The Origins of Buddhist Monastic Codes in China: An Annotated Translation and Study of the Chanyuan qinggui
408pp. April 2002
The Origins of Buddhist Monastic Codes in China: An Annotated Translation and Study of the Chanyuan qinggui
Author: Yifa;
The Origins of Buddhist Monastic Codes in China contains the first complete translation of China’s earliest and most influential monastic code. The twelfth-century text Chanyuan qinggui (Rules of Purity for the Chan Monastery) provides a wealth of detail on all aspects of life in public Buddhist monasteries during the Sung (960–1279).

Part One consists of Yifa’s overview of the development of monastic regulations in Chinese Buddhist history, a biography of the text’s author, and an analysis of the social and cultural context of premodern Chinese Buddhist monasticism. Of particular importance are the interconnections made between Chan traditions and the dual heritages of Chinese culture and Indian Buddhist Vinaya. Although much of the text’s source material is traced directly to the Vinayas and the works of the Vinaya advocate Daoan (312–385) and the Lü master Daoxuan (596–667), the Chanyuan qinggui includes elements foreign to the original Vinaya texts—elements incorporated from Chinese governmental policies and traditional Chinese etiquette. Following the translator’s overview is a complete translation of the text, extensively annotated.

Classics in East Asian Buddhism Series
"Despite the central place of monasticism in the historical development of Chinese Buddhism, studies on the topic, with some prominent exceptions, are not as developed as other aspects of Chinese Buddhist history. Rev. Yifa’s excellent book . . . goes a long way toward rectifying this situation. This book provides a wealth of information on the production of texts about monastic discipline and the institutional history of Chinese Buddhism, as well as a reliable translation of . . . the oldest comprehensive monastic code produced by the Chan school. As someone with a background in both religious and academic worlds, Yifa . . . brings to the subject a high level of scholarship and keen sensitivity to the intricacies of monastic life and institutions. . . . [This work] is an important contribution to Buddhist studies by helping to illuminate the institutional history of Chinese Buddhism up to the Song, thereby reshaping our understanding of the evolution of monasticism in China and the place of the Chan school in that protracted process." —Philosophy East & West (56:3, 2006)

"Absolutely essential for anyone who wishes to gain an accurate understanding of the actual day-to-day life of the Chan community. . . . [T]his book represents a real advance in our understanding of Chinese Chan and should be on the bookshelf of every scholar of Chinese Buddhism." —Journal of Chinese Religions (31, 2003)

"A welcome addition to works on East Asian Buddhism. The translation alone, the first complete translation in a Western language, guarantees the work’s lasting value. The study accompanying it breaks ground in several areas, and will serve as the basis for further research in the years to come." —China Review International (11:1, spring 2004)

Author: Yifa;
Yifa was ordained at Fo Guang Shan, Taiwan, in 1959 and holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Yale University. She is founder of the Woodenfish Project, editor-in-chief of Buddha’s Light Edition English Sutra Translation Series, and was formerly chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of the West, Rosemead, California.
Read the introduction (PDF).

Part One: Context
1. Evolution of Monastic Regulations in China
2. Genesis of Chanyuan qinggui: Continuity and Adaptation

Part Two: Text
3. The Author and His Work
4. Chanyuan qinggui in Translation
Fascicle One
Fascicle Two
Fascicle Three
Fascicle Four
Fascicle Five
Fascicle Six
Fascicle Seven

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