texts, and a text for the mettabhavana meditation, the usual meditation taught to laity in Sri Lanka before the twentieth-century revival of meditation. The manuscript described by von Hinuber (1996: 195) also contains the Lokaneyyappakarana, "Book on the Instruction in World(ly) Matters." Such companion texts offer an alternative avenue for the exploration of attitudes to laity, in addition to the study of the treatises dedicated to lay practice suggested above, although the problems relating to monastic/lay distinctions discussed above lead to the risk of circularity of argument in such an analysis. As noted (n. 29), the Thai manuscript catalogued under this title in the British Library does not contain the text, but a diffuse sermon inspired by having studied the text. This indicates that the study of the Upasakamanussavinaya served as the basis for sermons. The companion texts and the mention of the text in the sermon locate the Upasakamanussavinaya in a repertoire of literature appropriate to the context of public monastic practice, inclusive of lay people, such as public events when lay practitioners attend temples, but do not suggest a specific occasion for its use.


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Supaphan Na Bangchang. 1988. A Pali Letter Sent by the Aggamahasenapati of Siam to the Court at Kandy in 1756. Journal of the Pali Text Society 12: 185-212.



1. See Nevill's comments, written towards the end of the nineteenth century, below. Von Hinuber (1996: [section]424 s.v. Manussavineyya) writes, "This short 'Instruction for Man', comprising only eight folios, begins like an apocryphal Suttanta. It's [sic] exact content is not yet known." Although Levitt describes the University of Pennsylvania manuscript M27 (section K, accession number, 555-15-1) as being a mixture of Pali and Sinhala, there is no Sinhala in the excerpts quoted in his catalogue (1975: 63).

2. An exception is the jatakas, often interpreted as being intended for laity, although the reasons are arguable. For a discussion of the Bauddha Adahilla, a text currently widely used in instructing lay Buddhists in modern Sri Lanka, see Andersen 2003.

3. E.g., colophon to ms. Or.6599(21)II Oriental and Indian Office Collection, British Library.

4. See, e.g., Sihgalovadasutta DNIII (sutta 31), where Singalaka's delight at the Buddha's explanation of the sacrifice of the six directions leads him first to take refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, and then to request that the Buddha accept him as an upasaka, using the standard expression: Esaham bhante Bhagavantam saranam gacchami Dhammanca Bhikkhu-Samghan ca. Upasakam mam bhagava dharetu ajjatagge Panupetam saranam gatan ti (Rhys David and Carpenter 1890-1911, vol. 3, cited after reprint 1992: 193).

5. See, for example, the use of gihi in the text titles discussed elsewhere in this article. Recent shifts in understanding of the role of laity require tighter terminology in translating such terms referring to non-monastics, as well as further investigation into the level of formality involved, which appears not to be uniform in Theravada either diachronically or synchronically. Other Pali terms for gihi are gahapati and gahattha.

6. See, e.g., Parker 1910 (cited after reprint): 327, 330.

7. I would like to thank Gregory Schopen for this suggestion.

8. The use seems rare or perhaps late: Simavisodhani Chapter 1. VRI CD.

9. E.g., colophon to manuscript Or.6601(27), Oriental and India Office Collection, British Library.

10. On the use of vannana in titles, von Hinuber writes, "This practice is not unusual in Pali manuscripts from Thailand, which occasionally add an apparently meaningless [o.sup.vannana] to almost any text" (1996: 201 [section]436; the indication "336" s.v. vannana in his Pali Words index p. 241 is a typographical error, which should be corrected to that given here). While vannana is also found in titles in many Sri Lankan manuscripts, seeming at first sight to contradict von Hinuber's identification of this as a Thai practice, a connection with mainland Southeast Asia is demonstrable in several such instances.

11. Somadasa gives the title as Bhikkhu Dussila in cataloguing one of the manuscripts of the text in the Nevill collection and describes it as "seven lines of Pali text on misdemeanours of monks." No such title is given in the manuscript, and seems to be based on a confusion in that manuscript, which contains large lacunae. The scribe wrote the colophon on the recto of folio 4 and then added a further passage from the text, concluding it with a fresh colophon on the verso of the same folio. Clearly the scribe noticed that he had missed a portion of the text and attempted to correct this by adding part of his omission (probably only one side of a full folio missed). The additional text supplies the second half of the first lacuna within the body of the text. As a result, Somadasa incorrectly identifies this as a separate text and allocates a separate number, Or.6601(39)II, whereas it is in fact all part of the same text, Or.6601(39)I (Somadasa vol. 1: 294).

12. This edition is provisional: there are some alternative readings for bandhave which need closer scrutiny and point to a reading meaning 'bound'.

13. Majjhima Nikaya-atthakatha ii.246, cited after Horner 1954: 124.

14. Samuels 1999: 238. The issue of the relevant dating of the Pali canon and early Mahayana literature is not treated.

15. Gombrich and Obeyesekere, for example, see lay involvement as a feature of "protestant" Buddhism during the modern period of Buddhist revival in Sri Lanka. If we look at the eighteenth-century revival and reform of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, however, we see a re-emphasis on the demarcation of celibate monastics and laity. Similarly, in the revived traditionalist (boran) practices of Cambodian Buddhism in recent years, women, even nuns, may be excluded from the more advanced meditation training (Crosby unpublished fieldwork 2003), while before the Khmer Rouge period, it was preserved also by lay women (Bizot 1976).

