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Miscellaneous Musings on Mūlasarvāstivāda Monks: The "Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya" Revival in Tokugawa Japan

Shayne Clarke
Japanese Journal of Religious Studies
Vol. 33, No. 1 (2006), pp. 1-49
Published by: Nanzan University
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30233791
Page Count: 49
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Miscellaneous Musings on Mūlasarvāstivāda Monks: The "Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya" Revival in Tokugawa Japan
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Abstract

Kūkai's (774-835) curriculum for the education of Shingon monks broke away from Japanese religious orthodoxy by rejecting the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya or Vinaya in Four Parts (四分律) traditionally studied in East Asia in favor of another Indian tradition that had only just been introduced into China a century earlier: the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya. Kūkai's admonitions, however, appear to have fallen on deaf ears, at least until the Tokugawa period. In the Tokugawa period two Shingon scholar-monks-Myōzui 妙瑞 (1696-1764) and Gakunyo 學如 (1716-1773)-turned their attention back to Kūkai, the founder of their tradition. When Myōzui and Gakunyo realised that their lineage had been ignoring Kūkai's instructions on monastic discipline for nearly one thousand years, these monks advocated a revival of Kūkai's monastic curriculum. Revival attempts, however, were to meet with fierce opposition, and a series of monastic debates ensued, debates which continued well into the Meiji period. The present paper is an attempt to survey the sources for this revival movement, tracing the Mūlasarvāstivāda tradition down through the Tokugawa and Meiji periods and beyond, reaching the somewhat unexpected conclusion that this monastic tradition is still alive in present-day Japan.

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