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The garudhammas : did the Buddha preach the eight respectful precepts?


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Truong, Viet Hung




Master of Arts in Religious Studies


Capitanio, Joshua
Chu, William
Iwamura, Jane N.


This thesis examines the garudhammas and their continuing relevance on gender relations within Buddhist monastic orders, namely the prohibition on bhikkhunī ordination and the subordinated position of Buddhist nuns. The garudhammas are a set of eight extra respectful precepts (apart from the Prātimoksa/Patimokkha precepts) that govern the conduct and place of Buddhist nuns. These precepts are traditionally believed to be developed by the Buddha and later institutionalized by many Buddhist sects. Through careful analysis of canonical texts and secondary scholarship, I highlight contradictions and inconsistencies surrounding the garudhammas and argue that the strict nature of these rules is a product of later developments. The Buddha may have intentionally established the garudhammas for nuns in response to the social and cultural milieu of his time. However, these precepts were later transformed into fixed rules that prevent the ordination of Buddhist nuns. Highlighting the historical nature of the garudhammas, this thesis offers a reinterpretation of the precepts that allows for more equitable relations between Buddhist nuns and monks and provides a foundation for a re-emergence of the bhikkhunī order in the twenty-first century.

Degree Granter

University of the West



Library Holding