Bending the Body, Keeping the Mind Upright: The Pedagogy of Bodily Comportment in the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya Tradition Among Tibetan Monastics in Nepal


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowships in Buddhist Studies


Department of Religion


My project explores how Vinaya (discipline) is taught to novices in their initial years of monastic training. It sets out to do so by examining 1) scenes of instruction of novices in the canonical Mulasarvastivada texts, 2) the contents of a key manual for training novices attribute to Nagarjuna with its commentaries, and 3) how this same manual is used in contemporary Tibetan monastic education. Supplementing the study of these texts with ethnographic research on Vinaya debates and summer retreats, my project centrally focuses on the embodied and relational aspects of teaching and learning Vinaya. I will also delineate the differences between modes of teaching Vinaya by a teacher in the classroom and a disciplinarian who overlooks novices outside the classroom.