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The evolution of rules of purity in China : a study of "Baizhang qinggui" and "Chanyuan qinggui"


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Goh, Qingsong




Master of Arts in Religious Studies


Chu, William
Capitanio, Joshua


The compilation of the Chanyuan qinggui (Rules of Purity for Chan Monasteries) had been seen by many scholars as the direct descendant, if not the actual embodiment, of rules for Chan monasteries that were first compiled by Baizhang (749–814). However, there is the disjunction between the simplicity of Baizhang's "original" rules as reflected in the Chanmen guishi (Regulations of the Chan School ) and the complexity of the Chanyuan qinggui. The paper explores the connections between the Baizhang qinggui (Rules of Purity for Baizhang) and the qingguis that were created after him. A large portion of the paper is contributed to explore how Baizhang qinggui impacted the formation of the Chanyuan qinggui, that claimed to subsequently influences the government and regulations of most of the contemporary major Chinese Buddhist orders. This paper also compares the initiatives of Baizhang and Zongze (?–1107?), who was the author of the Chanyuan qinggui, and concludes that these two interesting figures shared some common grounds when the two texts were created. On the other hand, I also endeavor to look into the critiques of the qinggui since the Ming dynasty. Many had asserted that the idea of qinggui was a scourge of the Vinaya school. Some even ascribed the downfall of Buddhism to the creation of qinggui. Accordingly, I discuss in great details the various issues that brought about the creation of the qinggui. In conclusion, I suggest that more attention should be placed on the issues that helped nurture and sustain the creation of the qinggui before any efforts to revitalize the Indian vinaya in Chinese Buddhist communities could be implemented.

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University of the West



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