This book provides a vivid and detailed picture of the daily life and religious practices of Buddhist monks and nuns in the classic period of Theravada Buddhism. The author describes the way in which the Buddha's disciples institutionalized and ritualized his teachings about food, dress, money, chastity, solitude, and discipleship. This tradition represents an ideal of religious life that has been followed in India and South Asia for more than two thousand years. The introduction by Steven Collins describes Theravada Buddhist literature, discusses the issue of the historical reliability of the texts, and offers extensive suggestions for further reading. The book will be of interest to scholars and students in Asian studies, religious studies, anthropology, and history.
"For anybody who is interested in the process of codification of monastic rules in the Theravada tradition, Wijayaratna's book offers extensive scriptural information..." Cistercian Studies Quarterly "I am delighted to see this translation in print. The French version has been revised and admirably translated. For an understanding of the founding and early form of the Buddhist monastic order most people still rely on Dult's pioneering book, published in 1924, which is now quite out of date. This book completely supersedes Dult. Let us hope that this major contribution to the history of religions will now reach the audience it deserves." Richard Gombrich, Oxford University