16. Several manuscripts, including Ms. Or.6600(60), are held in the Oriental and India Office Collection, British Library; printed edition Bauddhapartipattiya nam vu purana simhala banapota 1929, cited after Somadasa vol. 1, 124.

17. The relationship between these two Pratipattisangaha is not known to me.

18. Ms. Or.6600(109), Oriental and India Office Collection, British Library; I have not seen the printed edition (1868) referred to by Somadasa vol. 1 s.v.

19. Ed. 1901, cited in Somadasa vol. 1, p. 124.

20. The fact that a vinaya for lay people did exist prior to that composed by Dharmapala does not invalidate the analysis of Dharmapala's adopted western colonialist attitudes by Gombrich and Obeyesekere (1988: 212-15). I would further suggest that Dharmapala may have unwittingly silenced traditional history and learning to some extent, in spite of consulting and having access to eminent traditional scholars of the day, because his own lack of traditional education led him to underestimate what Sinhalese Buddhism still had to offer.

The writing of manuals of conduct for lay people does seem to have been popular during the nineteenth century. In addition to those from Sri Lanka and Cambodia mentioned here, the Gihicaritta from Shan State (see below) also appears from its colophons to be a nineteenth-century composition. Until we know more about compositions in the period prior to European colonial contact it is difficult to assess whether this is a new development in response to the threat posed to Buddhism by such contact or the continuation of ongoing renewal.

21. I have prepared a draft critical edition and translation of the entire text from several manuscripts. I am awaiting access to further copies in order to complete these tasks.

22. The verse contains only six padas of anustubh. Another line may be found when further manuscripts are consulted.

23. The spiritual advantage of realizing the four truths as a result of taking the three refuges given in the excerpt quoted from this text in the eighteenth-century letter from Siam (see below) is not found in the manuscripts I have consulted.

24. This passage is extracted from a collation of the Nevill collection manuscripts. The grammar has been partially standardized for the sake of clarity here.

25. See, e.g., his estimation of the date of the Sarasangaha to the seventh century, cited by Somadasa 1987, vol. 1: 355.

26. Cited by Somadasa 1987, vol. 1: 282. Nevill's manuscripts are now held in the India and Oriental Office Collections of the British Library. There are three copies of this text Or.6601(27), Or.6599(21)II, Or.6601(39).

27. The text of the letter from Siam has been published by Supaphan Na Bangchang (1988).

28. However, there are texts that acknowledge the contemporary inapplicability of such sins. For example, where this sin is commented on by the twelfth-century Sariputta, he explains the need to adapt to the contemporary situation and offers interpretations of the relative severity of the parallel sin, now that the Buddha has entered parinibbana, of damage to different kinds of cetiya (see, e.g., the pabbajjavatthu in his Palimuttakavinayaviniccayasangahassa tika [Pannasara 1980: 69ff.]). I am preparing an analysis of these interpretations of the nature of the cetiya in Theravada.

29. There do not appear to be many manuscripts of the text, and Sri Lankan copies seem to be most numerous: from Thailand, e.g., the ms. from the Lanna region cited by von Hinuber (1996: 196) and indicated in Add.12263[34A] in the British Library (although see below); from Cambodia, e.g., the copy held in EFEO, Phnom Penh; and from Sri Lanka, e.g., the Nevill collection ms. cited above, M27 of the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania discussed by Levitt, and three copies in the Wellcome Institute Library, London. There are also a number of texts preserved in Shan manuscript collections in northern Thailand and Myanmar bearing titles indicating manuals for lay practitioners that may be related, although I have yet to be able to examine these. In his preliminary catalogue of Wat Tiyasathan, Mae Daeng, for example, Jotika Khur-Yearn notes three copies of Gihicaritta, a Patipattipakasani, and a text containing "113 rules for laity." The British Library manuscript Add.12263[34A] mentioned above, preserved in Thai and Thai Ayutthaya scripts in the same hand, was catalogued by Marrison as "Manussavinaya" (1968: 4) because of a reference in the opening sentences of the text (in Thai), "I studied the Manussavinaya taught by the Lord teaching men and women in the world." However, the text does not contain the Manussavinaya, but seems to be a sermon inspired by it, a first-person advocacy for paying homage to the Buddha, having faith, and performing kusala, in the hope of escaping danger and hell and of being reborn in a good place. I would like to express my gratitude to the late Henry Ginsburg of the British Library for reading through much of the manuscript with me. I am also grateful to Olivier de Bernon for supplying me with a microfilm copy of the Khmer manuscript of the text from the library of the Ecole francaise d'Extreme-Orient, Phnom Penh. I am indebted to Jotika Khur-Yearn (School of Oriental and African Studies, London) for finding the Shan manuscripts mentioned above (his catalogue is in preparation). Finally, I would also like to thank David Wharton of the German-Laos Manuscript Conservation Project in Vientiane for checking for Lao copies of this text in the catalogue there.

30. For example, we find excerpts of the seven books of the Abhidhamma Pitaka accompanied by the story of Brah Maleyya Thera together in a single manuscript, since these texts are all traditionally performed at funerals in Thai Buddhism.
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Author:Crosby, Kate
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Article Type:Critical essay
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Date:Apr 1, 2006
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