Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Pure Mind in a Clean Body: Bodily Care in the Buddhist Monasteries of Ancient India and China

Ann Heirman & Mathieu Torck

Publication Year:

Gent: Academia Press


Buddhist monasteries, in both Ancient India and China, rightfully attract the attention of many scholars, discussing historical backgrounds, institutional networks or influential masters. Still, some aspects of monastic life have not yet received the attention they deserve. This book therefore aims to study some of the most essential, but often overlooked, issues of Buddhist life, namely, practices and objects of bodily care. For monastic authors, bodily care primarily involves bathing, washing, cleaning, shaving and trimming the nails, activities of everyday life that are performed by lay people and monastics alike. In this sense, they provide a potential bridge between two worlds that are constantly interacting with each other: monastic people and their lay followers.

Table of Contents:

1.Bodily care practices and objects
2. Overview of sources
3. Outline of chapters

Bathing Facilities
1. Bathing practices in vinaya texts
 Bathing facilities in the monastic compound
 Assisting a teacher in the bathhouse
 Sūtra On Bathing Monks in the Bathhouse
2. Bathing facilities in Chinese vinaya commentaries an disciplinary guidelines
 Practical rules on how to make and use bathing facilities
 Bathing facilities for Chinese vinaya masters
 Bathing practices in Yijing’s travel account
3. A new genre develops: qing gui 清規, ‘rules of purity’
4. Concluding remarks: monks, laymen, and soap
• Laymen and monks
• Bathhouses and soap

Toilet Facilities
1. Toilet practices in vinaya texts
• Pratimoksa rules on toilet practices
• Practical rules relating to how to make and use toilet facilities
• Toilet practices in vinaya texts: concluding remarks
2. Toilet habits in Chinese vinaya commentaries and disciplinary guidelines
• Practical rules on how to make and use toilet facilities
• Toilet care for Chinese vinaya masters
• Toilet habits in Yijing’s travel account
3. A new genre develops: qing gui 清規, ‘rules of purity’
4. Concluding remarks: pigsties, paper and wiping sticks
• Toilets and toilet habits in first-millennium China

Cleaning the Mouth and Teeth
1. Dental care in the vinaya texts
• Why clean one’s teeth?
• The benefits of using tooth wood
• How to make tooth wood
• How to use tooth wood
• What if tooth wood does not solve the problem?
• Are there any alternatives?
• Concluding remarks
2. Dental care in Chinese disciplinary texts
• Great (Sutra) of Three Thousand Dignified Observances of a Monk
• Dental care as described by Chinese vinaya masters
3. Concluding remarks: paste, brushes, and tooth wood
• Oral hygiene practices in early imperial China, the yangshen 養生 tradition
• Tools used in oral hygiene

Shaving the Hair and Trimming the Nails
1. Hair and nails in Buddhist disciplinary texts
• Concluding remarks
2. Shaving and trimming in early Chinese disciplinary texts
• Shaving the hair as an identity marker
• Chinese vinaya masters: taking care of hair and nails
3. Concluding remarks: identity, beauty, and cleanliness
• Hair care in lay society
• Attitude to nails


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