China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
One of the most significant revolutions in recent Buddhist Studies scholarship began with Gregory Schopen’s incisive rejection of the idealized image of the solitary Buddhist renunciant, stressing instead the importance of social, emotional, and interpersonal ties, both within the monastic community and between the saṃgha and lay society. Our panel contributes to this evolving disciplinary conversation with four case studies of “family values” (defined broadly) in Indian and Chinese Buddhist monasticisms, considering the ways that such relations and relationalities came to shape monastic rhetoric and conduct.
The first two papers relate to the valorization of pseudo-familial bonds in Indian and Chinese Buddhist communities. The first draws on the Bhikṣuṇī-vinaya to explore the phenomenon of same-sex affection between Indian nuns, where such contacts were legislated in contradistinction to heterosexual intercourse. The second elucidates the case of Song Dynasty Chan Buddhist masters, who sought to build pseudo-familial lineages of disciples while remaining aloof enough to avoid the charge of exhibiting a “grandmother's kindness” toward them.